Utility companies struggle to meet increased consumer demands in the face of skyrocketing costs, dated infrastructures and manpower challenges. There’s a constant pressure to do what you can while piecing together resources and assets to meet demands. But asset management can improve delivery, help you get the most out of your existing infrastructure, reduce costs and deliver essential services to customers more efficiently.
Utility companies are increasingly realizing the value of asset management to offset many of the challenges faced by the industry today. In a 2012 report, Black & Veatch identify the strategic directions for the water utility industry in the coming years. Specifically, the report addresses financial issues, sustainability and optimized asset management as key strategic challenges, pointing out that these concerns are not stand-alone obstacles but intertwined.
Financial Concerns Top Utility Challenges
Financial limitations are the key factor preventing utility companies from moving forward and updating infrastructure. But both sustainability and asset management can help alleviate some of the financial stress facing utility companies today. Water utility companies, specifically, are faced with aging water and wastewater infrastructure, coupled with forecasted growth which will place additional strain on already-aged facilities.
Asset Tracking Enhances Financial Planning and Extends Usable Life
Asset tracking can help maximize ratepayers’ ROIs, reduce lifecycle costs and extend the lifespan of existing assets, according to Black & Veatch. Utility companies making use of an asset management system are able to monitor what assets it owns and are available for use, the current condition of all assets, how each asset is performing in terms of efficiency and productivity and other data.
With an asset tracking system, utility companies can easily calculate the expected output of a particular asset over its anticipated lifespan, drilling down to essential data such as the cost per output unit—which can be beneficial for budgeting. With detailed data on the entire history of an asset, maintenance is conducted more routinely which helps organizations maximize the usable life for major asset investments.
All of this data leads to advanced analysis capabilities, providing a framework for analyzing the efficiency of the existing infrastructure and making comparisons between alternate processes to maximize each dollar spent. When increased demand means an organization must add to the infrastructure, decision-making is aided by an abundance of cost-efficiency information—making it possible to plan further into the future and scale the use of assets while maintaining lower costs.
Asset management is critical for utility companies moving forward in the face of rising costs and increased demands. An effective asset tracking system is the key to meeting customer needs while accommodating the financial limitations that exist across most organizations today.
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