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Asset management strategies–which is right for me?

October 6, 2015

We get a lot of questions about developing the right strategy as it relates to assets that are managed by different agencies.  These questions are typically focused on “How” to manage assets, which typically comes after the agency decides “Why” to manage assets.

Here are some typical questions:

  1. When is the best time to manage my asset in its life-cycle?
  2. When do I rehabilitate my asset?
  3. What do I do to the asset?
  4. When do I replace my asset?
  5. Can I just let it runs its course and when it fails, replace it?
  6. Should I invest time and money in an asset early in its life-cycle or wait until it is in poor condition to fix it?

We always recommend starting this process by understanding a few things about the asset.

1.  Financial Considerations – How much does an asset cost to install and Maintain?  Is it capitalized or not?   In most cases, the cost of an asset has a large impact on how it is managed.  This is not the only consideration, but we can use it as a starting point.

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2.  Risk Considerations – What are the consequences to the agency if this asset fails?  Will someone get hurt?  Will it cause an accident?  These are closely tied to other financial considerations such as tort liability.

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3.  Life-Cycle Considerations – How does the asset typically deteriorate?  Is it straight-line deterioration or more of a polynomial-type of a curve?  This information helps determine what to do to an asset and when to do it (less cost when starting earlier in the process).  Programmatic treatments or inspection-driven treatments are common approaches to managing assets with this approach.

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Once an agency has a solid understanding of the Financial, Risk and Life-Cycle considerations related to an asset, they can begin to develop a management strategy specifically for the asset type to be managed.  Since every asset can be managed differently, we will focus on a couple of assets and their management strategy.

Pavement

  1. Financial – Capitalized asset – high cost to install and maintain.
  2. Risk – Critical to the movement of people and commerce – high consequence of failure.
  3. Life-Cycle – Long-term asset with long-term life expectancy – Can be managed using a life-cycle or Inspection-based approach.

Pavements have a long history of research and empirical data models that have been developed for Airports, Parking lots and Roads and a variety of software exists to support the maintenance of this asset.  Therefore, it is pretty easy to choose an approach to manage pavement based on an agency’s goals and priorities.  Typically this program is inspection-driven (every 3-5 years) and focuses on finding the best mix of Preservation and Rehabilitation activities designed to achieve their target Level-of-Service.

Signs

  1. Financial – Capitalized asset – low to high cost to install and maintain.
  2. Risk – Critical to the safety of people and commerce – low to high consequences of failure.
  3. Life-Cycle – Medium to long-term life-expectancy – Can be managed using a life-cycle or Inspection-based approach.

Signs have less empirical data collected for them and can have varied Financial, Risk and Life-cycle information compiled and available throughout the industry.  Strategies for management are typically focused on Life-Cycle and Risk and there are many methodologies that are accepted by FHWA.  These are outlined in their Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and are widely utilized throughout the US.

Light Poles

  1. Financial – Capitalized asset – medium cost to install and maintain.
  2. Risk – Semi-Critical to the safety of people and commerce – low to high consequences of failure.
  3. Life-Cycle – Medium to long-term life-expectancy – Can be managed using a life-cycle or Inspection-based approach.

Light poles are typically managed by inspection of their base attachments (every 10 years or so) but many agencies typically run these assets to failure (luminaire failure or pole failure).  This is another mixed bag of management because some light poles provide a critical safety function (DOT) and others just light the way for safety (walkways) and are not as critical to the daily operations of an agency.

These are just a few examples of strategy development – we would love to see comments related to the infrastructure that you manage and we will reply with some of the Industry’s Best-Management-Practices (BMPs) that are successfully used throughout the US.

Infrastructure assets end of life-cycle

September 28, 2015

OverpassAs we are all well aware, after many years of capital investment in our infrastructure in the mid-1900s, our assets in transportation, water treatment, and electric transmission are reaching their end of life-cycle. In recent years, the Skagit bridge collapse in Washington, the water pipe burst at UCLA and the Metrodome roof collapse in Minneapolis serve as just a few examples of American infrastructure in continuing disrepair. Federal appropriations have been shrinking, state and local funds continue to be inadequate and infrastructure managers are being asked to do more with less.

What can be brought to bear from the International Infrastructure Asset Management market to potentially help deal with this issue? One area of interest lies in the Institute of Asset Management’s ISO 55000 suite of international standards that was released in January 2014 and aims to provide “a management framework for the coordinated activity of an organization to realize value from its assets in order to support the delivery of its strategic plan and objectives.” In addition, the focus is placed on “strategic” asset management within the standard, placing a focus on optimization and prioritizing assets for repair and replacement based on a combination of condition, risk and performance metrics.

Some of the key elements of the standard encourage us to improve in the following ways:

  • Development of a clear and concise asset management policy, strategy and approach to strategic planning
  • Defining levels of service and linking these to interventions and desired outcomes
  • Evidence of proactive external stakeholder engagement and management
  • Integrating outsourced activities with the asset management system;
  • Implementing strategic and asset risk management and demonstrating its use in influencing asset management decision making
  • Business case development and integrated investment planning over multiple time horizons
  • Whole-life costing and governance

Sure, this doesn’t say how we are going to fund the needed maintenance activities, but it does specify a way for us to think about what comes first when going about those activities. It is anticipated that standards such as these have much to offer on how we maintain our infrastructure in the future and we should pay attention to see what can be applied from other international success stories moving forward.

