Asset management for water utilities on the back of a smart utility system

Asset management for water utilities on the back of a smart utility system

Imagine this. A simple water utility system consists of multiple important components – meters, generators, pumps, telemetry monitoring, water mains and multiple valves. Some are under ground and clearly visible, while some are over the ground, invisible and unfortunately, sometimes forgotten. They are spread across different geographies and are all connected with each other. This is what makes the system work well. But, such complex connections also mean that the water utility system is no longer simple. I like to call it a fine mesh of complex systems, which when monitored and tracked well, can make water utility systems function smoothly. Operational failures, financial risks and performance gaps can all be the occurrence of mismanaged assets. This is what we have helped fix for many of our customers in the water utility space. Scores of engineers have used our smart utility system to ensure holistic, automated asset management. And we are happy to see how it has helped them. In this article, I try to explain how this is all really possible.

The benefits are aplenty:

I remember one incident. During one of our customer calls, we were introduced to a scenario which we all are well aware of – a complicated system of assets. Our customer described how they are happy to have so many assets in place but as they started scaling, they found it next to impossible to manually track their assets. They found it difficult to answer some basic questions like:

  • What assets do I own currently? 
  • What condition are they in?
  • Which ones require repairs/checks?
  • What does the future demand look like? Will I be able to meet the demands with my assets?
  • How can I prevent asset failure?
  • How do I fund my assets?
  • How much money do I invest to repair, replace or rehabilitate my assets?

Managing assets well ensures longevity. Disruptions are minimized, operations are improved and failures are managed in a better manner. We have helped our clients leverage smart utility systems to undertake preventative maintenance based on the likelihood of failures in the near future. Armed with data, companies can be proactive when it comes to fixing issues before they crop up. Assets usually have a fair amount of longevity and hence it makes sense to keep them in perfect condition. A well-planned asset management system will help provide financial projections for funding maintenance and upkeep. 

The answers to questions become clear and your planning becomes robust:

I always believe that a business should have answers to their questions. Especially when it comes to the burning questions regarding your assets, since your future prospects and customer care depend heavily on it. Getting insights about the current state of assets gives a good idea about the performance and plans for the future. These answers will ultimately make it easier for your company to plan your work orders and deliverables. Utilities have many customers and scores of new ones get added to the mix every year. When we work with small utilities, we realize that they face pretty much similar issues as their bigger counterparts. Coping with aging infrastructure and the need to cut costs are paramount. Having a smart utility system helps report to stakeholders regarding the environmental, financial and operational goals. A pro tip I can give is the usage of a strategic asset management plan (SAMP), which clearly highlights the role of the asset management system towards fulfilment of relevant goals. This can cover multiple areas like risk mitigation, stakeholder management, asset thresholds, performance metrics, data management etc. 

Managing assets the right way, the Bynry way:

Artificial intelligence has revamped every industry. I believe in its power to optimize functions and fasten decision making. Smart360 is a smart utility system that helps water utilities track their assets and manage their operations. Often, we have seen that the key issue lies in managing assets as one scales their operations. We, at Bynry, help companies create digital records related to their assets so that everyone has a single view of data. This enables working with complex sets of data pertaining to every single asset but could become complex. This is why manual interventions don’t cut it anymore!

Another aspect that I believe technology should enable is predictive insights for preventative maintenance. The wear and tear of assets is a given, and nobody can escape it. This is where we strive to make it a lot easier for companies to take complete control over their assets through intelligent algorithms and predictive insights. Geographic information systems (GIS) based allocations are another key focus area for us here at Bynry which helps assign workforce and link them to relevant assets. Finally, managing risks becomes easier once teams can set and work on asset performance rules and parameters to be able to take relevant actions regarding asset repairs and replacements. Asset management need not be complicated. In fact, with the right mix of technology and intelligence, it can become an enabler for true business transformation. Intrigued? We would love to talk to you to take your smart utility game to the next level