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04 October 22

Affinity Water refreshes its approach to assessing risk across operational assets

Affinity Water is using ARM (Asset Risk Management) software to help the Company plan how best to manage operational asset risks, both underground and above ground, to maximise value in delivering customer service.

Following a root and branch review of existing processes, and the development of system and process improvements, the Affinity Water teams have had refresher training in how to use ARM, and how best to record the risks. The options for maintaining assets and reviewing when further investment is needed are now regularly analysed by a Risk Review Panel, led by the senior assets planning managers in the Asset Planning team.

Photo: Left: David Fosci, Right: Gerald Doocey

When deemed appropriate, risks are promoted for ‘treatment’ (removal, reduction, mitigation or management). Given that it is not always possible, or affordable, to remove all risk, it is key that the process is consistent in quantification of a risk and its likelihood to occur, so that the Company can focus on the priorities.

David Fosci, Affinity Water’s Improvement Lead, Customer Delivery said:

“Using the ARM system we are now regularly undertaking reviews of risk. All risks across the business are now analysed from the perspective of a level playing field, using our service measures framework (I2S, WQ, Pressure etc) to accurately monetise the cost of a risk should it materialise, so that we can determine which course of action is most value efficient to us. This process is an end-to-end one across the business in our above and below ground teams.

“It really is a significant step for us at Affinity Water and one which is streamlining our risk processes to give better value in terms of our investment in our assets. It will improve the resilience of our assets and help to make them more robust in the longer term thus saving money for the business. We got great feedback and comments from our teams and most importantly it showed a wiliness to get involved in asset risk management.

“We have gone on to design and commission a new reporting Qlik Dashboard which really helps us understand asset risks free from spreadsheet data. It even has an interactive map tool. We now feel we have a process ‘fit for the future’ and more widely understood by stakeholders”.

Gerald Doocey, Head of Asset Planning said,

“All risks in ARM are measured consistently using our Service Measure Framework to score each risk, through understanding the cost of impact, should it occur, and the likelihood of that risk occurring. We are able to rank risk to deliver the optimum schemes when we consider cost, risk and performance. We are charged with managing our Customers money wisely, so being able to demonstrate the best value options is really important, not least when there isn’t always enough funding to do everything. This provides a platform where stakeholders can see where their risks rank against others.

“The ARM process review and refresher program is one part of a number of improvements we have made in our asset planning activity. Last year we implemented a new Risk and Value process to the planning function, which drills deeper into those selected schemes identified for treatment (from ARM etc) by carrying out root cause analysis, development of solution candidates, valuation of solution costs, against the impact cost to ensure we select the right answer. In the coming months we will be delivering a new Unit Cost Database (UCD) and Carbon Calculator to mature our cost estimation and help us deliver our ambitions for Net Zero carbon.”

Lee Wright, a Senior Asset Planning Engineer with Affinity Water, explained how he had been trained and now works on ARM:

“I started using ARM when I moved into the Infra Asset Planning team which was set up in late January this year. We now have the ability to easily measure the Infra risk across the business, giving us a better understanding of how much risk the company is carrying, and it brings us in line with non infra risk management process”.

Wright went on to explain how the systems provide increased business efficiency:

“Without fully understanding the whole picture it’s very easy to spend limited funding on “believed high risk” while the true higher risks could be missed. All risks are scored in a set manner based on the BIC (business impact costs) which in turn ensures that they are all measured equally. This allows the best risks to be prioritised into the risk and value stage”.

Wright said that the teams working on ARM across the business had enjoyed the interactions and were pleased to be part of the change processes:

“After the infra planning team was set up workshops were arranged bringing key stakeholders together to run through the process and why. We also have regular meetings (PIM and the NIM) to discuss any new risks added or to get an update on the progresses made.

“A Qlik dashboard has been set up to allow us to easily visualise the data from ARM, and shout out for assistance should we need it. It really is a significant step forward for Affinity Water which we have all embraced positively.”

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