Effective government leadership understands that balancing municipality operations between the need for cost containment and avoiding adding to unemployment woes is a tricky situation. Better run local governments are making a fundamental shift to better asset and maintenance management for infrastructure care.
Why Changing to
a EAM is Necessary
Traditionally, municipal and State governments have invested heavily in financial systems that make sure revenue is properly captured. As a result, the different operations within a government such as water utilities, facility maintenance and fleet management have struggled to find better asset management tools that work well with the financial systems.
This situation has created an opportunity to make positive changes by recognizing that controlling operating costs is much more than slashing headcount or other budget reductions. Opportunity exist to reduce operating expenses if:
Selected Municipality Operating Issues
- Spreadsheets are being used to record or transfer asset information. In the modern world, spreadsheet usage is obsolete and very inefficient.
- A municipality is making use of multiple vendors.
- Document storage is an issue.
- Reactive maintenance management has a stranglehold on city operations. This is when the vast majority of work orders are a result of a problem that has occurred.
- The city has software products sitting unused because staff does not know how to use them effectively or because they create extra work for the financial systems.
The CMMS Factor
Without a doubt, a quality CMMS can address most maintenance management issues. For example, using a CMMS will help automate manual processes, schedule asset maintenance work orders and help move maintenance management into a pro active mode that can save governments substantial dollars.
“This same management process should be applied to infrastructure assets: proper maintenance and management of assets through inspections, preventive maintenance, modeling, etc., will tend to keep the risk and occurrence of major failures and service disruptions to a minimum. In addition, applying these management strategies allows total life cycle costs of assets to be kept to a minimum.”
Source: GHD Consulting Inc.,City of Boynton Beach Utilities Department – Asset Management Program
When properly implemented, a CMMS solution:
- Streamlines maintenance tasks by automating many of the work order processes.
- Enables more work to be done with the same amount of resources. This is huge for keeping City services at sufficient voter happiness.
- Lowers unplanned or emergency repair work saving precious labor costs.
- Tracks work requests, work orders and completed work in any department from water utilities to facility maintenance. A CMMS can also be used to schedule or track many predictive maintenance technologies.
- Lowers long term infrastructure costs by lengthening the useful lifecycle of assets.
An EAM System is the Glue to Keep Municipalities Operating Smoothly
It is important to note that an EAM system goes beyond the core of a CMMS by extending CMMS capabilities including but not limited to:
- Vendor management: An EAM will help municipal managers identify redundancy, consolidate contracts as well as track vendor performance.
- Document Storage: Good EAM solutions include document management as part of the solution including contracts, blueprints, vendor documentation and so on.
- Better capital planning. By recording all work order history, municipal managers can use Capital analysis reports to identify which assets will need replacement and when.
- Knowledge transfer and Training. The EAM database is accessible to all approved staff for use in addressing asset and maintenance issues. The learning curve for new staff is accelerated.
- Municipal managers will know where their assets are, what condition they are in as well as what work has been performed.
- Enabling the setting up of standard operating procedures throughout the various facilities and departments.
Two of the most important questions that municipal managers ask are 1) how will this integrate into the current financial systems and 2) will the staff actually use the system?
The answer to question one is that a good EAM system has the capability to be customized for integration into a variety of applications. This is not found with off-the-shelf EAM systems. The ability to be customized is an important consideration for decision makers as is the ability of the EAM vendor to provide technical support when needed.
The answer to the second question is quality EAM systems are very user friendly. Through the use of handheld technology, staff can perform inspections, work orders and conduct rounds without unnecessary paperwork. Using mobile handheld devices also gives staff a transferable skill set. With a little training, staff adoption rates can be very high.