A study conducted by PNW in 2014 reported that asset management within the Power and Utilities sector has the highest scope for improvement. It is no surprise to learn that improvements made in asset management within the Power and Utilities sector can have dramatic effects on the company as a whole. Effective asset management can reduce cost, improve profitability, and is a vital element to productivity, safety, and risk management.

Improving asset management might seem like an overwhelming task, but the benefits of doing so outweigh any negative aspects of such a task. Improving asset management can be done through a series of small changes to current processes, which result in significant positive effects to the overall process. Mobile data collection is one minor change in process that can drastically affect the efficiency and effectiveness of asset management.

What is condition-based maintenance?

An effective asset management solution acknowledges the effects that the generation, transmission, and distribution of the supply of power has on the overall efficiency, reliability, profitability, productivity, responsiveness, and safety and performance of the assets. There are many components to asset management, one of which is the maintenance of the assets. Effective asset management involves allocating maintenance efforts based on the condition of the assets individually and according to the specific needs of each asset.

Condition-based maintenance depends on the tracking and reporting of the condition and performance of individual assets. Traditional approaches to maintenance are age or usage-based. This type of approach assumes that assets of the same age or usage level perform identically, rather than identifying maintenance needs on an individual basis.

Problems with age-based maintenance schedules

While age-based maintenance schedules can ensure that maintenance is provided to the assets at set intervals, the strategy does not account for specific and individual needs or maintenance requirements. Similar to human health, the age of assets does not necessarily indicate performance or physical condition.

Using an age-based maintenance schedule can result in time and resources being wasted, providing unnecessary work to assets that are performing optimally, rather than using the resources on the assets that really need the maintenance. A condition-based system allows management to prioritize asset maintenance based on what requires urgent work.

Why are age-based schedules more popular?

Simply put, age-based maintenance schedule are easy to implement. The information that is required to implement an effective condition-based maintenance program takes time and resources to get, and, when done by the traditional pen and paper method of data collection, the information is hard to make sense of once it is collected. Paper-based data collection is inefficient, and does not provide good visibility to allow for effective decision-making by management.

How does mobile data collection change this?

Mobile data collection allows for human-asset interactions to be recorded right from the field. Unlike the traditional paper-based method of recording, mobile data collection reduces the time from data collection to decision making by management.

A mobile data solution will allow the cumulative maintenance history of each individual asset to be accessed separately. This allows for a visibility of asset condition and maintenance history that is available immediately. The complete history of work performed on an asset can provide insight into which assets require maintenance, repairs or replacement.

What does this all mean?

Condition-based asset maintenance is only one example of how a minor change in processes can have a great effect on elements including cost reduction, profitability, and return on assets. When the right information is gathered, compiled and shared, an effective condition-based maintenance program is not difficult to achieve.

Mobile data collection can address challenges in effectively managing assets and allocating resources efficiently and accurately. Having the right information, as well as having immediate access to the information being collected and recorded is critical in prioritizing which assets require maintenance. Mobile data collection is an example of how a slight change in the process used can have great effects in other areas of asset management.