The manner in which an asset management plan (AMP) is documented depends on the utility's perception of what information needs to be shared and how best to communicate it to the plan's reviewers and approvers. This function of information selection should be taken outside the document itself, in the sense that the manner of presentation should not affect the information that needs to be documented. The information documented in an AMP needs to be based on a nested data structure that clearly illustrates the data's provenance, how it was processed and analyzed, and what controls are in place to validate the processed information. The use of information value chains (IVCs) for planning is founded on the concept that decisions and investments driven by sound data, as agreed with key stakeholders such as regulators, are irrefutable. The only possible considerations remaining are design and affordability. Developing an IVC is also valuable because it makes the planning process more sustainable and consistent. In summary, preparing IVCs saves time and effort, while safeguarding quality. Documentation would only follow information preparation, where data quality becomes the dominant measure of the AMP's completeness.

INTRODUCTION

Manila water operations

Manila Water Operations (MWO), a subsidiary of Manila Water Company, Inc. is the water service concessionaire of the east zone of Metropolitan Manila in the Philippines. It provides water, wastewater, and other environmental services to 23 cities and municipalities, and serves more than six million customers across 1,300 km2.

MWO has a tariff adjustment review with its regulators every five years. The next of these is due in 2018, with the submission, review, and approval of the tariff adjustment proposal completed by 2017.

Asset management planning in manila water

The planning of a tariff adjustment proposal depends solely on the ability of the cross-functional ad hoc committee to understand the previous proposal, and review and update its contents, based on changes in information and assumptions.

There is room for improvement in this process, particularly in providing an efficient way to document how the information flows and changes from field and resource data to the actual proposal submitted. This could serve as a baseline reference relating assumptions and considerations to the management actions and decisions presented in the proposal.

MWO intends to develop asset management plans (AMPs) per facility to support its tariff adjustment proposal. This requires an effective means of developing nearly 100 AMPs in 2 years.

An AMP is a document specifying activities and resources, responsibilities and timescales for implementing the asset management strategy and delivering the asset management objectives. (The Institute of Asset Management n.d.)

The first AMP was done for the company's two major water treatment plants, with a combined treatment capacity of 1,600 million liters per day (Mld). The first draft AMP was completed in March 2014 after 6 months of development. It had 65 pages, excluding annexes, and was developed with only a general table of contents as a guide.

Document review and approval for the AMP started in the month it was completed. The leadership team would review and propose revisions to the AMP. The development team would apply the leadership team's revisions and then submit the updated AMP back to the leadership team for review and approval. The process ran as an iterative cycle for 4 months before final acceptance.

During post-evaluation of the AMP's development, it was noted that 80% of its preparation and revision time related to the document's narrative and flow, although almost 80% of the comments received during the reviews were specific to the information contained.

This identified the need to be able to present the information properly without the need for contextual narratives.

Study objectives

This study suggests the use of an information value chain (IVC) and other tools to show how data goes into an AMP. The method should:

  • 1. document both the source and destination of the information,

  • 2. identify who is accountable for data accuracy at different stages,

  • 3. illustrate how management actions and decisions are driven by data, and

  • 4. be able to support asset management planning for future tariff adjustments.

It is necessary to summarize the whole planning cycle, from data gathering to decision making, in a flowchart. If this is mapped properly, the time and effort required for developing AMPs would be reduced significantly, as review and approval would be centered not on individual AMPs but more on the singular method of their development. It is assumed in this that, if the method is used correctly and properly, the AMPs are done properly.

The critical component for the method is its acceptance by the organization. It must present the complete IVC in the detail needed to make it measurable, while still being simple enough to be applied in normal day-to-day operations.

METHODS

Information value chain

A value chain is the full range of activities – including design, production, marketing and distribution – businesses go through to bring a product or service from conception to delivery (Arline 2015). Using this definition, take the product to be the AMP, and the full range of activities as the data and processing needed to make it ready for submission.

SIPOC

SIPOC is a tool commonly presented in a table that summarizes important information needed for one or more processes. SIPOC is an acronym for Supplier, Input, Process, Output, and Customer.

The value of SIPOC in managing water-sector utilities is recognized in the Resource Guide to Effective Utility Management and Lean (US Environmental Protection Agency 2012) where SIPOC is mentioned as one of a handful of methods that are useful in asset management.

SIPOC, in particular, was chosen to supplement the IVC as it could present in a table what data are needed, who supplies these data, and what they will be used for.

The rationale would be to take the outputs and customers of the first activity as the suppliers and inputs of its successor, and so on. The SIPOC could be taken as the link in the chain detailing the relationships of the activities in terms of the information processed.

The supplier and customer must both be represented in the most appropriate unit or role, so that a specific person can be identified as directly responsible for data quality in each case. Similarly, the inputs, processes, and outputs must be clearly defined, to ensure that the activity is sound.

At macro-scale, IVC is a process flow chart for developing the proposal. At micro-scale, using the details provided in the SIPOC, it is a comprehensive list of asset data and their use.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

The process began by drawing the IVC and identifying the activities linked to make an AMP. A sample IVC was done for the AMPs of one (1) water distribution grid with 19 facilities supplying around 300 Mld to more than a million people. The segment of it – see Figure 1 – shows the many activities that the output of the demand forecast goes through before reaching the AMP.
Figure 1

Sample IVC linking the demand forecast to the AMP.

