Asset Management Software

Scottish Canals get clear line of site with AMX

Background

In 2012 British Waterways split into two organisations; The Canal and River Trust for England and Wales; and Scottish Canals. Scottish Canals became responsible for the management of the 137 miles of waterway in Scotland, along with all the associated estates. Attracting approximately 22 million visitors a year, and growing, Scotland’s canals provide a vital source of economic income to the area both now and for the future and as such require careful management.

The portfolio of assets for Scottish Canals not only included the miles of waterway, four of the canals being recognised as Scheduled Ancient Monuments, but also 1,500 hectares of land, 195 buildings, 242 bridges and 17 reservoirs with assets ranging from culverts to lighthouses and embankments to the world’s only rotating boat lift, all of which need careful ongoing maintenance to ensure their benefit to the community continues.

With such a widespread range of assets to manage, the previous asset management software, that had served the larger British Waterways organisation well for over 25 years, was deemed unsuitable for the new smaller, more agile Scottish Canals business.

This was the perfect time to assess and implement a new solution that would incorporate new principles in this field such as ISO55000, flexible and dynamic reporting and significant improvements in mobile technology.

Requirements

The main features that Scottish Canals were looking for in an asset management solution were:

  • Building on Current Resources: Merging and utilisation of existing data from the previous database
  • Usable: An easy to use, intuitive interface to achieve user buy-in.
  • Flexible: Flexibility to improve the level and types of data captured from monthly inspections.
  • Reportable: Customisable reports enabling cross-referencing across multiple classifications.
  • Mobile: Mobile (Android) application for dedicated Asset Inspections Teams out in the field.
  • Future proof: Ability to extend the system to become a hub of data for a range of functions.

Solutions

The AMX team worked closely with Scottish Canals to develop AMX in line with their requirements, incorporating both the best of the existing systems with the desired business processes. The resultant solution included:

  • Building on Current Resources Import of existing data whilst improving the user interface and search & comparison functions to extract more relevant information.
  • Usable: Allowing full visibility of workflow from identifying, recording and documenting a defect through to its scheduled repair, itemised maintenance and documented completion.
  • Reportable & Flexible: Creating flexible, customisable reporting functions across all assets, enabling comparison of disparate fields for full and beneficial data analysis.
  • Mobile: Tailoring the android application to meet the unique requirements of the Inspections team to inspect linear assets with associated child assets along the lengths, whilst providing managers with immediate visibility of assets’ condition.
  • Future proof: Improved customisation tools to empower Scottish Canals to add their own asset classifications and expand into other areas of the business.

Outcome

Over the initial 2 years, by using the customised AMX solution, Scottish Canals have:

  • Improved Condition of Assets: They have reduced the previously classified ‘poor’ condition assets from 11.3% to 9.6 which is a continuing trend.
  • Streamlined processes: By implementing a dedicated Asset Inspection Team and providing them with live access to data whilst in the field and dedicated inspection proformas on the handheld devices, inspections are instantly updated to the system for manager review.
  • Saved Money and Time: They have gained new insights into assets through AMX advanced reporting functionality, enabling them to identify savings in costs and resources. To give an example, using reports comparing age, construction method and number/severity of defects for lock gates, they were able to identify that the standardised lifespan they had been using for planning was inaccurate and by fine tuning the programme they have been able to save money, effort and reduced the number of canal stoppages.
  • Combined information together: Plans to expand into other functional areas of Scottish Canals such as M&E and Estates.

"Allowing our inspectors and engineers real-time access to data in the field gives the business a new communication tool which enables immediate visibility to information and prompts a proactive response."
Andy Fletcher, Scottish Canals

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