Work in the Field
Recently, St. Cloud adopted unique mobile initiatives for Cityworks using Sprint 3G. This solution for tracking work in the field, from creation to resolution, has elevated their field processes through paper elimination and time savings, and it has provided increased quality of customer service.
“Initially, we were using paper service request and work orders,” said city CMMS/GIS analyst, Katrina Robles. “Crew leads would print and hand out the day’s assignments to the field staff. If calls came in during the day, all of this was done via phone and paper. Resolutions would be written on paper and customers would frequently call back before the resolution was entered into the computer, resulting in the call taker having to call the lead to verify the outcome.”
Now, with Cityworks run on Dell semi-rugged laptops with Sprint 3G air-cards, St. Cloud’s field work has been transformed from time-consuming and cumbersome to quick and efficient.
Robles continued, “Since we put laptops in the trucks, our field technicians are entering the resolution of work into Cityworks right when they finish their investigation. The call taker can see this in real-time so that, when a customer calls to see if the situation is resolved, they have an actual answer, even if the work has been dispatched but not yet completed. Initially it was thought that some of the field technicians may have difficulty using the new approach. However, they made a smooth transition away from paper and have taken very well to Cityworks. Being a municipality, paper often becomes a matter of public record that we are required to store. Cityworks allows us to use less paper and storage space.”
The new field solution has provided many benefits beyond moving to a paperless environment. “We have increased our quality of customer service,” stated Ms. Robles. “We have also eased crew leads’ burden of entering resolutions and creating work orders. That is now done on the technician level, while still in the field. The lead reviews each item before closing, saving a great amount of time while still staying in-the-know of all that is going on in the field.”
An Expanding Platform
In January 2013, St. Cloud upgraded to Cityworks 2012.1 sp2 and Esri’s ArcGIS 10.1. Currently, Cityworks is being used in the Public Services department by environmental utilities (lines maintenance, backflow and hydrants, and some use by lift stations), traffic, streets, stormwater, and engineering (primarily for pond and driveway inspections).
“We are making efforts to leverage software that we already own, and make sure that any new software purchases are compatible with Cityworks, as it has become our enterprise platform. We will soon be implementing CIS Infinity software for billing because of the existing interface with Cityworks.”
St. Cloud is currently working with Woolpert to expand use of Cityworks throughout the Public Services department. Beginning with formalizing levels of service, KPI’s, and reporting strategies, they are also adding additional Cityworks users, as well as requiring deeper usage of the program from their field technicians. The next group up and running will be Lift Stations, followed by Treatment Plants and CCTV. In addition, the Planning and Building departments are in the process of acquiring funds to implement Server PLL. The Public Services department intends to utilize Server PLL for their own purposes once the implementation has begun.