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Prison maintenance management is a challenge no matter where the prison is or how old it is. Inside of every prison, maintenance decisions are made daily that determine the future of its assets. When work requests are received, decisions may need to be made on whether to repair, refurbish or replace (RRR) the asset. For some assets, this may be an easy call, yet for other more expensive pieces of equipment, such as a boiler the choice may not be so clear-cut. These decisions become harder to make if the prison is not managing assets over their entire useful lifecycle.

Asset Lifecycle Management

Asset lifecycle management starts at the planning phase and continues until the asset is either retired or replaced. This is sometimes referred to as managing assets over the course of their useful economic life and requires that prison maintenance managers have access to all the relevant details of the assets. Without this information, a decision to continue applying temporary fixes may prove to be less cost effective than refurbishment of the asset. One of the best methods of collecting this information is to implement an Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) system. A prison EAM system will organize the collection of the important asset details.

Components of Asset Detail (at a minimum)

  • Location: Where is the asset located?
  • Description: Physical description of the asset, note if it was new or refurbished at the time of purchase
  • Age: Date manufactured and date installed.
  • Condition: It is important to note the changes in condition from purchase to the last inspection.
  • Purchase price: Cost of the asset and terms
  • Expected useful lifespan: What was the initial planning projection economic lifespan?
  • Vendor information: Manufacturer, vendor, warranty, terms, service availability, contact information.
  • Other documents: Includes contracts and other documentation.
  • Asset maintenance history: Good data collection enables good output reports, detail is critical.
    • # of work request generated: How many times have problems been reported on the asset?
    • # of work orders completed: How many work request resulted in a completed work order?
    • # of work orders outstanding: Are there any work orders outstanding? Will they impact the RRR decision?
    • Repair history: When, who, what, where, how was the problem fixed, costs, parts used, notes, follow-up date and so on. Detail is critical.
    • Inspection history: Schedule and results of regularly scheduled inspections.
    • Preventive maintenance history: Scheduled work orders for the purpose of performing minor maintenance to optimize performance.
    • Other maintenance activities: Scheduling of the use of predictive or infrared testing activity, safety tests etc.
  • Expected Useful Lifecycle: What is the assets projected retirement date?

When the detail is collected using an EAM system, prison management can use the reporting features to organize and sort the information needed for good decisions. For example, a leak has been discovered in a chiller, maintenance management can now look and see if this is unique occurrence or if it is something that is occurring every week. A review of the work order history will also tell them who fixed the leak the last time, what was the cause and how the work order was completed.

If the leak is one of many from the chiller unit, prison maintenance can also look at the age of the asset and make a better determination of whether the unit should be repaired or replaced. Prison management can also use reports to identify who has been performing the work and if training is needed. Similarly, the historical database also becomes a resource for maintenance staff researching the fix to a problem.

Ultimately, the asset database created by an EAM system can be used to provide the needed documentation and justification for capital budget proposals.

Enterprise Asset Management Across Multiple Locations

One of the true advantages for prison systems of an EAM solution is that the same system can be used for multiple facilities. When used for multiple locations, prison management can view all their assets at one time, prepare more accurate capital budgets, assess the success of standard operating procedures but most importantly know where all their assets are and their condition.

Other benefits include being able to identify and consolidate vendors, standardization of maintenance practices and the creation of a system wide knowledge base that protects the know-how developed by maintenance staff over the course of time. The knowledge base is an area of growing importance as the average of the skilled maintenance professional is over 50. Without the collection of maintenance history, the knowledge these maintenance professionals have would be lost upon their retirement.

An EAM system will also have an impact on public perception. Government run facilities are constantly on the radar of critics who derail the prison system as archaic and inefficient (only speaking of maintenance). The implementation of an EAM will greatly reduce the need for paper, increase energy efficiency through better maintained equipment, and lower labor costs that are a result of unplanned emergency maintenance and repairs.

Share with us how your prison handles repair, refurbish or replacement decisions. If you enjoyed reading this article you may also want to read: