asset management

The state of the system

A pilot project is to test asset management in practice. The object is VEKS’ pipes.

Case 3 for VEKS' annual report 2016
The reliability of supply has always been a high focus area. Safety is inseparably bound up with the fact that the system’s components and pipes are leak-tight and supply to the optimum effect. 
However, the servicing methods are improving – at the latest, many enterprises are considering the management system Asset Management and elsewhere it has already been implemented. Sometimes new systems help us getting enlightened, think new thoughts and perhaps ask some of the difficult questions. How high a price are we willing to pay for the reliability of supply?

Increased regulation 
Just like the rest of the supply sector, VEKS experiences an increased efficiency and transparency, also when it comes to investments and servicing. Within a few years’ time, the mentioned focus will in all probability result in a new regulation where the politicians and agencies will define the efficiency requirements.
VEKS has decided to take the lead and thereby improve pursuant to the public regulation requirements. It is, among other things, about being able to organise one’s own strategies according to new mindsets and systems to not least be able to clarify and justify one’s selections and rejections. And it is in particular choices relating to the reliability of supply, the operation and the servicing of VEKS’ system. Included in the new systematism and mindset is a redefinition of what you understand by high reliability of supply. How does VEKS define “high”? How does VEKS’ customers define it? And does it agree with the future political efficiency requirements?

Management system
Asset management is a management system. The system should ensure that an enterprise gets the most out of their assets in relation to the targets of the enterprise when it comes to reliability of supply and known risks – at the lowest possible costs. Preferably, the more strategic and systematic approach of the new management system should also result in improved planning and procedures. In the long run, the work with asset management will involve a number of VEKS staff members - not only within the maintenance functions. 
Having constantly supplied all of Vestegnen (Western Copenhagen) with secure district heating for more than 30 years, VEKS’ organisation has demonstrated a high level in terms of operation and maintenance that complies with the demands of the customers. This experience constitutes the pillar in the implementation of asset management.
The standard within asset management is an ISO 55000 certification. The first time round, VEKS will make use of the principles and requirements of the above-mentioned standard, however, it has not yet been determined whether this should lead to a certification.
Converted into the world of VEKS, asset management is going to help determining the expectations to life of the pipe system, exchangers and pumping stations – and the risk of damage – held up against the derivative costs. 

GAP analysis
GAP: Find the gaps. A Gap Analysis maps the practice
of the entire organisation and how to do things in a better
or more efficient way. The result of the GAP analysis is a
grading in relation to best practice for
asset management and recommended improvements.
VEKS’ very first step in relation to the new asset management system was to conduct a GAP analysis which mapped the present practice within servicing as well as what the staff members involved think could be improved – please see box page 24. 
In brief, the GAP analysis of VEKS showed that there are large amounts of available data which, however, are not used as systematically as the asset management procedures describe. In other areas, VEKS already follows a number of systematisms from ISO 55000. Both the servicing system and the investments are described well, and targets, e.g. for reliability of supply, temperature requirements, downtime, etc. are defined. 

Pilot project
Prior to the implementation of the asset management system, VEKS has chosen to start a pilot project where the target is both very specific and the subject is always relevant: Monitoring of the pipe system's condition. 
Furthermore, the project is one of the 19 strategy projects mentioned in Case 1. 
The pilot project includes two targets. To do things in the opposite order, the project is to result in gaining experience to be able to prepare the plan for an overall implementation of the asset management in VEKS. Does the concept work in the context of VEKS? 
However, it needs to be tested. Therefore, the first project is of a practical nature as approx. 55km of transmission pipes’ servicing degree and condition monitoring are to be analysed. VEKS’ pipe system requires ongoing monitoring. VEKS has integrated alarm threads in all their pipes but as the system ages, several of the threads are corroded. So far, the solution to the missing alarm monitoring has been to install new alarm threads in the existing insulation foam. This requires many excavations, a lot of work and is thus a very expensive method, however, full monitoring is re-established and guaranteed. This part of the pilot project results in a selection of the future method of monitoring and servicing sockets and transmission pipes based on the asset management analysis of consequences/risks and level of costs. More specifically, the selection stands between monitoring by way of alarm threads, thermographic drone overflights, no monitoring or an entirely different method. 

Words and action
When the pilot project has been realised, analysis tools and processes have actually been tested for the first time. Thoughts and words behind asset management are in short converted into reality in VEKS. And this experience forms the basis of the fact that the Management of VEKS determines how the tools are to be used in the future to get the most out of the assets. It is actually the target with the practise. 
In the world of VEKS it is important to simplify and specify the new system and not to make asset management more complicated than it really is. The pilot project is to contribute to help making it more manageable and specific to the employees. This experience will form the basis of being able to implement the total asset management system in VEKS – towards 2020.
Optimisation is a central point in asset management. Planning, check procedures, risk assessment and action plans are not only defined on paper but are revisited along the way to ensure direction, constant focus and not least common sense. Because at the same time as the system must be rendered visible and embedded in the Management, the changes must, in practice, be implemented by the employees who must become acquainted with the mindset and methods. Therefore, the engagement and involvement of VEKS’ employees have the greatest focus in the roll-out of asset management in VEKS. 

The pilot project stages
The condition of the sockets in VEKS’ transmission networks is analysed by external consultants on the basis of VEKS’ data input. The actual plan for the future monitoring involves selected key employees in VEKS in four workshops:
• Common success criteria
• Definition of and the need for data and knowledge
• Validation, selection of method and analyses of data
• Changes which arise on the way in the process
• Conclusions of the analysis
• Plan for how much money must be invested in the implementation of a new strategy of monitoring and servicing of VEKS’ sockets
• The further course of rolling out asset management in VEKS

  • Head of Transmission Jørgen Eigaard Hansen
    T 43 66 03 32