It Takes a Village: Using an Enterprise-Wide Approach in AMS Implementation

By Doug Ritter, GISP, Ritter GIS

The Village of Arlington Heights is a progressive and vibrant community nestled in the outskirts of Chicago. But don’t let the classification of “village” fool you—with a population of more than 75,000 and growing, Arlington Heights is the largest village in the U.S.

When Arlington Heights decided to overhaul their asset management system (AMS), they took an enterprise-wide approach. Although the village had ArcGIS information, their existing AMS didn’t connect with the data. Department administrators needed to be sure their replacement work management platform could integrate new workflows and expand to other departments while still being cost effective.

In January 2017, the village partnered with Ritter GIS, Inc. to implement Cityworks AMS for the public works and engineering departments. The village committed to an aggressive six-month implementation, and they created a project leadership team that worked closely with Ritter GIS every step of the way.

The team scheduled biweekly meetings with Ritter GIS to conduct interviews, compile existing records, and talk through process changes. The public works department provided unlimited access to conference rooms, facilities, and all available resources to ensure success during each onsite session. Perhaps most importantly, at least one member of the Arlington Heights leadership team was present at every meeting to solidify desired outcomes.

EASING THE (WORK) FLOW

Each spring, the Arlington Heights water distribution team dedicates two weeks to inspecting, flushing, and maintaining more than 4,200 hydrants across the village. At the first Cityworks implementation meeting, this group quickly realized that leveraging Cityworks and mobile devices would greatly increase efficiency in the hydrant flushing process.

“Before Cityworks, our staff had to complete hydrant inspection forms on paper,” said Steve Mullany, public works services coordinator at Arlington Heights. “Now the supervisor can see the progress of the crews every morning and what items need to be repaired right off the inspection list.”

In order to make this happen, the team built a customized hydrant inspection form to incorporate all the necessary points of inspection. Each crew member is now equipped with an iPad and unique login to use in the field. Once an inspection is complete, the hydrant disappears from the mobile view, eliminating any overlap with crews on offsetting shifts. The crew also submits notes and photographs to help the foreman determine appropriate repairs.

Once repairs are identified, the team can create work orders and assign them to the appropriate crew. Every inspection and repair is automatically associated with the GIS asset, creating a system of record for historical data such as inspector name, inspection date, and all observation results. The team also uses Crystal Reports to automate the gallons-per-minute calculation for each hydrant and compare the data with previous years.

RESULTS SPEAK VOLUMES

Arlington Heights didn’t stop there. During implementation, every public works division participated in the meetings and trainings. Together, the team collected and documented several hundred artifacts for existing practices and developed new workflows. Ultimately, this enterprise-level commitment allowed the village to realize the full potential of Cityworks AMS.

In nine months of activity since implementation, the village processed more than 7,000 service requests, 10,000 work orders, and 6,000 inspections. Each of these has been routed to the appropriate resource through 800 customized templates and workflows.

Initially, the village projected 90 Cityworks users, but that number has since grown to 160. The village Cityworks team consistently applies their knowledge to every aspect of daily operations with the goal of integrating additional capabilities.

“Cityworks has expanded beyond the eight public works divisions to all other village departments,” Mullany explained. “From police and fire to the senior center and health department, everyone is using Cityworks in some way.”

ALL ABOARD

Today, more than thirteen divisions are using Cityworks and ArcGIS to streamline their work. Here are a few highlights:

  • Administrative handles all calls, projects, and employee-related tasks. Their experience communicating with both customers and employees was extremely valuable during the Cityworks deployment. This proactive group carefully configured workflows and inboxes to retrieve the information they need when incidents occur.
  • Building Maintenance used cyclical work orders to create routine facility maintenance tasks in Cityworks. The new system dramatically reduced non-scheduled maintenance activities and provides accurate insights into the volume and progress of completed requests.
  • Fleet Operations plans to use a task-driven work order system to track internal vehicle maintenance requests. Descriptive tasks such as “alignment” or “oil change” will be added to work orders to document completed tasks.
  • Permit tracking protocols have been established for right-of-way requests, block party events, roadway closures, safety committee and work agendas, utility digs and low wires, and various contractual inspections.
  • Permit Tracking migrated from Excel to Cityworks using custom fields for status tracking and compliance dates. Cityworks Respond allows for quick retrieval of information in the field.
  • The Village Manager’s Office improved citizen engagement. They integrated SeeClickFix with Cityworks to seamlessly receive and monitor requests while effectively giving residents a one-stop shop to report issues.
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