Independence, Missouri, User Spotlight Water Pollution Control Department—Q&A

Q: What challenges led Independence to implement Cityworks?
A: The Water Pollution Control (WPC) Department previously operated multiple software systems to store information.  This made data management (entry, analysis, and extraction for reporting purposes) very difficult, time-consuming, and prone to errors and oversight.  These multiple software systems lacked capabilities to efficiently and extensively search data.  Work efforts were duplicated as vast amounts of daily work activity and customer service data had to be entered in various systems to satisfy multiple needs.  Maintenance supervisors lacked access to the various software systems, prohibiting them from having real hands-on exposure to their own workloads. At times, this caused unnecessary delays in responding to customer service requests.  Furthermore, it was difficult to ensure that customer service records weren’t “falling through the cracks” as there was no way to track the connection between service requests and work responses.

In addition, WPC was previously challenged by the fact that maintenance activities were not easily related to the spatial location of assets in the field.  Increasing regulatory requirements led to the need for more infrastructure analysis and reporting.

As with other municipal entities, succession management is an issue that WPC will struggle with over the next several years.  A large majority of the institutional knowledge within the organization exists with key management personnel and staff.  As they retire from service, valuable institutional knowledge will also be lost unless there is a good way to capture, store, and leverage that information for future business activities.
Q: How is Cityworks utilized at the City?
A:  Cityworks is used in the Sanitary Sewer & Storm Water Maintenance Divisions of the Water Pollution Control (WPC) Department at the City of Independence, Missouri.  The software is used by WPC to more efficiently respond to citizen calls and requests and to spatially plan, manage, and complete preventative maintenance activities as well as to more efficiently address reactive maintenance needs.  Cityworks Storeroom is used by WPC to track materials and report inventory for financial accountability.

Q: How has Cityworks benefited WPC?
A: Cityworks provides call takers with the ability to better communicate with citizens regarding requests as they relate to the sanitary and storm assets located in the field.  The flexibility of Cityworks allows WPC to refine business processes and workflows as business demands evolve.  WPC compiles multiple reports for various stakeholder entities and Cityworks provides reporting flexibility allowing us to satisfy all their reporting requirements.

Because of Cityworks, WPC is able to keep a better handle on our inventory of materials and reporting is more accurate.  Cityworks has enabled us to keep better records of labor, materials, and equipment for damage claims and cost recovery.  We are also able to track and keep an inventory of our assets for Sanitary & Storm Water.

Q: What future plans does Independence have for Cityworks?
A:  WPC is currently deploying Cityworks Anywhere to allow maintenance workers to directly interact with Cityworks while in the field to increase efficiency and reduce paper-based workflows.  Turning the workload to the crews to document while they are on-site should increase accuracy and allow the supervisors to organize their workload better, making the most of their crew’s time on the job.  In addition, WPC is encouraging other departments within the City to consider migrating to Cityworks so that we may be able to cooperatively implement Cityworks Server.

Q:  What is your overall take on Cityworks and what it has done for your organization?
A:  “Cityworks has modernized the way WPC performs maintenance activities and responds to customer service requests,” said Jim Trimble, Senior Project Manager of Business and Technology Services at Burns & McDonnell (CMMS Consultant for Independence), “setting the stage for future innovations and better ways to serve the citizens of Independence, Missouri.”

Emily Brazeal, Administrative Specialist II of the WPC’s Sewer Maintenance Division at Independence, commented, “WPC has a better customer service program now that we are able to track and monitor the status of service requests/work orders and the knowledge of where our assets are located with all their valuable facts.”

“As we further implement and refine our use of Cityworks,” added Tamara Bennetzen, Administrative Specialist II of the WPC’s Storm Water Division, “we are realizing the many benefits of this comprehensive data management system and it is proving to be an invaluable asset.”

With Tamara Bennetzen, Administrative Specialist II of WPC, Storm Water Division, and Emily Brazeal, Administrative Specialist II of WPC, Sewer Maintenance Division, Independence, Missouri; and Jim Trimble, the City’s CMMS Consultant from Burns & McDonnell, Inc.

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