What does IVM mean to you? Through the years I’ve noticed to most people that it means they do something besides tree trimming in their VM program. For instance, if you ask them if they have an IVM program they say “yes, we use herbicide” or “yes, we mow our rights-of-way.” It seems that the acronym means something different to everyone.
To me, Integrated Vegetation Management is a term used to describe utilizing every best practice, tool, and technique available to remedy undesirable conditions. I know the number one thing most vegetation managers think about when talking about reliability or utility line clearance is trimming trees. Come on, admit it, it’s the first thing you think about. It’s because it’s in your face. It’s the most obvious, noticeable, immediate change you see. The linemen you serve are always asking you to trim something or cut it down, but in all reality we are not in the tree trimming business. We are in the energy delivery business. With that simple direct statement you have to ask the analytically honest question of, “Am I serving my company with the very best tools available today?” If the answer is yes, I would say you have an Integrated Vegetation Management approach.
To be sure we are fully integrated we must continuously ask is, “How can I improve our current right-of-way condition?” With regard to that question we must remain diligent to keep from becoming stagnant. New mechanical and chemical technologies enter the market all of the time, producing nearly unlimited options. Without committing to making change, we usually just maintain a status quo.
Optimization of your financial resources will not occur until you achieve a fully integrated threshold. Admittedly, that is different for everyone because every company has limitations with regard to climate, topography, public relations and economics. However, I would like to suggest that if you are only doing one or two things besides tree trimming you have a lot of opportunity available to do more for your company. Becoming fully integrated is something that happens over time and takes a lot of thought, planning, hard work and effort. Not only that, but FIVMP is a continuous manipulation of resources, which means there is no point where you say “we have arrived.” It never ends. FIVMP is a philosophy, and it isn’t shared by many. That’s why we are here; we want to help. Give us a call. Peace — Scott Mackey