CITYWORKS: What types of challenges was Hendersonville facing prior to using Cityworks?
HENDERSONVILLE: Prior to using Cityworks, the City of Hendersonville’s Water and Sewer Department (WSD) was using a paper work order system. Minimal or partial information was entered onto the work order forms and there was no way to manage this data spatially. This same information was also being entered into various paperlogs, generating yet another layer of paperwork and a lot of redundant work for our staff. Any digital data being entered was done by one person and on a single computer, isolating the information and restricting access.
To retrieve work history information, employees had to rely on someone who was on the job site the day the work was done, or would have to search through the reams of paper work orders stored in 3-ring binders. This system created several challenges that I’m sure many Cityworks clients can relate to, including: loss of information with employee turn-over; restricted access to work order history; no real-time maps in field; disconnect between field info and GIS data; inefficient communication both among and between departments; and inefficient reporting.
CITYWORKS: Why did Hendersonville choose Cityworks, and when was it implemented?
HENDERSONVILLE: In need of a CMMS and after much research and evaluation, the WSD had the resources available to acquire Cityworks in 2009. The solution was purchased jointly between the WSD and the Public Works Department (PWD). Initial plans called for implementing the WSD and gradually expand to the PWD.
We spent two months testing with the WSD before officially going live with Cityworks. Part of the testing included distributing netbooks with broadband air-cards to each crew, providing access to real-time data while in the field. We instructed our crews to use them as if this were the “real thing.” The crews took the plunge and truly committed to the new system. When we officially went live on July 1, 2010, the transition was easy.
Since then, we have begun to expand Cityworks into our PWD, one division at a time. The Traffic Division has been live since April 2011, and we are in the process of implementing within our Fleet Maintenance Division.
CITYWORKS: How is Cityworks used throughout the city?
HENDERSONVILLE: Currently, Cityworks manages the daily operations of the WSD. We track everything from pump station inspections to smoke testing our sewer system. Our field crews have access to real-time data via a remote desktop connection to Cityworks Anywhere. We also use Cityworks Storeroom to manage our warehouse inventory.
Within the PWD, the Traffic Division is using Cityworks to manage street signs with a focus on the sign retroreflectivity requirements mandated by the MUTCD. As we move forward with the Fleet Maintenance Division, we will be utilizing Storeroom to manage their warehouse inventory.
Cityworks will also help streamline the expense reports that are generated monthly to reconcile with various departments throughout the city.
CITYWORKS: Was the transition to Cityworks difficult for ity personnel to accept and/or grasp?
HENDERSONVILLE: When Cityworks was on the horizon, there were a few folks who were a bit intimidated by the change ahead. With minimal computer experience, a work management system seemed daunting.
I can honestly say that after a year of using Cityworks, and with a willingness to learn and adequate training, no one has fallen through the cracks. It is amazing to see how far all of our staff has come, regardless of their computer expertise. But without our teamwork and ownership of the process, this transition would not have been as successful. As we continue to tweak workflows and operating procedures, staff continues to adapt and evolve with the changes. The flexibility of our staff and the capability of Cityworks have really provided our management team with an invaluable source of information and has evolved to serve as a performance measuring tool.
CITYWORKS: What type of benefits has Hendersonville realized because of Cityworks?
HENDERSONVILLE: From the get-go, our field operations crews benefited from having access to maps and information while in the field. Now that we have over a year’s worth of data, they are beginning to realize the value in having instantaneous access to work order histories. This, in turn, improves employee accountability and the quality of the information provided in the work orders. Communication and customer service have improved tremendously, and the list goes on.
CITYWORKS: Have Cityworks’ unique GIS capabilities benefited the organization?
HENDERSONVILLE: I firmly believe that the spatial aspect of Cityworks is one of the key factors in why its implementation has been successful for us. With access to interactive maps, employees view Cityworks as more of a tool than an added burden to their daily job duties. This helped with the initial buy-in from our field operations crews and is quickly turning into added value to their jobs.
With the GIS data now a bigger part of the daily operations, feedback from the field operations crews has helped correct errors in the GIS data. Cityworks makes it easy to make the appropriate updates to the GIS data, thereby enhancing the accuracy of the GIS asset data.
CITYWORKS: What is Hendersonville’s future plans for Cityworks?
HENDERSONVILLE: Although Cityworks has already had a major impact on the daily operations of the WSD and the PWD, these are only two departments within the city. The potential for expansion throughout the city is undeniable. Future plans include expanding throughout the rest of PWD, including streets, parks, sanitation, and building maintenance. The WSD will expand to both treatment plants and customer service, continuing to streamline our daily operations. We also continually tweak our existing workflows to incorporate more features that Cityworks has to offer such as inspections, custom fields, tasks, etc. We are also looking at upgrading to Cityworks Server AMS in the next couple of years.