Last time, I ended my entry by telling you that I am not traveling this municipal operations management highway alone. Thankfully, I have a fellow traveler who is a gifted and talented individual who does exactly what I do, right over the wall in the Public Works Department.
Brendan O’Connor is not just a co-worker, he is my friend. We have offices next to each other. We eat lunch together. We go in the field together for projects. And we've become Cartegraph experts together. We have not purchased matching sweaters and ridden a tandem bike to work yet, but suffice it to say, we spend a lot of time working on municipal operations management together to make sure we create the best system possible.
My job is to manage all enterprise-funded assets and Brendan manages all of the general fund assets. We also do extensive cross-training with each other to ensure redundancy within our system. If your organization can do this, I highly recommend this paradigm for asset management.
I sat down with Brendan to discuss how Public Works assets are managed in Cartegraph and the challenges they faced in implementing government software capable of managing both asset and work management.
How did you start and what asset did you collect first?
Our Public Services General Manager tasked me to get on the same playing field as our regional pavement preservation committee. Thankfully, everyone in the region uses Cartegraph for their pavement management, so the implementation was smoother. I cross-trained with Tucson’s pavement management team, learning inspection protocols and asset management techniques, which took about a year to complete. Approximately 3 months after starting pavement, we initiated the work management piece in Work director, within the Operations and Maintenance Department.
What challenges did you face in the implementation?
Our challenges were virtually identical to yours, Todd. We had the same issues with individual field staff and managers thinking it was a way for upper management to track every move that was made, creating a big-brother scenario. The other issue we faced was the diversity within multiple divisions (signs, signals, landscape, heavy equipment, etc), creating a uniform reporting system, which was quite a challenge.
How did you overcome those challenges? What was the practical solution?
The simple answer is “this is how life is going to be from now on”. If anyone had an issue with this, we told them to take it to the highest level possible and if you can get them to tell us to stop, we will. Obviously, that never happened. Without the backing of our Public Services General Manager, this project would have never happened.
So, where are you at now and what is ahead?
As far as public asset management, we have pavement, signs and signals in the system 100%. We are currently putting in ADA Ramps and creating and implementing asset and work management modules for our Facilities Division. Our Operations and Maintenance Division has been managing its work in Cartegraph for two years now, and can not imagine life without it, so it has been VERY successful. One of our managers, who was initially a strong opponent of the system, has now become its biggest champion. THAT is rewarding.
As you can see from the above interview, Brendan has faced the same challenges as I have. Thankfully, both of us have overcome them. This road we travel is not always smooth or easy. There are detours, potholes, roads under construction, flat tires and lonely times of wondering if the journey is worth it. However, having someone travel with you on this journey makes it easier and much more rewarding. You can talk about issues together, think through different ways to implement ideas and learn from one another.
Until the next entry, remember that you are not alone on this journey. You have a lot of fellow travelers, even if they are not in the same car. If you need encouragement or help, feel free to contact myself or Brendan. We understand what it’s like. Enjoy the journey! I know I am!
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