Home | Brand Insights | Advertorial | It’s in the pipes: The waste problem facing unis

It’s in the pipes: The waste problem facing unis

Sewerage pipes.

It’s not the first thing you would think of as a concern for universities. It’s probably not even the tenth.

Yet when a gathering of university professionals convened for a series of technology user groups, the topic emerged as unexpectedly crucial.

After periods of empty classrooms and underutilised student accommodation during Covid, and even after the gradual return of students to campus (albeit fewer thanks to the new hybrid-learning approach), there was uncertainty on whether campus sewerage pipes would be able to handle the influx of students. There was further concern about how long the pipes could last before requiring a financial injection, and where this money would come from in a time when budgets are tighter than ever.

The reality is that higher education providers must prioritise campus sewerage and pipes in their asset management and maintenance strategies due to the critical role they play in supporting daily operations and ensuring the wellbeing of campus communities.

Residential facilities, research laboratories and administrative buildings all rely heavily on these systems and any disruption or failure can lead to significant operational downtime, inconvenience for students and staff and potential health risks.

Managing campus sewerage and pipes requires regular inspections, preventative maintenance and timely repairs to mitigate the risk of leaks, blockages or other malfunctions. In a data driven world, and a time when every single dollar is needed, an asset management solution that can connect all asset data and proactively manage and schedule maintenance can minimise the likelihood of costly emergency repairs and uphold the longevity of infrastructure assets.

While the focus here is on sewerage and pipes, the above applies to all assets across a university. Effective asset management plays a pivotal role for higher education in optimising resource utilisation, meeting legislative and regulatory compliance requirements, supporting planning and budgeting and managing risk.

Here are five tips for higher education providers to improve their asset management:

1. Find an asset management solution that seamlessly integrates with your systems (including finance, HR and student management)

Integrated solutions like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software for universities provide accurate, consolidated data across the organisation. This single source of truth helps universities to reduce operational costs, advocate for new capital investments, and optimise facility management to maximise return on investment. It also ensures student and staff satisfaction is prioritised through these systems.

When integrated with your existing systems, it can enable greater efficiencies. For example, an asset register that utilises spatial information visualises assets in an easier way, enabling field staff and contractors to quickly locate and address problems. Integrated apps to record work completed on-the-go is also an added benefit.

2. Plans based on high-quality data ensure facilities are adequately funded and services efficiently provided

For a university’s facilities to keep up with the rapid changes in programs and technologies driving student demand and growth, a provider needs a technology solution that can assist in making informed investment decisions.

Strategic asset management software should enable higher education providers to be able to predict long-term asset costs, prioritise building projects, and use best practice modelling to plan capital works based on different financial scenarios. In this way, organisations can make informed, evidence-based asset-investment decisions to strategise smarter and fulfil long-term objectives.

3. Have an integrated asset register

An integrated asset register allows universities to classify and accurately monitor all types of buildings, equipment, utilities, and green spaces. Having full visibility into the cost and performance of every asset, combined with sophisticated management and cost analysis tools, allows for optimisation of availability, reduction of wear and tear, and easy identification of how assets can be used to address new challenges or generate future revenue streams.

4. Offer self-service to students and staff so they can flag facilities management issues and get feedback

An asset management solution with self-service access streamlines processes, allowing for real-time updates and maintenance requests and enhancing the responsiveness of asset management teams. By facilitating immediate reporting of issues or needs, universities can quickly assign work orders and ensure timely maintenance or repairs, minimising downtime.

Self-service tools also promote transparency and accountability, with staff and students able to track the status of their requests leading to a more efficient, engaged and proactive university community.

5. Use smart tools that do the hard work

Choose software that gives you a clear picture of costs associated with developing capital projects including maintenance, renewal and operation of assets over their entire lifecycle as well as space utilisation.

For accurate insights, facilities management costs need to align seamlessly with supply chain management transactions such as inventory, purchasing and contractor activities, and feed into overarching financial planning tools.

TechnologyOne's market leading Enterprise Asset Management solution, when embedded and integrated with other business functions, makes managing assets simple with streamlined processes and the ability to operate more efficiently through end-to-end management of university operations. Through a single source of truth, universities can evaluate asset condition, performance, risk factors, as well as prioritise maintenance and renewal activity, which in turn can extend asset life and reduce costs for universities. 

Through TechnologyOne’s unique all-inclusive Solution as a Service (SaaS Plus) offering, universities can achieve significant cost savings with a single yearly fee covering all costs associated with implementing, running, supporting and upgrading the solution, and swift implementation providing lightning-fast time to value.

Don't let your infrastructure hinder academic excellence. Visit here for more information.

Do you have an idea for a story?
Email [email protected]

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the top stories in our weekly newsletter Sign up now

To continue onto Campus Review, please select your institution.