Kiwi Asset Managers Win Global Acclaim From Visiting Expert

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A visiting international expert is applauding New Zealand engineers for their guardianship of our water and roading infrastructure.

IDS New Zealand
Deighton is one of the global leaders in asset management software.

A visiting international expert is applauding New Zealand engineers for their guardianship of our water and roading infrastructure.

Vicki Deighton, CEO of Canadian software giant, Deighton Associates Ltd was in Auckland last week for discussions with Auckland Transport.

She was keen to point out that New Zealand’s transportation industry is often referred to as a leader and innovator in Asset Management globally. “The philosophy processes and rigour applied in the manner in which New Zealanders manage their transportation assets is at the forefront of what managers worldwide are striving to emulate,” commented Ms Deighton.

Dr Theuns Henning from IDS (a not for profit organisation set up by the engineering industry), was hosting Ms Deighton.

“Deighton is one of the global leaders in asset management software and for New Zealand to be held up as a best practice example is something we should be very proud of,” he says.

Deighton Associates software dTIMS has played an important part in the Christchurch rebuild and this case study has been cited as a global blueprint for infrastructure management strategy.

“Having visited Christchurch personally in between the two big quakes I feel extremely proud that our software is being used to help in the rebuild and I have been keeping an eye on the progress,” says Ms Deighton.

“Local government should undertake a guardianship role to manage our water and roading infrastructure for future generations. If we don’t invest in maintaining that infrastructure now it is our children and grandchildren who will pay the price. That is much easier said than done as councils are dealing with shrinking budgets and have to make difficult and often unpopular choices – short term pain for long term gain. This crucial work goes largely under the radar and I hope that Vicki’s visit to New Zealand will highlight some of the prudent decision making which has taken place here in recent years,” says Dr Henning.

A case study carried out by IDS estimates that councils who have an effective long term plan for management of their asset infrastructure can save rate payers as much as 15 to 20% on the maintenance of roads or water infrastructure.

Dr Henning cites updated NZ legislation introduced in September 2014 as one of the catalysts for local government decision makers becoming more proactive. The legislation, championed by Treasury’s National Infrastructure Unit, means in layman’s terms that councils now have to maintain a 30 year asset management plan.

Dr Henning adds; “We all want to know that the assets we own as rate payers are being managed properly not run into the ground. Responsible home owners carry out regular maintenance on their properties to ensure they sustain their value long term –it’s really no different with water and roading.”

During her visit Ms Deighton met with the recipient of the Deighton PhD Chair for Advance Learning in Asset Management, awarded to Lin Chen.

Dr. Henning who is a part time lecturer at Auckland University’s School of Engineering, handpicked Ms Chen for the three year PhD research because of her previous study in this area and her outstanding academic record.

Ms. Chen, a Chinese national is no stranger to competition. The 28 yr old arrived in New Zealand courtesy of a Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC), grant awarded by the Chinese Government. She was one of 2000 applicants vying for the 200 places.

Prior to receiving the Chinese grant, she had never left her home region of Xian. The Deighton grant has allowed her to carry out research in the USA, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany and France. Most of her time away from New Zealand has been spent working with the Deighton research team in Toronto, Canada where she has contributed her learning about New Zealand’s asset management infrastructure.

The PhD student was nervous but also very excited about meeting her benefactor to report back on the progress of her research. The work that Vicki and her team are doing is incredible and it is fantastic to feel like I am contributing to global research based on what I am learning in NZ and that our findings will make a real difference to people in the future,” says Lin Chen.

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