Agency 24: Transportation & Raw Materials
NOTE: The names and purposes of some agencies have been revised, but not all website content has been updated to reflect these latest changes. We are working to get the names and explanatory content updated, but in the meantime you may see some inconsistencies.
The twenty-fourth agency in the community is the Equipment Agency. This agency’s primary objective is providing equipment that stewards need to work. The agency buys and develops these assets and coordinates with other agencies to lease the assets.
In the community’s context, the term “asset” excludes land, housing, and public facilities, which are managed by separate agencies. This Equipment Agency is part of the Urban Planning Bureau, which also includes the Public Facilities and Land and Housing Agencies, and whose main objective is providing the community’s physical infrastructure and planning its use and development optimally.
The Asset Management Agency performs most of its participant interactions through an automated system. The system forms the main point of interaction between the agency and participants. As part of their role to interface with the Urban Planning Department, the village presidents may also interact with participants, in instances where the automated system is unable to adequately resolve participants’ needs. The village presidents then advise the agency president on how the system can be improved to better meet participants’ expectations. In some instances, the agency may hire services to carry out some of the roles that cannot be automated. The agency proposes a budget for this, which is approved by the board of trustees.
As the figure below shows, the community has exact designated areas for agriculture, industry, residence and business, and public facilities. The three agencies in the Urban Planning Department, including the Asset Management Agency, use this pattern in developing the various physical installations.
Figure 1: the NewVistas plan for the community buildings, based on Joseph Smith’s Plat of Zion document, June 1833
To achieve its objective, the Asset Management Agency performs a number of roles, either independently (core responsibilities) or in coordination with other agencies (coordinated responsibilities).
The Asset Management Agency’s core responsibilities are:
- Development of residential, commercial, and industrial premises
- Procurement of equipment
- Maintenance of equipment and housing
Development of premises
The Asset Management Agency spearheads real-estate development in the community. The community surveys the land earmarked for development and, using the NewVistas plan, facilitates its development. The agency contracts the different professionals needed for this, such as land economists, architects, and engineers, among others. The agency funds the developments through loans advanced by the Commercial Bank Agency. Contractors file regular progress updates through a special online portal, which is available for review by the community’s participants. In addition, village presidents physically monitor the development and advise both the contractors and the agency president on any issues.
Procurement of equipment
The Asset Management Agency procures equipment on behalf of the community. The agency conducts all phases of the procurement process, from need recognition to request for funds and requesting quotations. The need-recognition process is automated, with the feedback received from participants and village presidents through the system being analyzed to identify what needs to be acquired. The agency is also mandated to test equipment to ensure it is fit for purpose and well-aligned with the community’s policies on the environment, as well as social and economic sustainability. The agency then makes the decision on what to buy. The agency’s automated system guides the entire process, including vetting and recommending suppliers. The agency may source for equipment within or outside the community.
Maintenance of equipment and buildings
The Asset Management Agency monitors the conditions of community facilities and organizes for maintenance as need be. The agency encourages participants and village presidents to provide regular feedback on the usability of equipment and housing. This feedback is then processed by the system’s algorithms, giving the agency a good idea of what needs to be maintained, and the associated costs. The system vets its panel of different contractors who are engaged by the agency for maintenance and invites bids. The agency president then selects who is to carry out the maintenance. The village presidents may physically monitor ongoing maintenance and file their findings in the system for review by the agency president, as well as the contractors.
The Asset Management Agency coordinates with other agencies in the community as it aims to achieve its objective of providing quality living and working spaces and equipment to the participants. This coordination is in three dimensions:
- Horizontal coordination, with other agencies in the Urban Planning Department
- Vertical coordination, with other agencies in the General Community Support Vertical
- Diagonal coordination, with other agencies outside the department and vertical
The Asset Management Agency coordinates with Agency 23 – the Land Management Agency during the planning stage for the development of housing. The Asset Management Agency receives information, through its contractors, on the best building methods based on the type of soil and terrain, among other considerations. The Asset Management Agency coordinates with Agency 22 – the Public Facilities Agency during the implementation of the NewVistas plan, so that public facilities development can be aligned with housing, in consideration of local issues such as terrain and the exact nature of public facilities, which are best suited to community needs, among other considerations.
The Asset Management Agency coordinates with Agency 9 – the Commercial Bank for the provision of funds needed to procure and develop assets. The bank advances 80% of the funds required, with approval from the board of trustees. The Commercial Bank Agency thereafter liaises with the Asset Management Agency on repayments. The Asset Management Agency liaises with Agency 18 – the QHSE Agency in the development and procurement of assets, to ensure that they conform with environmental and safety standards. The QHSE Agency carries out reviews before, during, and after installation of assets and provides continued support during the process. The Asset Management Agency liaises with Agency 3 – the Leasing Agency in the management of assets. Completed assets are handed over to the Leasing Agency for renting out. The Leasing Agency then collects rents, which are forwarded to the Commercial Bank Agency for loan repayments. The Leasing Agency also provides information on maintenance to the Asset Management Agency, for further action.
