Spalding County, Ga.'s Cloud-Based Maintenance Management System Improves Workflows, Predicts Equipment Failure

Employees within the departments of fire, public works, water, animal control, and parks and public grounds can now access and review work orders and complete them much more quickly because they can check the system regardless of their location.

by TJ Imberger, Superintendent of Parks at Spalding County, Ga. / June 8, 2017
Downtown Griffin, Ga. Flickr/Glen Kirkland

Located 40 miles south of downtown Atlanta, Spalding County, Ga., encompasses 200 square miles and is home to nearly 65,000 residents, approximately 23,000 of whom live in Griffin — and county officials work diligently to uphold the area’s small town charm, natural beauty and vibrant culture.

Previously, ensuring that facilities were consistently maintained and preventive maintenance was scheduled was handled with a paper-based system. But with an eye toward boosting efficiency and productivity, the county’s Board of Commissioners deployed a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) from Dude Solutions to better mobilize facility work orders, track maintenance costs, predict potential equipment failures and increase productivity across 16 county departments.

Today, that cloud-based CMMS, which is available across mobile devices, makes maintenance time and work order tracking more efficient; the age and costs of assets are properly tracked, and budgets are supported with data and advanced reporting. Since implementing the software, the county has doubled its operations efficiency.

Employees within the departments of fire, public works, water, animal control, parks and public grounds, and several others can now access and review work orders and complete them much more quickly because they can check the system regardless of their location. We’ve been able to reduce our response time for any problems, as work is quickly assigned and employees can prioritize and finish tasks in a more timely manner.

Increases Productivity Within the Parks and Public Grounds Department

For the Parks and Public Grounds Department specifically, preserving facilities and equipment is varied and includes maintaining and repairing parks and related playgrounds and pavilions, recreation centers, walking trails, drinking fountains, irrigation systems, public restrooms and more.

Prior to using our CMMS, the sheer volume of the department’s paperwork was a problem. Work orders were disorganized, tasks were communicated verbally, and schedules were tracked in Outlook and on a desktop paper calendar. Jobs and status updates were easily lost due to these disparate tracking methods.

Now, work orders can be easily organized and completed. Once finished, notes and updates can be recorded from a phone or tablet. This has made a tremendous impact on the department’s productivity. Oversight of work orders and projects is easier, as we can access status updates at any time via any device. Administration, supervisors, field employees and office support all have the power to open, view, fulfill and analyze work orders, improving our overall workflow.

Cross-Department Collaboration Drives Efficiencies

Using the CMMS also has increased communications cross-departmentally. Creating a more collaborative effort, the Construction and Maintenance Department, which handles interior building maintenance, and the Public Works Department are utilizing the CMMS on iPads so they can access the maintenance software for preserving roads, sidewalks, streetlights, signs and more. We justified these upgrades by demonstrating how the enhanced communication and documentation can make a positive impact.

The Spalding County Commissioners Office is now privy to critical maintenance updates via detailed reports in our CMMS, including local citizen requests. If a resident calls to request that a pothole is fixed or to report that a local road is in need of maintenance, the software visualizes where assets and personnel are deployed in the community and automatically assigns the closest resource to respond. The work order request is quickly logged and any related notes can be viewed in the system (e.g., asphalt ordered). The commissioner can also see the costs of specific citizen requests.

Data and Reports Aids Capital Planning

Detailed reports within the CMMS have drastically changed the way all of our departments operate. By analyzing data, we can make effective decisions to help predict budgets and future equipment needs, helping us save time and money. This year, we requested capital equipment replacement vehicles based on data directly from the software. Previously, we based those decisions strictly on the age of a vehicle. Now, we are looking much closer at the actual cost of maintaining a vehicle.

Tracking inspections and ensuring proper documentation is also easier. Previously, for example, playground inspection documentation was not transparent, which could present a liability issue. We inspect each of our playgrounds every 15 days and our state park on a daily basis, so proper documentation is imperative. Prior to using a CMMS, offering documentation meant going through boxes of paperwork to find something. Now our department can access instant reports and we’ve increased accountability twentyfold by tracking the playground inspection progress and maintenance.

With the CMMS, we have also been able to complete and file FEMA reimbursement paperwork much quicker for natural disasters like tornadoes and floods, which has shortened the fund reimbursement time frame in some cases from several weeks down to just 48 hours.

Maintenance management software has helped Spalding County make more efficient decisions, lower the cost of our facility management, reduce equipment downtime and extend the life of our assets. Investing in and embracing new technology platforms, like a CMMS, can unlock new cost savings and productivity improvements for local governments, as they work to use tax dollars wisely and support the needs of local citizens.