Published on 30-Nov-2009
"This platform has been vital in helping us forecast resource needs and proactively identify and resolve issues before they affect services." - —Stephen Klepper, Administrative Superintendent, City of Corpus Christi, Texas
City of Corpus Christi
Asset Management, Green/Sustainability, Cloud & Service Management, Service Management, Smarter Planet
Smarter Cities, Smarter Government, Smarter Water
Like most municipal governments, the City of Corpus Christi, Texas—which is the largest city on the Texas coast with more than 280,000 residents—strives to improve the quality of life for citizens while keeping operating costs low.
The City of Corpus Christi sought to establish an organization-wide framework to define, measure and improve services while concurrently improving efficiency.
IBM and IBM Business Partner EMA helped the City to implement a work and asset management system that integrates disparate data and helps staff to spatially view problem areas and planned work
New insight into operations has enabled staff to identify patterns of asset malfunctions, institute preventative measures and adjust work frequencies to prevent service interruptions.
Improved citizen services, including faster response time and increased percentage of citizens with continuous utility service; Reduced operational costs with ability to accurately forecast labor requirements and increase percentage of planned work; Inducted into Kaplan and Norton’s “Balanced Scorecard Hall of Fame,” making the City one of two U.S. cities recognized; Recognized by Public Technology Inc. as the winner in the GIS Technology Solutions category
New insight into operations helps Corpus Christi build a smarter city
Like most municipal governments, the City of Corpus Christi, Texas—which is the largest city on the Texas coast with more than 280,000 residents—strives to improve the quality of life for citizens while keeping operating costs low. However, primarily manual, disconnected processes for managing public works and utility resources made it difficult for staff to accurately plan and proactively prevent problems. As City staff reviewed its management of water, wastewater, utility and storm water services, it decided to make some improvements in its management systems, with a view towards implementing improvements citywide.
Previously, citizen calls were routed to the appropriate department and recorded on index cards before being entered into a spreadsheet. Each utility department used its own separate system and procedures with no citywide standards. Given the manual nature of this process, staff could not accurately track how long it took to respond to and fix problems. Additionally, staff had no way to view the work history for each site, making it difficult to identify recurring problems.
Although the City had already established a geographic information system (GIS), work orders were not interfaced with this system. As a result, departments couldn’t spatially analyze work requests to determine whether a customer request represented a site-specific problem or an area-wide issue that would require more extensive support.
“We had some customer service measures and some targets, but without a centralized system we didn’t really know how we were doing and couldn’t plan appropriately,” says Stephen Klepper, administrative superintendent, City of Corpus Christi, Texas.
Driving organizational change with a dynamic infrastructure
In response, the City looked to create a dynamic infrastructure that would provide the visibility, control and automation needed to enable staff to:
- Establish and manage its success against citywide standards.
- Spatially analyze work to improve resource utilization, prevent service interruptions and enhance response times.
- Clearly define and measure actual service levels provided.
- Accurately track costs.
- Tie performance measures to City strategy.
Working with IBM® Business Partner EMA, the City of Corpus Christi implemented IBM Maximo® Asset Management software. The City regarded IBM Maximo Asset Management as a tool that could be used to help the organization become more flexible, responsive and efficient. Throughout the implementation, City leaders emphasized what drove the need for change rather than the details of the underlying technology.
“We viewed this as a management project rather than a technology project,” says Klepper. “With IBM Maximo software, we established a framework to define, measure and deliver ‘good’ service. This includes providing timely response to citizen calls, delivering continuous service and ensuring job completion. Our initial focus was directed towards improving customer service rather than first focusing on the more traditional aspects of maintenance and asset management.”
As part of its implementation, the City integrated IBM Maximo software with its financial accounting system from PeopleSoft. This integration helps staff accurately track departmental costs and staffing needs, and establish cost standards for different categories of work. For example, previously, when the City provided flood assistance to neighboring towns, the cost was rolled into the Water Department’s overall operating costs. Now, staff can track these costs separately and use the information to apply for federal funding when available.
Today, IBM Maximo Asset Management software supports all City public works and utility departments plus other areas of the City including Park Operations, Airport, and Traffic Engineering. This includes management of the following:
Approximately 1,250 miles of wastewater gravity mains
Six wastewater treatment plants
A water treatment plant with 170 million gallons a day capacity
1,500 miles of water mains
1,100 miles of streets
80,000 utility customers and a gas distribution system
Citizen calls are now routed to a citywide call center where service staff can immediately record and track work orders and view work histories using IBM Maximo software. Standardized location and priority codes help staff deploy resources based on urgency and service level requirements (e.g., maintenance crews must respond to gas leaks within 30 minutes, wastewater backup calls within four hours and water main breaks within one hour).
