24 November 2021 | Innovation | BY: XAIS Asset Management Ltd

New XA© module empowers quicker and smarter decisions

XAIS Asset Management has introduced an innovative module in its XA© Asset Management platform that allows users to track a live programme of works in one central integrated location.  

Scheme Assembler centralises the building, updating and tracking of schemes in XA© – transforming efficiency, transparency and accountability in local authorities.

XA© users can create and manage schemes in detail through multiple stages – from design, building up a bill of quantities, tendering, award and completion. Each scheme has its own digital document repository where users can store all important information and files – such as as-built-drawings and site inspections.

Seamless integration

All schemes are automatically linked to relevant network and asset data already held within the XA© system and, can be easily altered or updated if real-life circumstances necessitate fluctuations in budget or priorities.

Importantly, users can quickly create an extensive range of reports and export scheme data out of the system at any time – this might be creating design shapefiles for contractors for example or providing a breakdown of scheme investment in different wards across an authority.

Efficient, transparent and secure

This centralised and integrated oversight is extremely powerful.

It transforms efficiency by eliminating the need to run multiple systems or spreadsheets which can very quickly become outdated and be cumbersome to manage.

It increases transparency by becoming a one-stop-shop so that, if something goes wrong or if there is a query about a scheme, the answers can be found quickly.

It improves the integrity, accuracy and security of data by reducing the need for manual intervention which has traditionally opened up potential for errors as data is copied across manually from one spreadsheet or system to the other.

Teams can also be much more responsive to changes in circumstances, quickly identifying the impact of changing the timing of – or investment in – a particular scheme.

With clear budget tracking and visualisation of all scheme costs, managers are empowered with clarity and detail about the schemes on their network.

Making an impact

Commenting on the new module, Jo Heynes – Asset and Records Manager at Essex Highways – said: “Scheme Assembler is a fantastic addition to the XA© platform. It gives us the ability to centralise scheme management, visualise the true scope of planned activity and expenditure plus quickly understand the impact of adapting timings or investment. Powerful intelligence at our fingertips at a time when we need to react faster than ever.”

Intelligent innovation

Scheme Assembler has been built from the ground up as a completely new module within the XA© platform by the XAIS Asset Management team.

The original version of XA© gave users the ability to create a static list of schemes as a useful reference point but, through a combination of industry experience and user feedback, the team identified an opportunity to make data work harder and enable local authority teams to work smarter.

The project team leading the development of Scheme Assembler wanted to extend the powerful capabilities of XA© still further by creating a dynamic approach to scheme management that could manage multiple live scheme lists, that could track schemes through every stage of their existence and that integrated with data already held elsewhere in XA©.

This demanded an intelligent and innovative design process to ensure that all potential attributes of a scheme were identified and could be easily captured within Scheme Assembler.

At the same time, the team had to allow for a variety of scheme input methods, including:

  • Creating new schemes where users had already modelled their assets via the XA© Asset Management platform.
  • Inputting data for schemes that are already in existence but not linked to the XA© Asset Management platform.
  • Creating schemes for assets not modelled in XA© – e.g. development management projects.
  • With a wide variety of potential schemes, document types and input methods the development team faced a real challenge around holding and displaying information consistently.

In order to allow data to be useful across different types of schemes and assets they had to think hard about what is the minimum that needs to be compulsory to allow one scheme to be spatially referenced and compared against another.

Through rigorous testing the team identified the most intelligent ways to structure and hold data.

Environmental benefits

Scheme Assembler was designed to provide a simple approach to scheme management in one place within an intelligent asset management platform.

With the click of a button users can combine, view, update and compare schemes using a wide variety of attributes.

This brings incredible efficiencies to the way that local authority teams can work.

Part of this efficiency comes from the ability to quickly and easily spot opportunities to merge schemes that might have originally been planned to take place in different years.

By merging schemes local authorities can unlock financial gains and there are linked environmental benefits too as site movements can be minimised, heavy equipment is only required on one project and traffic management can be kept to a minimum – so a reduction in emissions from vehicles that are sat still at traffic lights for example.

Moreover, the development roadmap for Scheme Assembler also includes building in an ability to track carbon content for specific treatments and schemes.

Just as the current module allows local authority teams to cost schemes, the plan is that, with the click of a button, users will be able to visualise and prioritise lists of schemes by their carbon usage, therefore creating a scheme list that minimises carbon expenditure, allowing road maintenance to contribute actively to a local authority’s carbon action plan.

Empowering quicker and smarter decisions

In summary, Scheme Assembler is an innovative asset management tool that centralises the building, updating and tracking of schemes – seamlessly linking a live programme of works to wider network and asset data on one digital platform.

This allows engineers to keep track of current maintenance as well as view the data and decisions that were driving the scheme in the first place.

Currently tracking 6,625 schemes across 10 local authorities, it enables dramatic improvements in efficiency, transparency and accountability in local authorities – creating opportunities for quicker and smarter decision making.