How enterprise asset management helps provide safe drinking water

By | 4 minute read | August 3, 2017

Leadspace image of planets to represent the MaximoWorld event

We all need water to live. We also need water to be safe and dependable. Going behind the scenes of the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities (BPU) at MaximoWorld, we are able to understand the complexity of what it takes to keep these services running smoothly for more than 100 years.

Quality and low cost reign supreme at BPU

Today, BPU services 65,000 electric customers and 51,000 water customers, over approximately a 130 square mile area. Since it was first established in 1911, BPU has been recognized as one of the top public utilities in the nation. It is one of only 83 of the more than 2,000 municipal utilities to receive the Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3) designation by the American Public Power Association. Additionally in 2010, BPU’s water was voted the Best Tasting Water in Kansas among public utilities. They are also a member of the Partnership for Safe Water, a partnership of six drinking water organizations, and 200 water utilities, with the common goal of producing better quality water than what the EPA requires.

How do they continue to operate at the highest standard while keeping costs low? Maximo. Paul Crocker, Maintenance Supervisor at Kansas City BPU says, “Without the things we do in Maximo, we wouldn’t have equipment in good enough condition to meet the requirements to be in the Partnership for Safe Water.” Maximo, the world’s leading enterprise asset management solution, enables efficient, safe operations to continue producing safe water for residents.

The more you know about the past, the better you can plan the future

For the first 90 years of operation, BPU’s water facility was located at their Quindaro site. For many years, this site was less than optimal and faced challenges around obsolete equipment, especially pumps and motors. Due to the equipment being obsolete, maintenance was avoided for fear that if the equipment went offline, it may never go back online again. There was little automation at this site which required them to have larger staff sizes. Equipment was also unreliable and maintenance was often very reactive, forcing them to operate in fire-fighting mode.

Image of Quindaro site

Figure 1. Image of Quindaro site

With these challenges in mind, they moved to a new site in 2000 – Nearman, only three miles away, but light years ahead in operations. By implementing Maximo at this site, they were able to operate on only one senior system operator per shift, with a total of 5 covering the whole facility. With a capacity of 36 million gallons of water per day, everything was contained in one building and the site was designed with Maximo and reliability at the forefront. Maintenance moved from reactive to preventive and equipment was able to be maintained more effectively.


Figure 2. At Nearman, BPU was able to cut down on staff size with one senior system operator per shift using Maximo.

For example, at 6 months of run time, Maximo generates a preventive maintenance (PM) work order for electricians to pull oil samples from a large electric motor which are then sent to the lab for analysis. When getting results, BPU can make decision on how to move forward with either corrective maintenance or, if all looks good, letting it continue to run until the next checkpoint. Rather than just doing the oil change once a year as recommended by the manufacturer, they check it every 6 months to see what maintenance is required. This means they are not buying oil just to waste it and the machines are maintained more effectively, leading to longer lifespans.

Maximo is also key in organization of parts. BPU was able to organize a storeroom of spare parts by functional use. They recorded manufacturer, model number, bin number, count, location, created bar code tags, etc in two weeks. This is just one of the pieces of the puzzle that has enabled the organization to become more efficient in their operations.

How can organizations use Maximo

Every asset-intensive industry in the world utilizes Maximo. It fuels 14 of the 20 largest power generation utilities, and 9 of the 18 largest diversified utility companies in the world, just to name a few highlights.

It can help your organization:

  • Reduce unplanned downtime
  • Increase operational efficiency
  • Provide near real-time visibility into asset usage
  • Extend the useful life of equipment
  • Improve return on assets and defer new purchases
  • Unify processes for wide-ranging enterprise asset management functions globally across multiple sites

Learn more about IBM Maximo

  • Read this whitepaper on how to move your organization towards a preventive maintenance model.
  • Launch an interactive demo of Maximo to see how to keep your most critical assets running at optimum efficiency.
  • Read about how SunCoke Energy utilizes Maximo to fuel their customers with coke, coal and power.

Tell us why you choose Maximo

All week long we will be hanging out at MaximoWorld and want to hear from you on why your organization chooses Maximo. Tweet or post with the hashtags #IChooseMaximo and #MaximoWorld.  Share your stories with us! Follow us at @IBMIoT for updates.

References to Kansas City BPU use case used by permission: MaximoWorld by