MAXIMO Fuels Columbia Gas Transmission”s Maintenance Activities: An MRO Software Case Study

Columbia Gas Transmission, an operating company of NiSource, Inc., offers a variety
of competitively priced natural gas transportation and storage services built
on a proven record of superior customer service and customer satisfaction. NiSource
is a holding company with headquarters in Merrillville, Indiana, whose core operating
companies engage in natural gas transmission, storage and distribution as well
as electric generation, transmission and distribution.

On average, Columbia Gas Transmission moves more than 3 billion cubic feet
(Bcf) per day of natural gas through a 12,550-mile pipeline network that covers
Midwestern, Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic States. The natural gas is delivered
to local distribution companies and industrial and commercial customers. Columbia
Gas Transmission owns and operates one of North America’s largest underground
natural gas storage systems and uses depleted natural gas production fields
for reservoirs to store natural gas close to major markets throughout its system.
The company’s vast network of underground storage fields combined with its extensive,
reticulated pipeline system allows Columbia Gas Transmission to be flexible
in meeting unexpected customer demands.

As a company whose product can have far-reaching effects on the environment
and whose employees must maintain the highest safety standards, Columbia Gas
Transmission’s equipment must meet the stringent compliance regulations of both
federal and local government. Regulatory agencies such as OSHA, the Department
of Transportation (DOT) Pipeline Safety and the EPA mandate regular relief valve
inspections, fire extinguisher and eye wash station inspections and the monitoring
of exhaust emissions, to name a few. To ensure successful compliance with all
of these various regulations, Columbia Gas Transmission required an automated
system to track work orders, projects, job plans, and equipment conditions.

After comparing several strategic asset management solutions, Columbia Gas
Transmission selected MRO Software’s MAXIMO® as its
solution for managing and scheduling compliance and maintenance activities.
Using MAXIMO, Columbia Gas Transmission sought to gain an increased understanding
of compliance within its business, and to ensure that all requirements were
being met. The company used MAXIMO to establish several procedures that cover
these issues, allowing employees to easily manage compliance requirements.

“At our company, every employee needs to be responsible for details such as
preventive maintenance and procedure,” said Troy Harlow, senior engineer with
Columbia Gas Transmission. “We use MAXIMO to help our managers determine what
needs to be done, when it needs to be done and who is responsible for it. Prior
to implementing MAXIMO, we used cumbersome forms and various computer applications
to track our regulatory requirements. MAXIMO has enabled us to keep a very close
eye on this very crucial aspect of this business.”

Using MAXIMO, Columbia Gas Transmission decided to automate required DOT tasks
by eliminating manual forms and electronically tracking the work. The company
mandated that these procedures should not be conducted via manual forms. Automating
these procedures gives Columbia Gas Transmission easy access to the backup needed
during audits.

“During a given year, we can have 20 to 30 DOT audits throughout our organization.
Prior to MAXIMO, compiling the data for a DOT audit could take a person a week,”
commented Harlow. “Now MAXIMO helps us compile the necessary information in
just a few hours. Depending on the number of mandated audits, the yearly time
savings can range from 19 to 28 weeks in labor hours alone.”

Columbia Gas Transmission also leverages MAXIMO’s labor module to adhere to
the new Operator Qualification (OQ) regulation — 49 CFR Part 192. The qualification
and training needs of pipeline companies throughout the United States are being
significantly impacted by a regulation enacted by the U.S. Department of Transportation
(DOT), which went into full effect October 28, 2002.

Under the new Operator Qualification (OQ) regulation, operators of gas pipeline
companies must develop and maintain a written qualification program for employees,
contractors, and others who perform specific duties (“covered tasks”) as they
operate and maintain such facilities. The OQ rule was instituted to help ensure
a qualified work force and to reduce the probability and consequences of incidents
due to human error.

“MAXIMO’s labor module helps us adhere to this new regulation,” commented Harlow.
“MAXIMO helps ensure that the technicians performing ‘covered tasks’ such as
valve operation are qualified. MAXIMO tracks the history of each work order
and provides information proving that only qualified operators are completing
these tasks. Based on the day’s work, we also use MAXIMO to efficiently schedule
the qualified operator’s time.”

Columbia Gas Transmission used MAXIMO to implement a standardized company-wide
information system. Using the work order module, users gain instant access to
information (including long descriptions, labor required, and operating procedures)
which notifies the user of regulatory requirements placed on each work order.
Columbia Gas Transmission then compiles a detailed compliance report, which
ensures that all regulatory work is completed correctly, on time, and documented.

The quick and easy access to this information has improved Columbia Gas Transmission’s
facilities’ ability to track regulatory issues and made work management processes
more efficient. The product has also enabled team leaders to elevate their level
of tracking processes onto computers and eliminated the time-consuming procedures
involved in using paper forms.

“We were impressed with MAXIMO’s flexibility,” commented Harlow. “Whenever
a manager discovers another aspect of the business that he or she needs to track,
we are able to plug it into the system without difficulty. Consequently, MAXIMO
has become the warehouse for several required inspections and records within
Columbia Gas Transmission.”

To increase the mobility of its technicians, Columbia Gas Transmission also
deployed the MAXIMO Mobile Suite. Using the mobile technology, technicians monitor,
report, and create work orders on hundreds of miles of lines, substations, and
towers. This technology increases productivity as it brings MAXIMO to the point
of performance. For example, technicians now generate work requests directly
from the field. This mobility eliminates the technician’s travel time and ensures
a quicker resolution to emergencies.

“The MAXIMO Mobile Suite helps support our efforts to eliminate paper work
orders because it provides technicians with the ability to access work orders
and capture performance data remotely and puts information at the their fingertips,”
added Harlow. “This technology also increases the quantity and accuracy of the
regulatory data collected in the field and eliminates duplicate data entry.”

In addition to the MAXIMO labor and work order modules, Columbia Gas Transmission
also uses several additional MAXIMO modules. For example, the preventive maintenance
module outlines the frequency with which certain equipment needs to be serviced.
The module also details which supervisors are charged with the maintenance task
and the specific procedures and standards involved with the upkeep of Columbia
Gas Transmission’s equipment. This interface enables the company to reduce the
overall cost of equipment maintenance by giving supervisors the ability to identify
and address maintenance needs before problems occur.

MAXIMO’s job plan module is described as the repository for the company’s maintenance
procedures. Columbia Gas Transmission uses MAXIMO’s security features, allowing
selected managers to change information in the job plan module. This feature
enables the managers to access updated and reliable information at all times.

“MAXIMO has become our system for nearly all procedures,” said Harlow. “We
currently have 60-70 procedures in our job plan module that are mandated by
the Department of Transportation and our company. MAXIMO gives our department
heads easy access to these procedures. This way there is no confusion and no
excuses for incorrect procedures. In addition, when new employees join our company,
MAXIMO immediately puts all of the rules and regulations at their fingertips.”


• Automate DOT Audits

• Adhere to the new Operator Qualification (OQ) regulation — 49
CFR Part 192

• Increase the mobility of its technicians


• MAXIMO reduced the time needed to compile data for DOT audits from
a week to a few hours, netting a yearly time savings of 19-28 weeks

• Columbia Gas Transmission adheres to the Operator Qualification (OQ)
regulation by using MAXIMO’s labor module to ensure that qualified technicians
perform “covered tasks”

• MAXIMO Mobile Suite eliminates technician’s travel time and duplicate
entry, increases the quantity and accuracy of the regulatory data collected
in the field and ensures a quicker resolution to emergencies