How the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Expanded Enterprise Asset Management

By. Robert Kumapley, PE, Chief of Enterprise Asset Management at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Jeff Chen, Assistant Director of Enterprise Asset Management at Microdesk.

Originally Published in Government Computer News.

Since 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has been responsible for planning, designing, building, operating and maintaining a diverse and complex collection of critical infrastructure assets. These assets form the lifeblood of a vast trade and transportation network that is critical to the U.S. economy. The PANYNJ asset portfolio consists of over 25 facilities, including major New York area airports and bridges, tunnels, a commuter railway, marine and bus terminals and ports and the World Trade Center complex. These facilities are operated by five business lines and provide service to more than 17 million people in the region.

In recent years, the PANYNJ has made significant progress in the development of an enterprise asset management program that has established an agency-wide, standards-based approach to managing its infrastructure. The EAM program has expanded the agency’s previous focus on maintenance and operations to include a holistic approach designed to utilize lifecycle management best practices that provide a more prescriptive and objective method of managing complex infrastructure systems — from an enterprise perspective. The success of the EAM program is highly dependent on the collaboration among key agency stakeholders who have played, and continue to play, a critical role in the development of the asset hierarchy and the overarching policy and governance models that drive the program.

Image Courtesy of Jeff Chen.

This new focus on utilizing lifecycle management methods is intended to inform and guide investment strategies for maintenance, operations and capital improvements of assets to maximize the value of the full portfolio in alignment with organizational objectives and customer expectations.

A foundational step in the EAM program was the development of an asset data specification, which provided standardization and governance of asset information across multiple business sectors with varied statutory and regulatory reporting requirements. The ADS was envisioned and developed collaboratively by staff in various departments across the agency, ensuring that critical business processes and data needs for asset lifecycle management were captured. The ADS is currently in use and has proved to be very effective in improving the overall quality of asset data while providing a high level of consistency in how the agency and its stakeholders collect, manage, access, analyze and visualize its infrastructure information.

Several challenges were encountered during the ADS development. A major challenge was the diversity of stakeholders and end-users across the agency who worked in silos over the years. Another major challenge was the complexity of the asset portfolio as a result of the scale of the agency and the diversity of business lines.

To ensure early adoption and access to the ADS, the Port Authority EAM partnered with Microdesk to implement the Asset Registry and Information Database (ARID®), a digital resource supporting the development, coordination and publishing of the Authority’s ADS and hierarchy. Beginning in 2018, the Port Authority and its consultant partner established a new workflow that introduced semantical algorithms into the asset registry database, which examines all existing and new asset requirements. This process provided an interactive and efficient way to monitor and report on data dictionary health for the Port Authority. Figure 1 represents a well-defined asset classification in ADS.

Image Courtesy of Jeff Chen.

One of the critical changes from the adoption of ARID® was replacing the use of spreadsheets with an asset registry database and its associated web application. The ADS database reduces complexities and confusion in using Microsoft Excel for version control and management of naming conventions and other standards. Meanwhile, the Port Authority still allows the traditional workflow of spreadsheet-based batch editing and provides powerful import and export integration capabilities. Figure 1 shows some of the asset registry and classification information as specified in EAM ADS for a pump.

With the data requirements refined and hosted in the asset registry database, there was an opportunity to enhance the connectivity between the operational and project delivery phases. Asset data requirements were established with building information modeling processes, which supported lifecycle management implementation and integrated project delivery all based on the ADS.

Microdesk’s ARID® at the Port Authority is now the record of agreement across the agency — the primary source of truth for asset registry data requirements. To ensure and expedite its effective use, a structured training program was provided to stakeholders across the agency, and the ADS application was made available online for easy access to all users. Microdesk’s ARID® at the Port Authority also includes EAM program-related components, documents, protocols and training materials.

The ADS and asset registry database workflow benefits the Port Authority’s EAM program development and creates valuable opportunities to develop, implement and govern the ADS, ensuring minimal impact to existing business processes and reporting requirements. The successful deployment of the asset registry database was achieved by establishing data standards for assets across the enterprise, leveraging existing asset data, maintenance staff experience, technology and creating a collaborative environment for all stakeholders to participate in the roadmap process.

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