In the fall of 2016, the City of Auburn Fleet Services Division faced a major problem: the antiquated vehicle management system in use since the mid-1990s was rapidly deteriorating to the point of being unusable. The system was years out of support and required obsolete software such as Windows 2000 and Access 95. A new solution needed to be found.
Cityworks was the natural choice as a replacement system, as it was already being used by many other departments. Moving Fleet Services into Cityworks aligned with existing plans to leverage Cityworks as the enterprise asset and work order management system for the entire organization. The GIS Division worked with Fleet to develop a Cityworks solution that broke down informational silos and significantly streamlined the process of dispatching and completing work orders.
The old solution relied on mechanics filling out paperwork order forms. Upon work completion, administrative staff would manually transcribe the paper forms into the asset management system.
Now, when vehicles arrive for service, administrative staff create Cityworks work orders with the appropriate repair tasks. Mechanics stay connected with tablets, which immediately notify them when work orders are assigned. Once repairs are complete, the finished work orders are automatically routed to the supervisor for review and closing.
“One of the major benefits we’ve seen with Cityworks is the mechanics spend less time between the shop and office now that work orders are delivered straight to their tablets,” said Kevin Callahan, Fleet Services Division manager.
The old system also suffered from information silos in the vehicle and parts inventory. However, the Cityworks open database structure allows for easy integration with other systems. Fleet Services opted to make their financial system the single, authoritative vehicle inventory. A script developed by the GIS team exports vehicle data nightly to a flat table in the GIS database, which Cityworks consumes as assets. Fleet staff use the GIS search in Cityworks as their main portal for vehicle searching and work order creation.
The financial system is also the authoritative parts inventory, and an existing integration developed by Timmons Group pushes updated records to Cityworks Storeroom on a nightly interval. As parts are consumed for repairs, Storeroom allows the parts technician to easily issue material to the work order. A custom export developed by GIS staff runs weekly to export all consumed materials back to the financial system.
Once the Cityworks design proved stable over the course of several months, the final step of the implementation was to migrate work history for active vehicles. GIS developers wrote a script using the Cityworks API, which was used to import over 21,000 historical records into Cityworks as closed work orders. Fleet now has a one-stop shop in Cityworks for all active vehicle information.
The city has seen great improvements in reporting capabilities since changing to the new system. GIS Division staff wrote custom SQL reports that query Cityworks along with the city’s fuel management and financial systems to report lifetime vehicle costs, monthly repair totals for each department, and schedules for preventative vehicle maintenance. Previously, departments were assigned a specific month to bring vehicles to the shop for service regardless of need. Now when a vehicle meets odometer or time thresholds for service, it is automatically flagged in a SQL report. The report queries Cityworks and the Fuel Master system for the most recent odometer record for each vehicle. The vehicles that need service are then compiled in a list that is auto-emailed to Fleet staff.
The city has saved over $11,000 annually with Cityworks. Perhaps even more significantly, the streamlined workflows have helped staff handle the demands of a growing fleet with minimal impact. For example, the fleet parts technician reports time savings of up to 50 percent now that the need to transpose paper records to the computer has been eliminated.
After the success of the fleet management project, the city is excited to extend their use of Cityworks. A project is currently underway to move Fire Division truck inspections into Cityworks, allowing Fleet to receive an immediate notification when a repair is needed. The team also plans to implement an automatic vehicle location (AVL) system, which will allow repair alerts to be sent automatically from the vehicle to Cityworks in real time.
Armed with Cityworks API, a talented GIS team, and an organizational vision for ongoing improvements, the City of Auburn is a leading example of effective enterprise asset management.
By Britt Johnson, GIS business analyst, City of Auburn