Maintenance and asset management for small to mid-sized municipalities

May 27, 2019 Bill Grant

Are you part of an organization that is responsible for managing infrastructure for the well-being of citizens and customers? Your objectives may include reducing costs and downtime, reducing risks and liabilities, or improving performance and service levels. If so, it is essential to have a plan and process in place to facilitate effective operations management. Workforce Starter Solution (WSS) is a cost-effective service package that leverages the ArcGIS suite of apps to support the needs of infrastructure maintenance management.

A few years ago, I worked as a manager in a small municipality. We had the same technology and types of assets as larger organizations, just fewer in numbers. The main difference was that we had fewer staff and a smaller budget to manage this infrastructure.

One of my main responsibilities was to ensure our services and technology supported our operations, and that it was being done efficiently with the limited resources available. With staff taking on multiple roles, it was essential to have systems and processes in place so I could make sure we provided the services everyone expected. Unfortunately, the systems available at the time were too costly and complex for our organization.

Does this scenario resemble your organization? Do you have similar challenges?

I have discovered the following guidelines to be helpful in my career:

1. Know what assets you have and where.

Completeness of asset data helps drive workplans and resource allocation for maintenance and rehabilitation. With fewer resources, you must find ways to collect and manage your inventory in an effective and efficient way.

2. Record and share.

There is little use for data that sits on a device or notepad. Find an efficient and quick way to get your records back to the office—the faster, the better. They are the currency. If you can do something paper-less, do it. Any time you can reduce double entry of information and reduce administrative work, you will see benefits and savings. Giving access to information to the staff who need it in a timely manner creates efficiencies and improves the delivery of services.

3. Empower your field workers.

Empowering the worker has never been easier with today’s technology. Capitalize on what you have in your mobile toolkit and look for ways to innovate. Ask how you can make the job easier for field workers. For smaller organizations, it is often the case where contractors are hired to supplement field work. You need to make sure that they have the tools to be just as effective as your staff. To quote an often-used phrase, “do more with less” is now a reality. Both internal staff and contractors can now immediately report what they have done, which feeds back to the office for planning and analysis.

4. Measure and analyze.

Having the information in one place gives you the ability to analyze trends and determine recurring issues. Supporting budget requests and planning work is now possible without having to merge data from multiple spreadsheets and paper documents. Preparing reports with charts, graphs and statistics is easier than ever.


Our Workforce Starter Solution (WSS) is designed for smaller organizations with complex assets to manage and maintain and need to do so efficiently and economically. We developed this solution using apps in the ArcGIS suite that you already have and a three-step process to work with you to create the solution. At the end of the process you will be in complete control of the solution. You can expand or modify its use throughout your organization. Last but not least, it will keep your costs low.

Want to know more? Visit the Workforce Starter Solution page.

To see it live, make sure to register for our free webinar on June 18 at 1 pm ET. 

About the Author

Bill Grant

Bill Grant is the Industry Manager for Public Works at Esri Canada. Bill has over 25 years of asset and maintenance management experience in the municipal and private sectors. He has worked on projects for federal, provincial and municipal government agencies in Canada, USA and the Republic of Kenya where he introduced the first PC’s into the Ministry of Public Works. Bill’s strengths are working with all levels of staff from senior managers to field workers in the development and implementation of asset and work management programs and the accompanying change management processes.

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