The Assets Management Agency raises 20% of the funds it needs for asset acquisition or development (down payments) from Agency 7 – the Capital Fund Agency. The two agencies thereafter coordinate, as is the case with the Commercial Bank, on repayment. The Asset Management Agency coordinates with Agency 2 – the Stewardships Agency to facilitate participants’ access to business premises. The Asset Management Agency provides information and advice on the most appropriate locations for particular businesses. The Asset Management Agency liaises with Agency 1 – the Human Relations Agency during recruitment, for advice on what new or potential participants need in terms of equipment and space. The Asset Management Agency incorporates this information as it acquires and develops assets. The Asset Management Agency coordinates with the Stewardships Agency to encourage participants to provide services to the community before the Asset Management Agency looks elsewhere. The agency also encourages the manufacturing of equipment required within the community by participants themselves, before they are sourced outside the community.
The Asset Management Agency is the building and equipment manager in the community. It seeks to adopt technologies that produce superior living and working experiences for the participants, understanding the positive impact this has on their social and economic wellbeing, as well as on the environment. The agency closely follows the NewVistas plat, which aims to curtail rural and urban sprawl, a major contributor to environmental degradation, inequality in housing, and, ultimately, a major threat to sustainable communities.
 Public housing has been experimented in several countries, with some success. One of the major advantages of such housing is that it is cheaper, since, while the public body is still interested in income, it is not only driven by cost and a shorter period to breakeven. Public housing has also succeeded in creating mixed-income neighborhoods, rather than residential areas segregated based on economic ability, among other social markers. Public housing enables even those who have less economic ability to access quality housing, as opposed to private-owned housing (Eerola, E. and T. Saarimaa. Who Benefits from Public Housing? Discussion Paper. Helsinki: bank of Finland, 2015).
 The real estate industry has slowly moved to smart real estate (SRE) management, whereby the property managers use automated tools to better track their property, and troubleshoot issues faster. One of the most important aspects of SRE is its focus on the user (user centeredness). Another is its ability to be improved as new technologies come up, as opposed to traditional methods. These two attributes will be important as the community seeks to automate its processes and services to participants (Ullah, F., C. Wang and S. Sepasgozar. “A Systematic Review of Smart Real Estate Technology: Drivers of, and Barriers to, the Use of Digital Disruptive Technologies and Online Platforms.” Sustainability 10.9 (2018): 1-44)
 According to the NewVistas Foundation, the plan offers communities the chance to live in a setting that is healthy, environmental-friendly, and which affords them grater chances of social and economic prosperity. The plan is also scalable and applicable everywhere – regardless of terrain and other barriers. This will allow the Asset Management Agency to carry out development in the same way, without having to make local adjustments to suit issues (NewVistas. the worlds bigest mansion. n.d. 20 07 2019)
 As much as possible, development should involve the community. This gives the developers a better idea of how their development can positively affect the community. While the NewVistas plan is not expected to be modified to fit specific or personal preferences, the community nonetheless needs to understand how particular developments will improve their lot (Community-Wealth. Policy Brief: Real Estate Development that Builds Place and Stimulates Economic Revitalization. n.d. 20 07 2019)
 Procurement is a vital operation in any organization. There are huge amounts of money involved, and the procured equipment will need to match expectations. E-procurement has been found to streamline the procurement process, resulting in lower costs, and better decision making. By pursuing e-procurement, the Asset Management Agency will realize a better value for its money, than if the process was manual (Nawi, M, et al. “E-Procurement in Malaysian Construction Industry: Benefits and Challenges in Implementation.” Intrernational Journal of Supply Chain Management 6.1 (2017): 209-213).
 Automated maintenance has several advantages. It is easier to schedule regular preventive maintenance exercises, where the maintenance team monitors machines and prevents costly breakdowns. Automation also enhances management of work orders, and the spare parts inventory. It is therefore unlikely that machines will stop working due to unavailability, on short notice, of a part. The bottom-line in all this is that automation will enhance productivity and eliminate wasted person-hours and money (DPSI. 10 Advantages of Using Computerized Maintenance Management Software. 2019. 19 07 2019).
 Real estate development has to ponder some serious challenges it poses to human health and safety, as well as environmental conservation. Some of these issues include the need to develop new housing within already existing neighborhoods, reducing social exclusion, and improved public transport. Additionally, pollution needs to be reduced to make the developments sustainable. The Asset Management Agency’s cooperation with QHSE, and close attention to the NewVistas plan will help overcome these challenges (Apanavičienė, R, et al. “Sustainability Aspects of Real Estate Development: Lithuanian Case Study of Sports and Entertainment Arenas q.” Sustainability 7 (2015): 6497-6522).
 While the community will endeavor to freely trade with the outside world, it will nonetheless try to produce what it can in an economically viable way. The community will seek to increase its capacity to provide for its needs as much as possible, only seeking external supplies where they are cheaper, of higher quality, or impossible to be produces locally. Self-sufficiency helps improve economic growth by creating more employment, and strengthens an entity’s independence (economic and social) (Deval, J. “Free Trade or Self-Sufficiency?” School of Economic Science Justice and Equity Conference 2010. London: School of Economic Science, 2010. online publication)
 Building technologies have helped cut the time in which houses are built. Through these technologies, efficiency has been improved, as well as the uniformity of quality in finished units. Automated building tools have enabled better decision-making, and the sharing of information across different projects and forums. The community will benefit from this, especially the uniformity of housing, which will further entrench the equitableness envisaged in founding the system (Kurdinger, S. The Impact of Technology on Construction of Buildings. 12 11 2013. 19 07 2019).