Building asset management maturity is a multifaceted process, with every municipality having unique needs necessitating attention to various areas of asset management program development. For the Town of Lamont, it was pivotal to establish an asset management governance structure and planning approaches in order to better understand the current state of their infrastructure.
The first priority for the small Albertan Town, located just 60km east of Edmonton, was to build staff capacity for asset management. Being a small municipality, having the right resource to oversee all ongoing program development and ensure all data was up to date was a critical piece in building a sustainable program. Often in small municipalities, there are limited staff with various responsibilities, making it difficult to take on the task of asset management and spend the necessary time to effectively implement the ongoing requirements. For the Town of Lamont’s council, they understood that a dedicated resource needed to be a priority in order to see the benefits of asset management. This has been an ongoing commitment from the council to have a dedicated staff member who is working on asset management. This resource has enabled the Town to get on track with asset management and start realizing benefits from their program.
With a dedicated resource in place, the Town was able to advance additional priorities. The main focus moving forward has been to have better planning processes in place in order to have more effective reporting to council and the public. Previously, the Town had no planning in place and very little understanding of the state of their infrastructure. The importance of asset management for the Town was planning and understanding what needed to be focused on for their financial future. This has been particularly important as government funding is lessening, requiring ongoing planning to ensure asset investment is sustainable into the long-term. A key component of the Town’s long-term planning is the implementation of asset management software.
Having the ability to house all asset information in one place and run reports on asset lifecycle and risk will be pivotal for more impactful reporting to council that will inform budgeting and maintenance decisions. Further, it will be critical in the promotion of collaboration among staff and in assisting with remote work. Through the use of cloud-based asset management software, staff will be able to access data remotely, enabling the Town’s Financial Manager to work out of province. The ability to have ongoing communication regarding asset data will be pivotal to more effective planning processes and organization-wide understanding of critical asset information. This will aid in decisions on asset maintenance and to inform the budget process. The Town is in the process of implementing their asset management software and hopes to continue advancing their asset management capacity and continue to realize cost savings from improved governance and planning structures.