Develop asset identification numbering/naming convention

The key to the registry is assigning a unique identification number (or “string” – a mixture of letters and numbers) to each MMI level asset. From a database standpoint this type of identification number allows us to assign specific attributes, record work orders, and update attribute information against a specific asset. Numbering systems fall into three major categories, namely:

The various components that make up an asset numbering system usually relate to:

Over time, different numbering systems may have been used by different business units in the same agency, creating confusion when assets are combined into one registry. In many cases these systems do not include all assets and often have duplicate numbers and therefore cannot be used effectively as identifiers in the new asset registry. It may be undesirable to completely change the existing asset number for the sake of developing an asset registry since some data may already be available under the existing identification code (in addition, the organization may be reluctant to give up the old familiar numbers). The best solution is to design a rule to convert an existing asset number into a unique new number in the computer system. For instance, a duplicate sequential number can be eliminated by “concatenating” (adding on) a location code. Table 7.1 shows some examples of adding location codes to create unique numbers.

For larger systems, it may be important to use a dual code structure, especially for plant assets. A dual code separates the location from the unique asset id. The location itself is assigned a unique code that is not changed as long as the location exists (a particular process location in a particular plant, for example). The asset is also assigned a unique id as outlined above. The two codes together allow the asset manager to track history by asset wherever it has been located or by all assets at that location. This distinction allows the asset manager to separate root cause associated with the operating environment from those associated with the asset per se. This is particularly useful for those assets such as motors or pumps that might be moved to various locations over the life of the asset.

Since each numbering system has advantages and disadvantages, it is important that the utility examines all feasible options. Involvement from every impacted division in the organization, including financial and administrative staff, is strongly recommended. However, it must be realized that the technical staff will be required to carry out the operations and maintenance on these assets, so the numbering system should be created to best serve those functions. Once consensus is reached, it should be implemented across all business units to assure consistency across the organization.

Note that a number of the more widely used computerized maintenance management applications can be configured to assign numbers automatically. In addition, many packages allow the assigned ID to be linked to a common name; it is easier for the field staff to locate assets in the hierarchy using the common names rather than the formally assigned tag names (i.e. it is easier to locate Grit Chamber No 1. Pump No. 1 than find tag P-13A01).