Our UK asset management and digital subject matter experts (SME) undertook a collaborative project with Aarhus Vand (AAV), one of Denmark’s largest water utility companies to adopt a data driven approach to asset management decision making. The objective was to increase the maturity of AAV’s asset management system through the adoption of new technologies and processes to achieve their commitment to deliver the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG). This change in their ways of working was also expected to realise AAV’s desire to divert resources (internal and external) to activities creating most value.
The value we created on this project was recognised at the Institute of Asset Management’s 2022 Global Awards by winning the Corporate Transformation Award. Our work now forms part of AAV’s digital blueprint, which we co-wrote after project completion, and is being integrated within new project specifications. Collectively, we recognised the value in promoting a data driven approach to asset management and the need to share the journey with other organisations which has resulted in jointly presenting at multiple conferences and webinars.
We worked in partnership to implement a KPI hierarchy and risk framework aligned to the UN SDG’s that can be driven dynamically from asset data captured within AAV’s enterprise systems, enabling better forward planning and risk-based decision-making. Applying this method formed line of sight between the creation of consistent and repeatable operations and maintenance plans and the goals of AAV. Strategically, the data captured also served as a key input into the longer term asset investment process giving intelligence across the full asset lifecycle.
Our first activity was to gain an in depth understanding of the current process which was achieved through process mapping of the ‘as-is’ investment planning processes, systems, roles, and responsibilities. This helped us develop ‘to-be’ plans using a new risk framework developed in collaboration with the AAV investment teams to drive improvements in the planning process factoring cost, risk, and performance. Next was the creation of a KPI hierarchy which was designed to be aligned with the criteria used within the risk framework enabling AAV to form a data driven link between business goals and investment decisions.
With both the hierarchy and framework in place the team undertook two parallel activities – first an initial assessment of the current performance and risk using the new models thorough a series of workshops and second defining the data variables and sources required to dynamically update them.
The result was a wide understanding and detailed view of potential risks to the business, enabling AAV’s investment teams to identify and understand the effect of a business case against service measures. This process brought together various business stakeholders and facilitated evidenced based decisions to establish agreed priorities. Evaluating assets and needs against a common set of criteria ensures that the risk scores produced are an accurate reflection, which increases confidence in investment planning.
Throughout the creation of the framework ad hierarchy there was a clear requirement that the process be auditable and aligned to ISO 55000.
The use of Power BI was an innovative (at the time) step in AAV’s asset management journey, due to its functionality, which greatly improved AAV’s ability to inform its decision-making, as well as understanding its risk, performance and budgetary position. As Power BI is dynamic and input data sourced from the company’s enterprise systems, we were able to create the additional benefit of tailoring the information available to different business stakeholders including operations and maintenance teams, performance managers and investment planners.
Our work has since evolved to help ensure the plans and new ways of working became embedded across the organisation. This has including training in the use of the plans and putting 14 AAV employees and partners through IAM certificate training using our in-house authorised trainers. Our data-driven approach ensures plans are built upon a repeatable and consistent structure, using a common criteria-based methodology to assess projects and maintenance strategies that has been designed to be scalable throughout the company. AAV have greater transparency which helps everyone work to the same objectives using the same clearly defined processes. This has empowered staff to make better investment decisions and can demonstrate continuous improvement, as well as increase productivity and reduce costs.
This project and its enduring outputs have served to advance AAV’s asset management capability and practically demonstrate its ability to be a leading digitally enabled water utility.