By Kevon Storie
For data to be a strategic asset—a target area of WAPA’s Tactical Action Plan—it needs to be stored and managed in a way that maximizes consistency, accuracy and availability for different applications. This is especially true of a record-keeping system as widely used as the Facility Identification, or FID, code. In 2019, a multidisciplinary team was formed for the FID Code Renovation, tasked with establishing WAPA-wide processes and tools for ensuring that the management of FIDs meets the highest standard.
Code used everywhere
It takes a lot of equipment and structures to deliver reliable, affordable power across a vast territory and a robust system to keep track of those assets. From WAPA’s beginning, FID codes have provided business units with a way to identify and locate assets for numerous purposes.
“Finance, Lands and Drawings adopted the Bureau of Reclamation coding system for large ticket items,” explained Project Manager Rudy Apodaca. “All other current FID uses are add-ons from the original.”
FIDs are now referenced in engineering drawings and maps; used to locate key assets such as transmission lines, breakers and transformers; and used by Finance to collect cost and depreciation information on fixed assets.
The coding system is also commonly used across the utility industry, so having a more strategic approach to FID management is essential for avoiding duplication when coordinating operations with neighboring utilities.
Because each department manages its own FID list, anomalies and errors crept into the system through inconsistencies in the way codes were formatted or entered between enterprise applications.
For example, multiple transmission structures shared an identical FID, while others had no code assigned at all. These inconsistencies have created more work in reporting and led to inaccuracies in critical safety calculations.
The FID Renovation seeks to address these issues by creating a process for maintaining and sharing data that integrates the needs and applications of users throughout WAPA.
The updated format will be replicable, transferrable, scalable, accurate and consistent and allow for timely data input and output and reporting access among all applications that use FIDs. The final tool must not degrade or disrupt historical detail and will allow business units to keep their own staff and processes. The project team completed the initial phase of analyzing alternatives earlier this year.
The first task in phase one was to establish a formal definition of FID.
“The original data requirements and naming conventions haven’t always fit with the attributes we’ve added over 40-plus years,” Apodaca said. “Also, different record-keeping systems had their own unique codes for some assets.”
The FID code is now defined as a designator for a geographical location or area tied to a WAPA interest: financial, operational, maintenance or data collections. It applies exclusively to power system facilities and is the system of record for those facilities.
It was also necessary to identify one WAPA business unit to take ownership of FID management, once the processes and tools have been set up.
“Many of the problems with FID arose from the scattered approach to managing it,” Apodaca explained. “Putting the system under one business unit will protect the integrity of the process and, along with it, the data.”
The FID Renovation team completed its alternative analysis in June and submitted a plan to bring the FID system into the 21st century.
Their proposed solution draws on WAPA IT expertise to develop a streamlined, consistent management process that will deliver new functionality incrementally.
“It’s easier for the business to handle process and technology changes in incremental steps,” noted Apodaca. “The incremental approach will realize value quickly while maintaining the flexibility to continue improvement over time.”
Leveraging internal resources will also enable WAPA to further automate the FID system and incorporate artificial intelligence and other technologies at less risk and cost.
As the team moves forward to the detailed design and planning phase, the project will focus on technical details and technical resources. The second phase will define platform, data and network; designate the business unit in the operation and maintenance role; and establish the precise workflows and quality checks.
Note: Storie is a technical writer who works under the Wyandotte Services contract.