By GRACE FLACK | Senior Marketing Writer at Dude Solutions
What makes a city smart?
And what makes a city smart when it comes to technology?
It has a lot to do with resourcefulness and using your assets to the best of your ability. We all know that many cities have experienced budgets being cut and more attention toward what funds are going where and why.
Technology makes a way for cities and their citizens to be smarter about their resources, leading to greater efficiencies and less stress with useful data when it comes to budgeting. The reporting and record-keeping that technology is providing cities is creating a way for them to make confident budgeting decisions, ask for more resources and be more proactive about how they’re using budget dollars.
At Dude Solutions, we continuously hear stories of how cities are becoming smarter with their budgeting using our operations management software to prove their needs.
Better planning for facilities
For facilities, better budgeting is as simple as better asset management. With a cloud-based operations and asset management system like Dude Solutions’ MaintenanceEdge and Capital Forecast for capital planning, the budgeting process is more exact and less time-consuming.
Robert Hardie, facilities manager for city of Concord, Calif., uses the data from MaintenanceEdge and Capital Forecast to create more exact budgets and capital plans. “We were doing 10-year budgeting using Excel spreadsheets. We wanted to have something more specific rather than just guessing. We now have a list of all of the equipment and facilities. So, you can just go in and pull projected costs by year, or for 10 years. For budgeting purposes, you now have realistic costs of what you’re going to need.”
Easy access to this type of data has allowed Hardie to justify why he needed additional funding added to his routine operations budget, as well as the creation of a new capital budget that is dedicated to facility repairs and replacement. “Now I have a tool that proves to the council my need for more funding,” he said. “It’s easy to tell them: This is what I have to do, and this is what it’s going to take.”
It all comes down to improved planning and software that holds records of all your work orders, plus assets and facility condition information. This can provide the data, images and stories you need to make a compelling budget case instead of just guessing.
Better reporting for public works
Public works staff know that in this fast-moving sector of local government; you may often find yourself going to your administration or council for more assets, fixes to current equipment, or added contractors or staff. For the Milwaukee, Wis., Department of Public Works, Dude Solutions’ operations management solution gave them a way to prove what and whom they needed.
“Now when we go to report budget, we don’t have to guess at numbers because we can bring up reports that show everything we did and all of our stats,” Safety Specialist Senior Roger Davidson said. The department can now show that its workload requires it to have a certain number of electricians or mechanics, and it will soon start tracking costs of material in addition to labor.
Davidson explained, “When we ask for $500,000, we can justify it by what we’ve spent for the last couple of years, and we can see where a lot of wear and tear is happening on equipment.
“We’re a big city that chose Dude Solutions and it really has paid off for us. We don’t know how we ever operated without it,” he added.
“A good maintenance program helps an organization prosper, and if you’re serious about maintenance and being successful in business, then you should use Dude Solutions.”
For Kermit Williamson, solid waste director for the city of Asheboro, N.C., Mobile311 — a mobile asset management and workflow operations software — has greatly increased the efficiency of their department. “With Mobile311, we are saving three man-days per week. What used to take us five days we are now doing in two. Mobile311 is paying for itself in fuel savings, and we are giving better service to our community with the labor savings,” he said.
Better preventive maintenance for stormwater, utilities and water treatment
Budgeting for stormwater and utilities departments can also be a conundrum as you’re never sure what you will need or when. But, with a system like Mobile311, cities can have a better idea of the work they’re doing and need to complete in the future, which ties back to improved budgeting.
Eric Garcia, manager of operations for the Camrosa Water District in California, and his department use Mobile 311 to track and schedule work on assets effectively, documenting everything for easy retrieval by all team members and keeping up with time spent in the field.
“We had no method for budgeting time prior to this,” Garcia said.
The water district is also able to track the status of its new preventive maintenance plan, information Garcia hopes to turn into data analytics soon, particularly for pipeline replacement.
Those in the field can now open Mobile311 on their phones and quickly see what work has been completed and what’s next without having to dig through layers. One feature they frequently benefit from is being able to upload photos in the field, instead of having to upload them on a computer once back in the office.
Be proactive with your budget
Everyone probably wishes they were more proactive with budgeting, but how do you get to a place where you can walk the walk? Just like the examples you’ve seen above, it is possible with the right technology to document your processes, report on your work and create the case confidently for your budget and resource needs.
Dude Solutions, parent company of SchoolDude, FacilityDude and TheWorxHub, is a leading software-as-a-service provider of operations management solutions to education, government, healthcare, manufacturing and membership-based organizations. The company combines innovative technology with operational insight to transform the places people learn, live, heal, work and play. Today, more than 9,000 organizations are using Dude Solutions’ award-winning software for facilities, energy, safety, IT and a growing suite of related enterprise applications to increase efficiencies, improve service and save money. For more information, visit dudesolutions.com.