Healing After Hurricanes: EAM in a World of Superstorms
At a time when extreme weather threatens American infrastructure, enterprise asset management can provide a glimmer of hope for a better tomorrow.
Hurricane season 2017 has brought devastation and despair to American shores, the likes of which we've never seen before but won't soon forget.
As Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands recover from these tragedies, we can't help but think about all the ways in which enterprise asset management will offer crucial support as the U.S. rebuilds its industrial infrastructure and provides relief to those in dire need.
Criticality critical for recovery
When Hurricane Harvey made landfall in the Gulf of Mexico at the end of August, it incapacitated more than one-fifth of the nation's refining capacity, according to S&P Global Platts, and threw the future of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of energy infrastructure into uncertainty. More importantly, the superstorm and others like it have jeopardized the livelihood and safety of the surrounding communities.
Asset criticality have undoubtedly informed recovery processes as these facilities attempt to return to full operational capacity. Administering repairs and onlining equipment in the proper order will impact how effectively these refineries rebound and avoid further disaster.
Burning the midnight diesel
OTR fleet companies have been a boon to hurricane relief efforts. Truckers have bravely driven tons of miscellaneous emergency supplies into affected areas to rebuild roads for greater access and feed dislocated families.
Their contribution has not gone unnoticed: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, under order of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, suspended Hours of Service mandates for all businesses engaged in the recovery so drivers can contribute as much as they wish without worrying about regulatory violations.
Regardless of this exemption, however, fleets with proactive maintenance programs in place will continue collecting operational data on their vehicles during this extraordinary hour. These businesses know that in order to go that extra mile for victims, their maintenance technicians and fleet managers must understand, with precision and consistency, how unusually heavy loads, damaged roads and long detours affect the mechanical performance of their trucks.
Preparation for an uncertain future
Although we hope to never again see destruction of this magnitude, fate is not in our favor. Average annual incidence of weather-related disasters between 2012 and 2016 (10.6) is twice that of 1980 and 2016 (5.5), according to the National Centers for Environmental Information.
The best anyone can do is identify the distinct risks extreme weather poses, gather historical data on how these risks have impacted operations and develop asset management plans around these findings. Companies that utilize this information well will no doubt leverage EAM solutions as their centralized, actionable hubs for pertinent conditional and operational data. Robust strategies for asset and facilities management hinge on what companies derive from their maintenance teams and operators, not to mention how well they apply what they learn.
Of course, no EAM solution can nullify the effects of extreme weather on asset-intensive industries, but comprehensive implementation and execution can help businesses reclaim what was taken away from them. We are humbled when we see our philosophies on EAM deployed with such skill by passionate, intelligent individuals.
Our hearts go out to the victims of extreme weather everywhere and to the heroes in the public and private sectors who are working around the clock to save lives and preserve communities.