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The challenges of asset management: Part one

The challenges of asset management: Part one

Justifying the ongoing modernisation of enterprise asset management systems can be a key challenge for CIOs, but a strong business case for the process is far from impossible

If you have never considered how much data it takes to keep a toll road running, a brief chat with Barry King may give you pause for thought.

As construction engineer with ConnectEast - the private sector operator contracted by the Victorian government to operate Melbourne’s 39km EastLink toll road until 2043 — King is involved with maintenance specialists who work to keep the road clear, safe, and in good shape.

This requires close attention to enterprise asset management (EAM), and ‘close’ is the active word here: Buried within the company’s IBM Maximo EAM environment are intimate details of a massive range of different pieces of equipment, spare parts, structural components and other elements that help maintain the road’s 88 bridges, two 1.6km-long tunnels, 17 interchanges, 60 wetlands and other elements along its length and surface.

Each individual asset has its own useful life and maintenance schedule, which must be adhered to in order to ensure road safety. The system works in such detail that ConnectEast even tracks the current status and maintenance schedule for every square metre of road surface and metre of line markings, each segment of which is treated as an individual asset with 23 separate characteristics tracked within Maximo. This works out to more than 90,000 data points simply to monitor the status of the white and yellow lines on the road.

The breadth and importance of ConnectEast’s EAM infrastructure reflect a challenge for CIOs who must provide the information infrastructure to support a public-facing business. Assets are tracked through a 24x7 incident response centre that co-ordinates employees, subcontractors and the equipment they need to keep the road moving. Reports from subcontractors are fed into Maximo and added to their permanent maintenance records.

Such detailed records are essential not only to ensure the road’s operational integrity, but to demonstrate a program of maintenance compliance mandated as part of the company’s agreement with the state of Victoria. In this sense, EAM is both an operational imperative and a governance requirement that must be met with a flexible information infrastructure; as ConnectEast reaches the end of its contract and prepares to hand back the road to the state, the system will be crucial in ensuring the company has met its contractual maintenance obligations.

“Maintenance of those assets needs to be managed carefully to ensure there’s no ballooning of costs as we near the end of the concession period,” says King. “Revenues will pretty much stop in 2043, hence the requirement for careful asset management.

Read The challenges of asset management: Part two.

Read The challenges of asset management: Part three.

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