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Leverage Digital Technologies to improve asset management strategies and embrace the circular economy

The circular economy is gaining much-needed global attention to tackle climate change, environmental pollution, and material wastage. Traditional business models are being beaten by fast-emerging alternatives. Sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling existing materials and assets are becoming essential across industries.

On the other hand, digital transformation is picking up speed at the right time. The integration of digital technologies into every aspect of business is fundamentally changing the way operations are carried out, and delivering many value creation opportunities to organizations and their customers. Therefore the key challenge today is not about solving a particular issue, rather being able to identify and prioritize the right areas to target, and more importantly challenging the status quo in many cases.

Let’s take a look at the electric utility industry for two good reasons – one being its role as the backbone of the economy, and the other one is for its undisputed role in the carbon footprint. Generation mix is one of the key areas of attention for any utility today, while the other area of interest is asset management. Having invested huge Capex in millions of assets, the current situation drives utility companies to look at optimizing further spending on Capex and OpEx without compromising network performance. This necessitates revisiting existing systems and practices and embracing digital technologies to accomplish asset management objectives. This in many ways leads to a deeper assessment of asset health, associated risks, and consequences combined with the data coming from field inspections, satellite imagery, and sensor inputs. Asset managers can use this information to strengthen their maintenance strategies and be ready to face emergencies caused by climate change.

The good news is that most of the utilities have Asset Information Systems in place, however, their ability to serve the full purpose of asset management is limited. The existing systems and practices do not cover the risk aspect very well, therefore the asset renewal and investment decisions are not so robust. Asset managers have been doing their best and relying on methods of their choice to develop maintenance strategies.  However,  the induction of digital technologies can greatly transform the process, and also provide the ability to address one of the key principles of the circular economy – maximizing the use of assets/materials. By understanding the present health of assets, probability of failure, and consequences of risks, the productive use of critical and expensive assets can be maximized with the right timely interventions. This approach will help minimize material wastage, and create a positive impact on the environment.

While the above is generally understood, there are always some questions that make utilities think twice before revamping the asset management approach. Some of them are:

  • Is there an optimal way to figure out the right timing for asset maintenance?
  • Can we get objective inputs to decide whether to repair, refurbish, or replace the asset?
  • What inputs are critical to preparing targeted maintenance plans?
  • Do we have sufficient inputs to evaluate the current health and asset failure risks?
  • Can we arrive at a monetized value of risks holistically?
  • Is there a scientific methodology behind calculating the probability of failure, and consequences of failure?

It is a fact that asset maintenance strategies based on asset failure risk can save 5-15% on maintenance costs while assuring the same network performance.

Therefore, the above questions certainly need clear answers. Leveraging complex algorithms, and advanced analytics, Aplines has been helping utilities with its Aptimize solution. Aptimize not only delivers answers to these questions but can also rescue Asset managers from everyday challenges with its built-in risk assessment, investment scenarios, and optimal maintenance plans based on budget. Aptimize is not a replacement to what utility companies already use to manage their assets, but it’s an enhancement that fills the gaps in existing asset management systems and practices. Aptimize can be a great choice for utilities to be included in their digital transformation journey. It keeps problem-solving simple, delivers measurable value, and helps utilities to contribute to the circular economy.

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