A Warm Welcome to Friendly New Faces at DTS!

September 11, 2015

September 2015 – Orlando, Florida

Mr. Trey Fragala, Chief Operating Officer for Data Transfer Solutions, LLC. (DTS) proudly reports, “DTS and our flagship product VUEWorks® continue to experience rapid growth. As a result, I am pleased to be filling the necessary key positions in accounting, administration, human resources as well as others to soon be announced”. For current and future customers, please welcome the newest members of our growing team.

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Shannon Buttiglieri – Administrative Support/Marketing Coordination

Ms. Buttiglieri has an extensive background in administrative support roles and marketing. She supported many non-profit organizations with respect to administration, planning, event coordination, hospitality and communications. She will provide much needed administrative support and work with our marketing group to help with coordination of events and marketing initiatives.

Shannon says, “DTS has been my favorite company by far to work for!!! Everyone is always so nice and eager to lend a helping hand. I have 3 amazing children, Michael’s a senior at the UCF (University of Central Florida), Justin is a high school freshman, and Katie is now in 4th grade.”

Francesa Brussel – Administrative Support/Marketing Support

Ms. Brussel has a wealth of experience in office management, marketing and business to business communication. She comes to DTS after working in a few communication and retail firms. She will be providing support to the executive team at DTS as well as assisting with marketing collateral development and external communications.

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adriana-sierra

Adriana Sierra – Accounts Payable Coordinator

Ms. Sierra comes to DTS after stints at several accounting firms where her experience ran the gamut from taxes, payables, receivables, customer support and oversight. She will work directly with our Chief Financial Officer to support our accounts payable activities.

Adriana says, “I am originally from Colombia, I have been married to my husband Rod for 18 years. We have two amazing daughters (Victoria & Christina) which love to play soccer. I love horses, cows and dogs and I enjoyed reading, swimming and go in adventures with my family.”

Marni Milks – Accounts Receivable Coordinator

Ms. Milks comes to DTS after several years with HP in the finance division. She has a background in finance and accounting and she is joining us as our new Accounts Receivable coordinator. She will be taking over billing, collections and other accounting duties. She is a native Floridian and lives in Orlando with her husband (Wes) and two sons (Edison & Jacob).

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VUEWorks 10.2 Available Now

August 26, 2015

Data Transfer Solutions (DTS) announces the latest version of VUEWorks. VUEWorks software is a web-based, geospatially-enabled, enterprise-level asset and work management system that provides customers with the ability to manage, analyze, integrate and share valuable asset and work management information. VUEWorks provides the ability to manage infrastructure capital assets to minimize the total cost of owning and operating them, while delivering the service levels you desire. The new version of VUEWorks has been built to support the same core requirements that customers have come to expect and is being delivered with a new look and exciting new functionality.

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You’ll love the new face of VUEWorks! In addition, behind the scenes, the code base has been modernized to deliver what you’d expect from a progressive web application.

  • Broadened platform support with an expanded list of supported browsers (IE 10 & 11, Chrome, and Mozilla’s Firefox)
  • A uniform and standardized experience regardless of browser
  • User interface improvements to enhance user experience and usability
  • Faster response time
  • Inclusion of the new Dynamic Reporting feature
  • Improved spatial editing feature

To learn how to upgrade or purchase VUEWorks click here!

Congratulations to the Ohio Department of Transportation

August 5, 2015

2015 Exemplary System in Government (ESIG)

Award
Congratulations to the Ohio Department of Transportation for the Transportation Information Mapping System (TIMS) on the 2015 ESIG Award from URISA.

An annual honor conducted to recognize systems that are outstanding examples of using information systems technology in a multi-department environment as part of an integrated process.

TIMS clearly exemplifies effective use of technology yielding widespread improvements in the process(es) and/or service(s) involved and/or cost savings to the organization.

More about the ESIG Awards

More about the ESIG Distinguished System

Latest additions to the DTS family

July 15, 2015

DTS would like to announce the addition of Todd Spangler and Dan Bellissemo to the DTS Team.

Todd Spangler
Mr. Todd Spangler, P.E., Director of Engineering Todd comes from the City of Brentwood, Tennessee where he was the Assistant Director of the Water Services Department. He also administered their VUEWorks® asset management software instance and has been instrumental in its success with the City. Mr. Spangler, as the DTS Director of Engineering, will be relocating to Orlando, Florida at the DTS Headquarters where he will have an integral leadership role. Mr. Spangler brings critical real world local government experience for enterprise asset management, and specifically water and wastewater expertise. Seeing the world through a client’s eyes and helping to match performance management for assets is why Mr. Spangler’s addition to the team is a success starting from day one.
Dan Bellissemo
Mr. Daniel Bellissemo, Regional Sales Director. Dan brings over twenty years of experience in enterprise geospatial solutions and has a proven track record working with local governments and commercial clients, as well as in the defense and intelligence markets. Mr. Bellissemo is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and promises to continue to assist with the exciting growth at DTS. Mr. Bellissemo will operate from the State of Ohio and lead sales development and strategies in his region.