Our services are optimally catered for small and medium-sized water, wastewater and storm water utilities, and industrial facilities. Typical clients include public works departments for small cities and (semi) private special purpose districts providing utility services to rural and suburban residents. While other firms provide similar services, we specifically scale our solutions to meet the needs of small agencies at an appropriate price point.
Asset Management Consulting
The AIMS Team has great expertise in the implementation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency's standards for developing an Asset Management Plan (AMP). We define Asset Management as 'a process for maintaining a desired level of service at the best appropriate cost'. We use the E.P.A.- described 10-step process – built around the Five Core Questions (see diagram below) – in all aspects of our consulting services, including workshops, reports, data standards and software applications.
Typical projects include:
Asset Management implementation planning.
The building of an asset register.
Populating mission-critical information regarding asset condition, criticality and valuation.
Setting appropriate levels of service.
Performing a risk assessment for an agency’s assets.
Identifying feasible management strategies for asset classes.
Running calculations and models to predict the best long-term financial strategy.
Preparation of an AMP document.
Ideally, the AMP is maintained as a ‘living document’ and updated annually to receive the greatest benefit. To this end, the AIMS Team has developed the AMP module in AIMS, so that the AMP is ‘live’ integrated with an agency’s data systems, and *always* up to date, rather than repeating a ‘snapshot process’ every 5-10 years resulting in a binder sitting on a shelf.
Systems Integrations and AIMS
A meaningful AMP relies on the availability of various data sets that usually includes an asset register, maintenance information, inspection data, documents and SCADA readouts. Most agencies store this information in different databases, spreadsheets and software applications that likely do not communicate. It is then up to agency staff to extract, compile and interpret data in order to use it in the asset renewal decision making process.
To make this process more efficient, the AIMS Team developed the Asset Information Management System (AIMS), which is a library of custom user interface modules designed to provide organizations with user-friendly centralized access to critical data sets and help make informed decisions. The goal of AIMS is to integrate databases and protocols into a seamless application that delivers functionality and data in a single interface, commonly referred to as a ‘one-stop-shop’, or ‘enterprise data system’.
Each AIMS implementation is customized and adapted to an agency’s established protocols – resulting in enhancement of existing workflows – rather than forcing agency staff to adapt their workflows to meet the idiosyncrasies of an ‘off the shelf’ software package. A typical AIMS implementation starts with a workshop where agency staff actively participate in designing AIMS modules and workflows that meet their specific needs. The AIMS Team will then configure AIMS to these specifications, resulting in a high level of user acceptance at delivery. Learning curves are greatly reduced as well, by using this methodology.
The web browser is used as the delivery method for the user interface of AIMS. A web server holds the AIMS application modules in a single location, which makes it easy to deploy, upgrade and secure. The end user does not need to install any software on their local machine, and user interfaces are easier to develop and maintain for web browsers than for stand-alone, desktop-based software applications.
AIMS can be configured as secure as the agency needs it to be. It can be fully secure within the local network, accessible to the public for outreach purposes, or anywhere in between with various combinations of user names, passwords and customized levels of access for departments or individual staff. Field access is easy as well, as it can be used on mobile devices with a wireless card either directly through the Internet or indirectly through a secure VPN connection.
Licensing – upon delivery of the custom configured AIMS, the agency owns the system, and no licensing limitations apply. There are no limits or costs based on the number of users or data records. There are no annual licensing-related maintenance fees. The agency is free to modify the application as it is not compiled, and the AIMS Team provides all source code and components to the agency. AIMS is non-proprietary and uses only open standards.
IT Environment – if deployed within the agency’s network, the AIMS Team recommends using a dedicated (virtual) server running Windows Server 2016 or later, with a minimum of 16GB of RAM, but 32GB of RAM is preferred due to the map rendering process. Any required ESRI GIS licenses will be purchased and managed directly by the agency. For installation and support operations, the AIMS Team must be provided with secure remote access to the server.
General Data Management Services
Geographic Information System development (ESRI-based, utility industry standard database schemas).
Data conversion including CAD to GIS, paper maps to GIS.
Field mapping using GPS equipment in combination with the ESRI Collector App.
Database administration (Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Access).
Systems integration including GIS, Maintenance Management Systems, Customer Information Systems, SCADA Systems, Document Management Systems and Condition Assessment Systems such as CCTV for sewer.
General software and database support activities after deployment of AIMS in an agency server. Such activities include the update of water distribution and sewer collection system maps based on record drawings, loading of documents and AIMS training sessions.
The AIMS Team conducted a storm water drainage asset GPS survey at the Iron Mountain Mine after the devastating Carr Fire in Redding, 2018.
Collector for ArcGIS was used to map culverts and categorize them by condition rating. Destroyed and replaced culverts were marked appropriately and entered into the asset registry.
Condition ratings and asset renewals were used during a new financial forecasting model run. Future renewal reports now reflect the financial impact of the fire.