IDS builds its reputation on a strong commitment to providing innovative solutions and exceptional services. At IDS, we trust that our proven solutions are unmatched by our competitors. We believe that results speak louder than words, and therefore, we offer our clients with a guarantee that the results of our solutions are “truly optimal.”
What do you mean by a “truly optimal” long-term infrastructure preservation plan?
An optimal preservation plan optimally allocates investments by defining, on an annual basis, the set of rehabilitation and replacement projects that will maximize network-level condition improvement and minimize risk levels, subject to financial constraints, desired performance targets, and various policies constraints. Preservation plans created by IDS software are Pareto optimum solutions for each year in the planning horizon. These optimal plans represent the trade-off between investment levels and network-level condition and risk measures. Optimality of the created preservation plans assures that:
- Selected projects, on annual basis, result in the maximum system-level condition and minimum risk levels (i.e., optimal performance) under a given investment level; and
- For a required system-level condition or risk target, no other project lists in the feasible set of alternatives would provide better condition or risk level at a lower cost (i.e., optimal cost).
What are the terms of the IDS Guarantee?
We offer 100% money-back guarantee that our solutions generate “truly optimal” and “feasible” system-level multi-year preservation plans under any given scenario. IDS offers its clients a guarantee for full refund of software and services costs if clients (or consultants working for the clients) could show alternative preservation plans (i.e., multi-year project lists) that are “more optimal” (i.e., have better performance or less cost) than the plans recommended by our solutions under any given scenario. Alternative scenarios may be defined to evaluate impact of different investment levels on system performance measures, or to evaluate investment requirements to achieve desired performance objectives (i.e., system-level condition or risk targets). Our guarantee is valid for 12 months after rendering the service or purchasing the software.
What is the significance of IDS software and why defining “truly optimal” long-term network-level preservation plans is a challenge?
Defining optimal long-term preservation plans requires the consideration of multiple objectives (i.e., condition, risk, and cost) and the investigation of possible combinations of infrastructure assets, alternative preservation methods, and timing (i.e., which year) to apply these methods, taking into consideration asset deterioration over time and the dynamic nature of various parameters influencing asset condition and risk factors. To ensure the feasibility of the created plans, a wide range of constraints should also be satisfied including budget allocation/splitting rules, applicability criteria of alternative preservation methods, and rules on estimating lifecycle costs and condition improvements resulting from preservation methods.
The complexity of optimizing long-term preservation plans is primarily attributed to the enormous size and combinatorial nature of the underlying search space and complexity of the objectives and constraints that need to be considered in practical preservation planning scenarios. As a result, computational support for optimizing preservation investments is virtually non-existent in real practice. Therefore, the preservation planning process remains fundamentally subjective and judgmental in nature, and is still largely considered as much an art as it is science. Professionals still rely primarily on their intuition or follow internal heuristic procedures. In some cases, they may use a commercial or in-house software to perform rudimentary incremental benefit-cost (IBC) analysis or multi-criteria decision analysis. However, these methods often result in sub-optimal preservation planning decisions, sometimes termed as “good-enough” solutions. It is typically difficult to quantify the benefits of these “good-enough” solutions or to justify the rationale of the decisions.
Based on several years of extensive R&D, IDS researchers managed to develop revolutionary highly efficient and scalable stochastic search algorithms that can intelligently examine feasible combinations while ensuring convergence to an optimal solution within a reasonable time frame, thus enabling the development of “truly optimal” long-term asset preservation plans for large infrastructure inventories with tens of thousands of assets. Our software has been successfully applied to different asset classes (bridges, roads, water pipes, and sewers) and proved to be a viable solution to a long-standing problem.
What other software in the market today that can also create “optimal” asset preservation plans?
To our knowledge, none! We do not know of any other software in the market today that can assure the generation of optimal network-level long-term preservation plans under a realistic set of constraints and performance objectives. The competitors’ software we are aware of typically use simple techniques such as classical incremental benefit-cost analysis, multi-criteria decision analysis, decision trees, or similar heuristic methods. Some research reported in the literature have used mathematical optimization techniques, such as integer programming or dynamic programming, however, they have often been applied to small or unrealistic problems. IDS offers the only practical software solutions for developing “truly optimal” long-term network-level preservation plans, while enabling asset managers to explicitly define objectives and constraints, quantitativelyassess the consequences of preservation policies and constraints, and optimally allocate investments where mostly needed.
Why IDS is offering this guarantee?
We are able to provide our clients with this guarantee, which is unprecedented in the industry, simply because we are confident that our solutions are truly unique and unmatched in the industry. You no longer have to settle for using solutions that can, at best, provide “good-enough” (but sub-optimal) preservation plans. We offer a no-risk guarantee for using our solutions and services: you either get “truly optimal” long-term network-level preservation plans or you get your money back!