How one city has seen a $2M ROI from data-driven asset management
With the help of Cartegraph and Esri’s ArcGIS, the City of Colorado Springs maximized the efficiency of their asset management system — and saved a whole lot of money
Andy Richter remembers asset management in the City of Colorado Springs over a decade ago: It was a resource-intensive process, laden with a paper trail. But, after implementing Cartegraph’s high-performance software in 2005, going paperless in the field has led to over a $2 million return on investment.
In the last few years, the City of Colorado Springs saw several natural disasters, including two major fires and several flood events. Across several divisions, the city realized it had big gaps in asset management, especially when recouping from devastating events.
“We had a hard time documenting where our assets were,” says Andy Richter, asset management supervisor. “We had no idea of location, condition, and number.”
The traffic engineering department wanted an effective solution to record asset conditions and paint an aggregate picture of damages. For example, the division needed a system to track information and easily create reports to bill for damaged signs and guardrails.
However, Richter felt the team was leaving a cumbersome paper trail and wasting time with manual asset management methods.
After implementing Cartegraph, the traffic engineering department began using data-driven technology to track infrastructure assets that had been badly damaged during disasters. This allowed them to justify costs to FEMA, and bring restitution back into their city funding.
“Without the technology, it’s almost impossible to power all of that information,” says Richter.
Beyond restoration, the department wanted to take its asset management a step further. Richter saw an opportunity to increase productivity by combining asset data with work requests—to utilize one smart, efficient system that regulated itself.
"We really wanted to blend in the requests and create an ‘electronic thread’ through the process of maintenance activities, and have it tied directly to the asset,” he says.
Between automation and linear referencing systems the department could now look at assets with the use of base maps, meaning each crew no longer needed an electronic device to track GPS coordinates. The traffic department set up a citizen-facing program called “Cone Zones” to alert citizens of public roadwork in their area. They fed data from these zones directly into ArcGIS Online, populating a map for citizens to view online.
“We’re going wireless in the field and taking the paper process out of the equation,” says Richter.
As Cartegraph's capabilities spread through public works, the team realized there was something contagious about their high-performance data. Soon, other divisions noticed increased efficiencies and sought to replicate them.
“Once we implemented the product, we had other divisions say, ‘You know, we’re in the same situation,’” says Richter. “'We really want to move away from a paper environment and go more electronic.'”
Additional divisions began adopting similar asset management processes, including the forestry department, and parks and recreation. Today, 10 out of 17 public works departments in Colorado Springs use Cartegraph, and they’ve seen large efficiencies across the board.
“We’re looking at just over $2 million in ROI over the last ten years of using Cartegraph,” says Richter. “Prior to Cartegraph, we were lucky if we were able to recoup $1,000 in sign damage for the entire year. After implementing Cartegraph, we’ve been able to see a $70,000 return for the first quarter of 2016.”
Specifically, they’ve been able to eliminate steps in workflow processes—just one example of how Colorado Spring uses Cartegraph to become a high-performance government. In the traffic engineering workflow alone, they’ve utilized digitized data and asset reporting to remove five inefficient steps and increase productivity.
Now, Richter and his department can’t imagine running the city without Cartegraph OMS: “Utilizing Cartegraph and Esri’s ArcGIS online has opened brand new doors to us that we never thought about before.”