Figure 1

Sample IVC linking the demand forecast to the AMP.

In this IVC, demand forecasting is presented as a part of five (5) activities that deliver information into the AMP. Figure 2 provides a short description of the activities in the IVC and Figure 3 shows the data that come from each activity. The phrases highlighted in Figure 3 are the information that would be documented in the AMP.
Figure 2

General description of the activities in the IVC.

Figure 2

General description of the activities in the IVC.

Figure 3

Sample data output per activity.

Figure 3

Sample data output per activity.

Using the IVC for AMP development

The IVC was presented to the leadership team in place of the AMP. After three (3) weeks of consultation, its implementation was approved. With the IVC being used as a detailed information outline, the important values were written into the AMP. These were supported with general texts putting the subject information into context. This summary of values and general text served as the template document for AMPs. From it, five AMPs were completed within a week, all of which were accepted with only minor comments.

An additional application of the IVC is integrating calculations and charts of interrelated data. This makes AMPs coherent and easier to update should input data change. The charts presented in Figures 4 and 5 are samples of correlated information whose relationship is defined on the basis of the IVC.
Figure 4

Demand (left) and resulting OPEX (right) forecasts for a pumping station.

Figure 4

Demand (left) and resulting OPEX (right) forecasts for a pumping station.

Figure 5

Replacement (left) and total expenditure (right) forecasts for a pumping station.

Figure 5

Replacement (left) and total expenditure (right) forecasts for a pumping station.

The value of SIPOC

SIPOC tables for the first two activities in Figure 1 are provided as Tables 1 and 2, respectively.

Table 1

Sample SIPOC table for Demand Forecasting

Supplier Input Process Output Customer 
Field Agent Population per Sector Forecast Modelling Demand Forecast per Municipality Network Planner 
Average Consumption per Sector Regression Analysis Demand Forecast per Sector Revenue Manager 
National Statistics Office Population Forecast       
Accounts Manager Key Accounts Forecast 
Business Information Manager Historical Consumption Trends 
Supplier Input Process Output Customer 
Field Agent Population per Sector Forecast Modelling Demand Forecast per Municipality Network Planner 
Average Consumption per Sector Regression Analysis Demand Forecast per Sector Revenue Manager 
National Statistics Office Population Forecast       
Accounts Manager Key Accounts Forecast 
Business Information Manager Historical Consumption Trends 
Table 2

Sample SIPOC table for Capacity Optimization

Supplier Input Process Output Customer 
Network Planner Demand Forecast per Municipality Hydraulic Modelling Supply Forecast per Facility Facility Manager 
Existing Capacity per Facility   Supply Forecast per Primary Line Network Manager 
Existing Capacity per Primary Line   
Supplier Input Process Output Customer 
Network Planner Demand Forecast per Municipality Hydraulic Modelling Supply Forecast per Facility Facility Manager 
Existing Capacity per Facility   Supply Forecast per Primary Line Network Manager 
Existing Capacity per Primary Line   

The demand forecasting activity (Table 1) lists the network planner as the customer for the demand forecast per municipality. In the capacity optimization activity (Table 2), the network planner uses the demand forecast per municipality to provide the network and facility managers with supply forecasts for their respective assets.

The SIPOC tool is particularly useful when issues are not clear, e.g.:

  • 1. Who supplies inputs to the process?

  • 2. What specifications are placed on the inputs?

  • 3. Who are the true customers of the process?

  • 4. What are the requirements of the customers? (Simon n.d.)

This granularity – i.e., breaking down of major tasks into their components – provided by the SIPOC has several benefits.

  • 1. The data needed to perform an activity are listed.

  • 2. Those responsible for the activity are identified.

  • 3. The activity's expected output is defined.

  • 4. A structure is available that helps to improve data accuracy.

As data are gathered across the organization, establishing clear accountabilities for data sources is invaluable in streamlining the cross-functional collaborative effort.

With respect to improving data accuracy, there are at least two points at which the ‘responsible person’ – the network planner in the sample SIPOCs provided above (Tables 1 and 2) – can review data. The first is when the output data are received, and the second before the information is supplied to the next activity. These points add controls to the IVC so that the further the processed information travels along the chain, the more refined it will be.

Tools are currently being developed to simplify documentation and presentation of the IVCs and SIPOCs. These will allow managers to develop IVCs and SIPOCs faster, and help the company in communicating and appreciating the IVCs and SIPOCs better.

CONCLUSIONS

The key to this new method is macro-mapping the organization's business planning activities while assigning each activity to a single responsible person. It is this connection between the AMP and operations that allows the process to be sustainable, by showing each individual field operator or line manager their role in planning.

The open line of sight gives those involved a better appreciation of their role in ensuring that the AMP is complete, which should lead to an approved tariff adjustment proposal.

REFERENCES

REFERENCES
Arline
K.
2015
Retrieved from What is a Value Chain Analysis: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/5678-value-chain-analysis.html
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Simon
K.
n.d. .
The Institute of Asset Management
n.d.
Definitions. Retrieved from The Institute of Asset Management: https://theiam.org/knowledge/definitions
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US Environmental Protection Agency
2012
Resource Guide to Effective Utility Management and Lean
.