The management of maintenance activities for municipal assets such as roadways, facilities, green space, etc. can present a unique set of challenges. Incoming service requests and work orders are often tracked using multiple pieces of software, spreadsheets, or paper documents which can become overwhelming and tedious.
Many municipalities and public sector organizations are turning to software that helps to centralize this information. Maintenance management tools ensure staff are performing necessary work to the right assets at the right time, leading to increased service levels and lower lifecycle costs over the long-term.
Some common obstacles include:
- Daily operating data gets lost in different software, spreadsheets, and paper records
- Key personnel have little to no access to information to complete work effectively
- Creating reports for stakeholders is a long and manual process
- Current software is overly complex and hard to use, resulting in a lack of participation from employees
An enterprise maintenance management software helps to streamline administrative processes, provide increased access to information across the organization, and gather accurate and effective data for long-term planning.
When looking for a centralized CMMS solution for your organization, there are core features and functions that should be considered.
Features and functions to look for in a CMMS platform
Convenience and Ease of Use
- Cross-system integration with other software
- Intuitive and user-friendly interface
- Mobile capabilities
- Ability to attach supporting materials to work orders
- Work order and service request ticketing
- Personnel timesheets and assignments
- Asset inspections
- Preventive maintenance scheduling and tracking
Organization and Resource Planning
- Vendor and supplier management
- Resource and inventory management
- Fleet and facilities management
Reporting and Data Management
- Ease of access to data for all relevant employees
- Bulk data upload function
- Efficiency assessment and cost-reduction identification
- Visual and customizable reports
- Road maintenance and route patrol capabilities
- Customer service management capabilities
- GIS functionality to visualize assets and work order locations
PSD Citywide’s Maintenance Manager is a unique CMMS system, offering all of the above listed features and customizable options and designed specifically for municipalities and other public sector organizations. Register for the webinar below to see what Maintenance Manager can do for your organization.
With any big decision that affects your community, we understand that there are a lot of other factors at play. Whether it’s getting council approval, staff buy-in, or budget, every organization has different considerations depending on size, location, environment, municipality tier, etc.
Here are a couple of things to consider when discussing with your staff and council.
Over the past several years, there have been grants available for modernization initiatives. One example is Ontario’s Municipal Modernization Program that came to a close in 2021. This grant was geared towards smaller and rural communities to update and improve service delivery to the community, which included the implementation of new technology.
Since decisions to purchase software largely hinges on the ability to fund it, keeping up with grant opportunities is crucial. Checking for federal, provincial, and third-party grants can be a little overwhelming, but there are a few resources that can assist such as grant inventory and notification services like the Municipal Grant Service (MGS).
New funding is always coming out, so be sure to subscribe to news alerts from your province and the federal government, if available.
Legislative Requirements and Liability Protection
Legislative requirements differ in each province. For example, Ontario has specific legislation for road maintenance through O.Reg 366/18 Minimum Maintenance Standards for Municipal Highways in Ontario. However, some provinces may not have any specific legislation for road maintenance, but are mandated at the municipal or regional level instead.
Some examples of provincial road maintenance standards include:
- O.Reg 366/18 – Minimum Maintenance Standards for Municipal Highways – Ontario
- Highway Maintenance Specifications – British Columbia
- Highway Maintenance Specifications – Alberta
- Municipalities Act – Saskatchewan
- Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal – Nova Scotia
Having a CMMS tool to track compliance with these requirements can protect your municipality from liability as well as the added benefit of reducing insurance costs. For example, say there is an accident on a main street during the winter and the victims cite unsanded roads as the cause. With a tool like our Route Patrol add-on for Maintenance Manager, you can pull records of when that road was last plowed and sanded — including condition data recorded by your field staff — to present in defense of the municipality in liability claims.
As with road maintenance logs, having detailed records of maintenance activities such as playground or sidewalk repairs can be a strong defense in any liability claim.
Staff and Capacity
One thing commonly cited by PSD Citywide clients is the importance of having the right staff and skill sets in place before the purchase and implementation of new software. Having the tools is great, but a lot of the benefits can be missed if there aren’t enough people to use it effectively.
When considering a software tool, identify who would be managing the software, who would be using it daily, and which departments need to be involved to see success from the program. Usually at this step, a champion is identified in your organization to lead the project and be the point of contact for the vendor.
Part of these initial conversations and plans include building a business case for new hires if more human resources are needed. Next would be to identify any gaps in skills to be addressed through internal training or training from the software provider.
Finally, securing buy-in from key stakeholders such as council, management, administrative staff, and field staff is a necessity for ongoing success. Therefore, it is critical to demonstrate value for all impacted parties. This involves having thorough discussions on what outcome each party is looking for. For example, council likes improved services for citizens, management likes cost and time savings, and operations staff like streamlined processes and ease of use. These are only a few ideas to get started, but it’s vital to involve all stakeholders in this process.
Once all of these factors have been thoroughly analyzed, your team can make an informed decision on which software is best suited to the size and complexity of your organization.
As with any large project, being realistic about timelines and change is something to plan for. The term “biting off more than you can chew” applies to software implementations as well, meaning if your organization takes on too much too quickly, it can make it even more challenging and stressful.
Using a phased approach to CMMS implementation is a great way to avoid overwhelming your team. If too much is thrown at your staff all at once, they’re more likely to disengage from the project and cause you to lose ground on the buy-in you’ve worked hard for. Small, incremental changes are ideal and any vendor worth their salt will be by your side to assist with planning and change management.
Find the best fit for your organization
We recognize that municipalities and other public sector organizations have unique needs. A one-size-fits-all approach is unrealistic, so a flexible CMMS solution is crucial. Finding a tool that allows you and your team to address all of your identified needs is challenging. However, the right software vendor will work with you throughout the implementation and beyond to ensure you get the most out of your investment.