Work Optimizations at Sugar Land

The City of Sugar Land, Texas, constructed a new, 22 million-gallon-a-day surface water treatment plant to meet growing demands and comply with local groundwater reduction mandates. This was the first water treatment plant under the City’s ownership, and they recognized the need for a computerized maintenance management system to manage the $69 million facility. CH2M facilitated a collaborative selection process, through which Cityworks was identified as the tool best able to meet both the immediate needs for the treatment plant and the long-term needs of other citywide functions.
 
The goal for the Cityworks implementation was to optimize the operations and maintenance of this new facility, while avoiding information overload for city staff through a user-friendly interface. By following CH2M’s step-wise process, staff were guided through establishing an asset hierarchy, defining what constitutes an asset, developing a preventive maintenance program, and developing standard procedures and business practices. The water treatment plant served as the pilot for citywide implementation, so it was critical to simplify the configuration as much as possible to make it easier for other departments to adopt.
 
The first major challenge was to break down the facility into individual assets, while maintaining the hierarchical relationship needed to “roll-up” asset data for reporting and trending purposes. Through a series of interactive workshops, city staff identified the required relationships between the processes, sub-processes, asset types, and assets to achieve desired reporting outcomes. In order to optimize the user experience and illustrate these relationships, CH2M developed a visual, four-level asset hierarchy. In the map view shown in Figure 1, the individual polygons represent a sub-process, with similar colors correlating at the process level. Showing related assets allows you to select individual assets, categorized by asset type. This allows city staff to use a combination of maps and asset search functions when selecting an asset to work on.
 
CH2M then developed the asset inventory using construction documents as the launching point after defining all the asset types and associated attribute information—filling in any gaps in the inventory by collecting data in the field. The City reviewed the inventory and provided valuable feedback on dynamic information such as vendor representatives, contact information, and warranty information. Establishing a way to track an asset’s warranty status was critical for the City. Capitalizing on the extensive information already available significantly streamlined and simplified the field asset data collection.
 
Based on the City’s inventory and hierarchy, more than 900 water treatment plant assets requiring preventative maintenance were loaded into Cityworks. CH2M reviewed more than 50 vendor-provided Operations & Maintenance (O&M) manuals and worked with city staff to develop more than 500 Preventive Maintenance (PM) work orders with varying tasks, trades required, frequency intervals, etc., based on asset type. To ensure sustainability, CH2M completed a PM leveling analysis prior to loading the work orders into Cityworks (Figure 2). This effort optimized the timing and frequency of work orders by trade, and identified whether additional resources were required. Performing this analysis in a manner that is easy to understand is critical to eliminating any major influx of work and maintaining the sustainability of the system.
 
An easy user experience is essential to ensure long-term use of Cityworks. At Sugar Land, Cityworks was designed as the central information repository for the water treatment plant, and contains linkages to SCADA as well as digital copies of O&M manuals (Figures 3 and 4). CH2M ensured the Cityworks interface presented complex and extensive information in an intuitive manner. With only basic initial training and function-based training reference sheets, city operations and maintenance staff were able to utilize this powerful tool from day one. The project demonstrated success by establishing a formal functional-needs-requirement document, selecting the right software, and helping staff and experienced consultants to work together. Cultural change through effective communication and training were also keys to success. The project was effective because the end was kept in mind from the beginning.
 
By Kathryn Benson, PE, CRMP, Project Manager, CH2M
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