Asset Performance Management

A sweeping digital transformation of the electricity landscape has begun. Organizations that move with urgency to drive a digital strategy throughout their businesses will define the industry’s future. Data and analytics strategies will be key to future competitive advantage, to fueling growth, determining profitability and ultimately survival. I’m inspired by our customers every day; by working alongside them on their digital endeavors. I hope you will be inspired by their stories too.
Xcel Energy is a major U.S. electric and natural gas company, with regulated operations across eight Midwestern and Western states. It serves over 3.5 million electricity customers and two million natural gas customers. With the power and utility industry facing many challenges, including meeting increased demand while keeping costs down, increased regulations, and a changing workforce, Xcel realized it needed a software solution to gather more real-time data on its assets.

Xcel implemented Asset Performance Management (APM) from GE Digital (formerly Meridium Enterprise APM), and while successful at gathering more real-time asset data, the platform was being used in siloes and was not fully integrated into Xcel’s workflow and event tracking methodology.
So the company decided to upgrade, expanding its APM users from approximately 240 to 700. The software and the company had come a long way in six years, and there was a great opportunity to improve productivity.
Xcel began by looking at its processes. Employees at seventy-six units were currently tracking data through Word documents, spreadsheets, and the APM software. With the upgrade, Xcel soon realized it could integrate all of the information into the APM platform easily. That meant manually updating a spreadsheet for each unit, with approximately forty tabs, each month could become a thing of the past. Besides consolidating information, Xcel was able to utilize a dashboard to monitor more real-time data across its enterprise. Training was implemented to standardize and streamline process for event assessments, root cause analysis (RCA), and recommendations.

The APM upgrade allowed for a continuous improvement loop. Xcel implemented automated tracking and alerts—if an event assessment had not been approved within thirty days, a reminder was triggered. At 60, 90, and 120 days, those alerts escalated to higher management, if necessary. Previously, this was also tracked on a spreadsheet, which proved hard to manage and made follow-through a challenge.
In one year, Xcel was able to save over 2,000 hours of time on event assessments tracking and workflow. With 700 users not emailing manual Word documents and spreadsheets, one source and view of its asset data has allowed Xcel to improve efficiency and accountability when it comes to asset performance. Also, by having each plant analyze mitigation actions for future events, Xcel can identify and share best practices across its enterprise. ◆
Ganesh Bell is chief digital officer for GE Digital. GE Digital is the leading software company for the Industrial Internet, reimagining industry’s infrastructure by connecting software, apps and analytics to industrial businesses. Powered by Predix, GE Digital creates software to design, build, operate, and manage the entire asset lifecycle—enabling industrial businesses to operate faster, smarter, and more efficiently.
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