Leveraging the process automation capabilities of IBM Maximo software, the City can efficiently manage each job to completion. If the Water Department tears up a street to fix a water main, a “child” work order is automatically created for the Streets Department to patch the street.
Additionally, staff can accurately measure the elapsed time for each job and associated work order and track it against the City’s service level agreements (SLAs). Automated notifications are sent to City managers via their BlackBerrys so they can keep an eye on critical issues such as wastewater manhole overflows or water main breaks.
Identifying trends for improved performance
Because IBM Maximo software is integrated with the City’s geographic information system from IBM Business Partner ESRI, City staff can spatially view problem areas and planned work—helping the organization to truly see for the first time where service levels are not being met and why.
Greater insight into operations has also enabled the City to identify patterns and increase the ratio of planned work to reactive unplanned work. Now staff can systematically evaluate problems with infrastructure resources that commonly cause service interruptions and implement preventative maintenance protocols—such as exercising water valves, flushing “dead-end water mains” or cleaning wastewater mains known to regularly have blockages. Because the information is updated in real-time, staff can review the results of its efforts and adjust maintenance frequencies as warranted.
In one case, wastewater staff found in reviewing IBM Maximo reports that nearly 33 percent of the department’s effort was spent resolving problems at just 1.4 percent of customer sites. With this information, the City developed and implemented a repair plan that resolved these ongoing issues and ultimately reduced costs.
This approach is setting a standard for other government organizations. During 2008 Public Technology Inc. (PTI) recognized the City as a winner in the GIS Technology Solutions category for “Using a Computerized Work and Asset Management System Interfaced with GIS to Improve Utility Infrastructure and Customer Service.”
“Improved customer service is the biggest benefit of IBM Maximo software,” says Klepper. “This platform has been vital in helping us forecast resource needs and proactively identify and resolve issues before they affect services.”
Supporting a skills-based pay model can be difficult without the right information. However, since implementation of IBM Maximo software, the City’s human resource staff has the data it needs to track employee training—including the skills learned, the number of training hours and the associated costs—and compensate employees based on their skill levels. The software was customized to provide a separate field on work orders used to track on-the-job training efforts.
What’s more, the City can assess its own success effectively as well. IBM Maximo software provides a significant portion of the data required to rate services against the City’s Balanced Scorecard (BSC) initiative. This program measures City operations in four areas: customer service, financial management, process efficiency and sustainability.
The program received national recognition in 2008 when the City was inducted into Kaplan and Norton’s “Balanced Scorecard Hall of Fame”. The City of Corpus Christi is only the second city in the United States to be recognized for its Balanced Scorecard.
“BSC helps us see the entire picture of our operations so we can evaluate the consequences of every action,” says Saundra Thaxton, the City’s Balanced Scorecard Manager. “IBM Maximo software is vital to this process and the majority of metrics used for customer service and process efficiency are drawn directly from Maximo work orders.”
Instrumented: Service-related data, including work orders, work histories, financials, employee training and more, is captured and tracked using a single platform.
Interconnected: The solution combines work and asset information with geographical data so City staff can spatially analyze work requests to uncover trends and problem areas.
Intelligent: Real-time insight into operations enables staff to identify recurring problems, actively institute preventative measures, evaluate the results and adjust repair frequencies as needed.
- Improved citizen services, including faster response time and increased percentage of citizens with continuous utility service
- Reduced operational costs with ability to accurately forecast labor requirements and increase percentage of planned work
- Inducted into Kaplan and Norton’s “Balanced Scorecard Hall of Fame,” making the City one of two U.S. cities recognized
- Recognized by Public Technology Inc. as the winner in the GIS Technology Solutions category
- IBM® Maximo® Asset Management
- ESRI ArcGIS
IBM Business Partner
- EMA, Inc.
For more information
To learn more about how IBM can help you transform your business, please contact your IBM sales representative or IBM Business Partner.
Visit us at: ibm.com/tivoli
For more information on EMA, Inc., visit: www.ema-inc.com
For more information on ESRI, visit: www.esri.com
Products and services used
IBM products and services that were used in this case study.
Maximo Asset Management
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