US Bureau of Reclamation Improves Document Management and Prepares for IIoT

At an ARC Forum, Gary McDanel, Manager, Information Management Group, US Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), presented “Maintain Asset Data Integrity and Reap the Benefits of the ‘Internet of Things.’” The US Bureau of Reclamation manages water in the western US under the 1902 Reclamation Act because, according to Mr. McDanel, “Water makes dirt valuable.”  In this role, it is the largest water wholesaler and second largest electric power producer in the US.  In the 17 states, it manages 600 dams, reservoirs and canals; and 53 hydro power plants that bring water to 31 million people.

US Bureau of Reclamation Supports the 17 Western StatesBOR has 10 million drawings and 9,000 employees in the 17 western states. The asset replacement cycle typically takes 50 years.  An extreme example is Hoover Dam which has a life expectancy of 300 to 500 years based on how long it is anticipated for the lake to fill with sediment.  The dam itself is designed for thousands of years.  The Bureau manages documents for the life of these assets.

Document Management

BOR had documents scattered in multiple locations with no version control and independent edits. The first attempt at a document management system failed due to changing technologies and suppliers that disappeared.  The second approach, using BlueCielo ECM, was successful.

A broad number of internal groups and external organizations use the BOR’s documents. A key objective for the new system included version control (to help ensure one current version) and governance (to manage read and write privileges).  Also, the system needs to comply with Department of Interior’s policy to consolidate and centralize document management.  BOR selected BlueCielo ECM for the project based on its ability to meet these and other needs.

Following implementation, every night, servers in 16 locations now sync-up with the central server. With just 18 months since implementation, the system now houses two million documents.

US Bureau of Reclamation Improves Document Management and Prepares for IIoTLessons Learned

Getting user buy-in required onsite training in each of the satellite offices by a core team of experts with deep knowledge of the application and its deployment. These experts could respond to local issues while still maintaining consistency where needed across the locations.  Though costly, this approach was effective.  A previous attempt, using a “train the trainer” approach failed due to lack of knowledge and consistency.

Mr. McDanel shared the following lessons learned:

  • Include the end users in building requirements and system roll-out.
  • Acceptance of a project is directly related to the quality of the training.
  • Address issues raised by users quickly. In a networked world, bad news travels fast, and one person can create a lot of pushback. Also, enable the leading satisfied users to become local supporters and advocates.

Future plans include:

  • Integrate the BlueCielo ECM solution with the IBM Maximo EAM system to provide real-time access to current drawings for maintenance planning, execution, and safety.
  • With 80 percent of drawings remaining on paper, continue migration to digital.
  • Using IIoT, have a predictive maintenance program for the equipment with automatic generation of work orders in the EAM system.

Good documentation management provides a foundation to help assure the high data quality needed to support IIoT initiatives.

A video recording of Mr. McDanel’s Forum presentation is available here.