In the late 1990s, the City of Newport News, Virginia, Public Works Department had an asset/maintenance management system that wasn’t producing the results they needed. Work orders were in paper form and typed out by secretaries. Data entry was cumbersome at best and presented specific challenges for users trying to derive results from their input. Increasing pressure to meet the GASB 34 requirements loomed with no funding and unrealistic due dates.
On top of all this, Newport News was faced with the daunting challenge of bringing the City’s Public Works Department’s information technology into the new century. The Department began to realize they needed to face their issues head-on and find an asset management system that fit their needs and was consistent with their overall IT strategy. Through an open RPF process, they discovered Cityworks.
The City was initially drawn to Cityworks because of its GIS-centric capabilities. As they learned more about the software, they identified many other features and reporting capabilities that would be a good fit for what the Department and the City needed. Azteca Systems also displayed a partnership quality that would continually work to help Newport News achieve their immediate, as well as ongoing, goals. Making reporting easier and less restrictive was a key component they were looking for in a new system. Cityworks quickly proved it could decrease the Department’s dependency on the time-consuming and paper-intensive external reporting process of the legacy, mainframe system—a difficult task that could only be done by select staff.
Newport News began their implementation of Cityworks in the Public Works Department in June of 2004. In the first phase, they experienced a smooth transition to the ArcSDE geodatabase. A flexible Cityworks database structure was developed that could be continually modified and updated to support the Department’s asset maintenance and GASB 34 reporting needs. Three interfaces were created to essential legacy systems: the Purchase Requisition System (for storeroom requisitions), Payroll/Human Resources Management (for creation/maintenance of employee labor rates), and City Financial Accounting System (for the transmission of the Department’s Cityworks costs to be expensed against the operating budget). In addition, the City reengineered their business processes to support a new Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) program centered on Cityworks.
Through the summer of 2004, use of Cityworks expanded as they implemented into buildings maintained by Public Works. The Department adopted the change in workflow processes exceptionally well and worked to create checks and balances for their staff’s service requests and work orders, achieving superb responsiveness and closure.
Newport News experienced outstanding results with Cityworks from the onset. Tim DeSalvo, Asset Management Division Administrator, explains, “Immediately upon implementation, we had everything we wanted and so much more. We went from having approximately 250 programs on the mainframe to a miraculous point where everyone, at their desktop, could do their own reports —a big time saver for me.”
DeSalvo continues: “It was wonderful to know the information was now at our staff’s fingertips. When we implemented Cityworks, we had then and still have today, a modest staff to support this significant enterprise system. Inasmuch as Cityworks provides the ability for individual users to perform much of their own reporting, for example, it frees me up to do other important functions. It’s marvelous that when something was done in the GIS, it would immediately appear in Cityworks.”
Newport News is experiencing many Citywide successes as a result of Cityworks. Storeroom Annual Physical Inventory has greatly improved as Crystal Reports are now easily generated. Information from these reports is provided to the administration, enabling them to create their own inventory sheets and to work much more independently with inventory data. In addition, End of Fiscal Year Processing has been enhanced, resulting in much smoother transitions into the new fiscal year. Before Cityworks, the City relied solely on the Division Administrator to generate mainframe reports. With Cityworks, the task is now dispersed, saving management valuable time as many of the users can generate more specific reports to review key performance measures.
The Building Services Division has been using Cityworks from the beginning of its implementation. David L. Sinclair, Building Services Administrator, summarizes, “We use Cityworks for all phases and work assignments in the Division, including custodial, HVAC, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, and so on. Work orders are generated not just from a reactive standpoint, but also from the proactive standpoint to where we generate upwards of 50 cyclical work orders a month. These cyclical work orders are used for different areas, notably the HVAC and custodial services work.”
In the Streets Maintenance Division, Kenneth Holloway comments, “We use Cityworks to track all roadway history. We’re able to choose an asset, research it, find past maintenance work and bills associated with it, and make maintenance decisions based on that info. We basically use Cityworks the same way with concrete work. Over the years, our goal was to reconstruct streets to bring them up to current standards, and Cityworks has helped us meet that goal.”
The Streets Division generates work orders and information on materials, such as how many loads of solid waste is delivered to the landfill. This information is tracked and utilized for a variety of purposes. For example, the data shows how many cubic yards are brought into the compost facility, which in turn is reported to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.
“Cityworks is paramount to tracking a number of revenue-generating features we use every day,” explains Amy K. Gray, Assistant Administrator of the Solid Waste Division. “We use it to track work orders, labor, equipment costs, and to assist in diverting waste from the landfill to elongate its life. Without Cityworks helping us track all of those things, it would be very labor-intensive. There are times I wonder what it would do to our budgets having to hire additional people to track the work that Cityworks does for us.”
Beyond the original Cityworks implementation, the City has since expanded use throughout the organization. The Engineering Department’s operations are all managed with Cityworks. Service requests are available in several departments, including Codes Compliance, Mayor’s Office, City Manager, City Clerk, Management & Legislative Affairs, and Community Relations.
“With respect to the future, the sky is the limit,” states DeSalvo. “We’re really excited about the implementation of Cityworks Server AMS. I want everyone to have at their fingertips the very things they need to do their job.”
About Newport News
The City of Newport News, Virginia, is located in the southwestern end of the Virginia Peninsula on the north shore of the James River. The city supports rich history dating back to 1619 when the area was included in one of four corporations of the Virginia Company of London. In its early years, Newport News was primarily a farming and fishing village until the coming of the railroad and shipyard development in the late 1800s when it became an official city. Today Newport News is home to 180,000 residents and is an industrial center growing in affluence and significance as a major metropolitan area in the Hampton Roads region.