You are an asset manager for a large public utility organisation. The organisation has a range of assets, ranging from major distributors to minor assets directly serving users (for example, reticulation pipe, local road). Some examples of such an organisation include, but are not limited to:
- Water supply authority
- Sewerage authority
- Electricity supply company
- Gas supply company
- Telecommunications organisation
- Road network owner
The assets in the network are of various ages and in various conditions. Because of financial constraints over the past several years, the assets in the network have not been replaced except when absolutely necessary. Maintenance equipment is also not in a generally good condition.
Inspection is mainly by visual means, supplemented where required by more detailed investigation.
While a geographical information system (GIS) program has commenced, few minor assets are recorded on it. Most of these are still located by traditional methods such as links of key reference points (for example, bends, pits, poles) to property boundaries, and centreline distances. Other asset information is minimal, and is mainly limited to information that is absolutely necessary for maintenance purposes.
There is concern that your organisation's assets are not always located as per your organisation's records. The situation has been exacerbated by poor record keeping in the past, and by not recording changes when there have been changes to property boundaries, ground levels, and the assets themselves.
This poor state of records makes it difficult for other service providers to have sufficient confidence in the information you supply about your assets for their design, construct and maintenance.
Over the past several years, there have been a steadily increasing number of complaints by users of your service as a result of numerous breakdowns in service and failures. Were it not for the fact that your organisation is the only authorised provider of your particular type of services in your area, and the fact that the charges your organisation has levied for usage of its services are very cheap compared with similar services elsewhere, your organisation might by now be in considerable difficulty.
There are potential competitors entering the market under new government legislation. As there is rapid technological change both in the assets under your organisation's control and in asset management processes and methods, the competitors are likely to increasingly challenge your organisation to perform.
In search for an answer to what are clearly a number of looming concerns, your organisation has recently appointed you to develop an asset management strategy that meets the board's targets of national best practice for your particular type of asset network within five years and world leadership within ten years.
Funds - but not unlimited funds - have been made available for this purpose. Your organisation is expecting that the vastly improved standard of service brought by your management skills will bring contented customers who will pay the additional price required for a modern and reliable service.
New technologies are available that enable you to minimise the cost of upgrading your asset and can better estimate the cost of replacing assets. There may also be new technologies that enable you to increase the choices available to the consumer while at the same time greatly increasing the quality of service provided.