A Holistic Approach to Asset Management Can Direct Success

by shannon mcgrath, Director of Asset Management Planning, WSB

The state of Minnesota’s 2022 infrastructure report card was recently released by the American Society of Civil Engineers and the state of our infrastructure is not great. Within the report card, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) was commended for their approach to employing asset management strategies. In my previous role as Director of Asset Management Planning at MnDOT, I was proud to play a part in developing and deploying these strategies.

Recently, I joined WSB to help expand these approaches for our clients by promoting a comprehensive asset management strategy.

Here are a few helpful tips that communities can employ, guided by my experience at MnDOT and other various roles aiding in advancing the practice at local, state, and national levels.

Understanding Infrastructure Asset Management

Asset management is defined many ways. In this context, infrastructure assets should be thought of as any asset used by the public. Roads, bridges, culverts, dams, pipes, and buildings are just a few examples of public infrastructure. 

From there, the approach is to develop planning and strategy to minimize total cost of ownership, increase reliability and resiliency, and meet a desired level of service.

Implementing Asset Management into Community Planning

WSB offers many services to help clients plan for and implement comprehensive asset management plans and programs. Generally, this should be thought of as a multi-step process that includes the following:

  1. Defining vision and objectives
  2. Collecting and managing inventory and condition data
  3. Conducting risk analysis
  4. Developing performance measures and targets
  5. Completing a performance gap analysis
  6. Planning for life cycle management, financial, and investment strategies
  7. Implementing technologies to meet an organization’s goal

Asset owners can start in several places, but it’s important to take a thorough, thoughtful look at all assets and plan for how to best allocate funds and time. That means taking a step back to look at the bigger picture of your desired level of service and how to achieve it both efficiently and effectively. 

Scalable Solutions

Asset management is a spectrum and can be scaled to any type of asset and any size community or organization. Different communities are at different levels of maturity in planning, but it’s important to recognize a current state and where improvements can be made. 

Furthermore, by facilitating discussions holistically and cross-departmentally, rather than driving asset management through a single department, the idea and importance of it can be adopted into the culture. 

WSB helps clients navigate asset management, create strategic plans, implement technology, and identify areas of risk to improve and maintain infrastructure. Emerging trends like more efficient technology and tools to capture, store, and analyze data are also driving more informed decision making and helping drive better planning for communities and organizations of all sizes. 

Shannon has spent over a decade advancing asset management at local, state, and national levels by serving on asset management committees, advisory panels, and project management teams. While working at MnDOT, Shannon directed the agency-wide asset management planning including projects, research, policy, innovation, strategic planning, and implementation in collaboration with internal and external stakeholders.

smcgrath@wsbeng.com | 651.492.9291

Related Insights

We've got our eyes on the horizon.

All Insights

Learn more from our industry leaders.

We are always looking forward to what is next in infrastructure, click here to read about more ways we are influencing the industry.

Read more