Not long ago, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet sought to acquire an enterprise-wide operations management system to consolidate the entry and management of data. This system would have to provide a daily reporting interface that allows entry of all pertinent data elements to properly track projects and have the ability to generate predefined and ad hoc reports for management.
KYTC is responsible for building or maintaining U.S. highways and Kentucky state highways. It manages more than 27,000 miles of highway, including roughly 20,500 miles of secondary road; 3,600 miles of primary road; and more than 1,400 miles of interstate and parkway surfaces. With a staff of 3,200, it was struggling to operate efficiently with its existing structure of simple, independent systems that were not comprehensive or successfully integrated and required improvements in organizational development, efficiency, productivity and cost effectiveness.
Following implementation of an OMS, KYTC enhanced its ability to make proactive decisions in efforts to maximize availability, usage and cost effectiveness of resources. Management systems result in overall improvements in efficiency, productivity, decision making, organizational development, accountability, planning, reporting, speed of information gathering and transparency.
AgileAssets Inc., an asset management company based in Austin, Texas, is one provider of infrastructure and transportation asset management. It was founded in 1994 as a result of demand by public agencies for better management solutions regarding fixed and mobile infrastructure transportation assets. AgileAssets focuses on the development and implementation of software solutions rooted in proven engineering and infrastructure asset management principles.
In Newark, Del., a basic pavement management system was managing 80 center-line miles of pavement. The system used simple priority leveraging condition and level of traffic as the two primary weighing factors to select appropriate repairs, determine costs and for ranking potential repair projects.
With AgileAsset’s assistance, the city engaged in analysis comparing a worst-first approach with optimized analysis and found a clear monetary benefit in favor of optimized analysis. In the worst-first analysis, the backlog of repair costs grew from $14 million to $38 million while the backlog for the optimized analysis resulted in a backlog of only $29 million. Optimized analysis also reduced the deterioration rate by $9 million over a 10-year period.
According to AgileAssets’ John Burkhardt, senior account manager, city managers should be wary of falling into the trap of looking at asset types, like pavement or bridges, individually or independently.
“This approach will perpetuate information silos within your agency and limit the effectiveness of your management system and overall ROI,” he said. “An integrated management program that functions across asset types, allows for sharing of important information across functional areas and enables multi-criteria, multi-asset optimization that leads to more holistic analysis and better asset management decisions while maximizing ROI.”
According to Michael B. Cowley, president of CE Maintenance Solutions LLC, there are about 10 key steps to setting up a world-class asset management program. They are:
- Management culture and vision
- Organization and staffing
- Asset history and documentation
- Work order management
- Planning and scheduling of work
- Supply and repair parts
- Craft and skill training
- Customer client coordination
- Preventive and predictive maintenance
- Performance measures
“The most important, at least in the early days, is the management culture and vision. For any program to be successful, it must be top-supported and bottom-driven. Without this your improvement efforts and program will turn into the program of the month.”
Cowley has worked with all types of organizations, including mass transit, county and city governments, municipal water and waste-water operations. He has trained employees or performed assessments in Orange County, Fla.; New York City; Washington, D.C.; Cleveland, Ohio; and others. He recommends that a municipality assemble maintenance and operations team leaders and begin the discussion about a vision for the organization’s future. He also suggested asking yourself where you want to be or want look like in five years.
“Once you know your destination, honestly assess where you are today, draw your road map and begin your journey,” said Cowley. “Revisit your vision often and adjust your road map as needed.”