Diamond Customers – Customers Using PubWorks 10 Years +
PubWorks is not only the best asset management software for small- to medium-sized public works departments and service districts, but it pays to stick with PubWorks over the long haul.
We spoke with several of PubWorks’ “diamond customers,” who have used the software for 10 years or more, and all reported that the affordably priced program enables them not only to understand and organize their overall workflow, but to perform virtually any task more efficiently, owing to the accurate records of every project and every deployment of manpower, material or equipment.
Snowmass Village, CO
Consider the Town of Snowmass Village in Colorado, one of PubWorks’ earliest customers. This small resort municipality only has 35 lane-miles of road, but it’s a ski resort town at 8,200 feet above sea level in the Rocky Mountains. It’s not uncommon for Road Supervisor John Baker and his men to remove a foot of snow from the town’s roadways. And if they can’t get the job done, then skiers don’t reach the mountain and commuters don’t get to work. Using PubWorks’ GIS capabilities, Baker’s crews have been able to tweak and sharpen their plowing routes, saving time and money.
“Because of the way we track those routes, we don’t overlap,” he said. “PubWorks has helped us refine our snow removal so we’re more efficient.”
With years of data at his fingertips, Baker can prepare and plan for any project. He knows the rough cost difference between plowing a one-inch snowstorm and a six-incher, and he knows exactly how many man-hours and which tools it’ll take to repair a ditch, replace a sign or hang a special-event banner. He’s done each of those things many times before, and there’s a record of every job.
Perhaps even more important, he can browse around in PubWorks, explore how and where the department is spending money, and act in the interest of public safety.
“Is that stop sign getting hit all the time? Maybe we need to move it,” he says. “Do we need a guardrail on that road? If we’re seeing a lot of accidents in a certain place, then maybe we ought to cut down a few trees there for sight distance.”
From the big, systemic picture to the smallest everyday details, PubWorks offers a single, versatile lens to view the complete workings of a department. It’s user-friendly, even for the employees who don’t like technology, and as long as the data is properly entered, it forms an airtight record of every move the department makes. In the end, this eliminates guesswork from project estimates and enables department heads to report activities and costs accurately to elected officials, citizens, the media and anyone else who wants to know.
Reno County, KS
Out on the plains of Reno County, the third-largest county in Kansas, Tina McComb is the PubWorks point person for her department. She says simply that, “all the information is right there,” which makes her life considerably easier.
“You can pull up almost any kind of report you want to in a matter of minutes,” she said. “You can print a total project report, or you can break it down by labor or equipment. If architects or geology tests were involved, then we can break it down however we’d like to.”
She can find a work history for any bridge, road or stretch of road. She can find out who did what, how long it took them and what equipment they needed to complete the job. Sometimes, a county board member will ask an unusual question, but the answers are easily found in PubWorks.
“We’ve even been asked how many contractors or vendors we have,” she recalled. “We were able to go into our list and just answer the question. They were quite amazed we’d have that many payables going out.”
PubWorks was a huge leap forward from the county’s former system, a poorly integrated combination of three or four programs, including pencil-and-paper service requests. “PubWorks has to have saved money. I don’t have a figure, but just having the one program compared to the four we were using before — imagine the IT people maintaining four separate systems.”
PubWorks also demonstrated its value in 2007, shortly after the Reno County purchased the software, when federal flood disasters were declared and McComb’s department had to respond. When the Federal Emergency Management Administration declares a disaster, it opens a pipeline for federal payments to cover the local agencies’ costs of responding to the event.
“PubWorks broke down each task that was done during the disaster, and then our FEMA reps chose which of those tasks could be reimbursed,” McComb explained. “Before (PubWorks) that would have been really difficult, if they’d even have been able to do it.”
Crew Chief Paula Green of Wells, Maine, has experienced the same ease of reporting to both FEMA and her town council, thanks to PubWorks. In her beach town on Maine’s southern coastline, the population and car traffic swells with tourists and cottage owners in the summer, and PubWorks has been helpful in obtaining reimbursements from insurance companies.
“Say we have a car accident that’s damaged a guardrail or signpost,” she said. “We can go back and document that accident, use that information to submit a bill to the insurance company. It’s not a huge thing but it does come in handy, probably 20 times in a summer.”
Wells has used PubWorks for 10 years. Green hasn’t generated actual numbers, but she is certain that PubWorks saves taxpayer money by ensuring she knows the scope of virtually every project she launches — from the number of workers to the size of the bolts.
“You know ahead of time what you’re going to need, so you’re not running back and forth to the shop for materials and equipment,” she said. “You can look back and see what was done last year on a similar job or the same job.”
Fundamentally, PubWorks enables public employees to be credible and accountable to their bosses and to the public. In a time when government agencies are under the microscope, keeping accurate data is just as important to a public works department as fixing potholes.
“Overall,” said Snowmass Village’s John Baker, “it helps us to be more transparent. When people are upset, we can give them the information they need.”
“Our department is just a caretaker for the community, a caretaker of their resources,” Baker added, “and PubWorks helps us to manage that so the public can see and understand.”