Local governments face increasing pressure to deliver services that meet the constantly evolving demands of citizens. Yet many are falling behind due to limited budgets used to address growing requirements, declines in staff resources, aging technology, and outdated management methods.
This has been an ongoing problem in the public sector, especially with asset-intensive public agencies that manage utilities, transportation, water, sewage, and more. For example, the American Association of State Highways and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) revealed in 2013, the “current methods of transportation infrastructure man¬agement are inadequate to meet the demands of American citizens and industry,” in its Transportation Asset Management Guide.
The reason is that the AASHTO and other asset-intensive public agencies need to constantly track, assess, and manage a wide range of physical, technological, and human assets. They must hire and schedule employees, repair machinery, deploy and manage technology resources, maintain physical plants, and more. To make matters worse, technology infrastructures are often highly complicated and run data in silos, which limits the ability to make informed decisions, maintain compliance, and overall reduces the effectiveness of operations across departments. Plus, public agencies must contend with aging physical assets such as power plants, sewer systems, electronic devices, and more that require ongoing maintenance and repair.
One of the biggest challenges for asset-intensive government agencies – if not the biggest challenge – is to effectively manage these different types of assets effectively and efficiently. The traditional management methods – based on managing assets through data silos, reactive asset maintenance, paper record keeping, etc. – are no longer adequate in meeting the demands of today’s public sector agencies.
What the AASHTO recommended in its guide, is Transportation Asset Management (TAM), which is “a strategic and systematic process of operating, maintaining, upgrading, and expanding physical assets effectively through¬out their life cycle.” TAM is simply Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) designed specifically for the transportation industry.