8.5 Coordinating and Integrating Asset Management

Asset Management can be extremely helpful for coordination of activities within departments or between different departments of a larger municipal entity. Coordination can, and should, be done with other city departments to ensure that construction and repair activities are managed efficiently. A typical example is the case of road repairs. Customers do not like to see a road that has recently been paved torn up to replace a water or sewer line. A good working relationship between the two departments can prevent this type of event. Money will be saved and both departments will benefit from the customer satisfaction that will result from better communication and coordination. To successfully use Asset Management to coordinate different activities across departments, a well-managed inventory, including a history of repairs and a work order system that can be accessed by different departments is helpful. However, expensive software is not a pre-requisite. Communication is the key to coordination and good communication is the result of shared vision and a common commitment.

Because Asset Management is a way of doing business, it should not be thought of as a separate or stand-alone activity. In addition to the integration of Asset Management with activities specifically related to your assets, like energy efficiency, Asset Management should be integrated with other planning activities that relate to the community as a whole. These community planning activities will involve the utility in some way, either peripherally or directly, and may include comprehensive planning, master planning, capital planning and sustainability planning.






Any good comprehensive plan or visioning effort should be based on the community's goals and values and developed with the involvement of community members. It generally includes physical, social, and economic aspects of the community. If the comprehensive plan is truly developed by the community and reflects their values, it will provide general guidelines for utilities to consider for expansion and rehabilitation.

A master plan establishes specific long-range directions for the community and may include the utility. The Asset Management plan must integrate the goals articulated in the master plan to ensure that the two are compatible and reflect the same vision of the utility's future operations, expansions, or changes. This is equally important whether the community wants to encourage growth or whether it wishes to preserve a quality of life that the citizens value.

A community capital improvement plan should identify those projects that have been identified as high priority for the utility. The capital improvement plan must be coordinated with the Asset Management plan to ensure that the community seeks appropriate funding for the projects for which a clear business case has been established.

Sustainability initiatives focus on the economic, social, and environmental well-being of a community in order to ensure its continued existence and preserve its values. It is particularly important for the Asset Management plan to reflect these values, as determined by the community. Doing so will ensure an Asset Management plan that is workable and has the support of the community.

Anybody that looks at that master plan knows I have issues with that old pipe.
--Bill Boulanger, Dover, NH