How St. Charles Parish is Going Paperless with AssetWorks EAM
Located on the banks of the Mississippi River, St. Charles Parish, Louisiana is home to approximately 53,000 people and even more assets. Responsible for the maintenance of over 60,000 assets, the St. Charles Parish public works team strives to live by its mission statement: to provide the best possible roads and systems to ensure the safety and security of parish residents and their properties.
Within the organization, the St. Charles Parish team recognized that their existing processes needed to change.
“We were spending money on assets that probably should have been phased out of our organization,” said Meme Fortier, Automation Control Technician, “But we had no way to keep track of the costs incurred by the assets.” Without a concrete way to track costs over the life of an asset, the organization had to rely on the memories of their employees.
They also needed to know what costs stemmed from repairs or preventive maintenance, but did not have a preventive maintenance schedule in place.
“Recognizing that we did not have either of these things, we realized that we had no way of making efficient reports for any information we might want,” continued Mrs. Fortier.
Selecting AssetWorks EAM
To combat their challenges, the St. Charles Parish team published an RFP for a Work Order Management and Asset Inventory Software Solution. They ultimately selected AssetWorks Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and the EAM Connect mobile application.
“[AssetWorks EAM] met most of the requirements requested in the RFP and was very impressive in many areas,” said Terry Breaux, Senior Automation Control Technician, “In addition, in checking the references given, the software had a good reputation.”
One of the Parish’s main goals for its new EAM system was to create a preventive maintenance plan for their current and future assets.
“Our organization was acting more reactively than proactively,” said Mrs. Fortier, “We’re getting to an age where we, as an organization, can be held responsible for events that happen and we felt that [AssetWorks EAM] could help show we are being proactive with the maintenance of our assets.”
The Parish also wanted to manage their assets more efficiently through technology.
“Sometimes we move assets around and forget what assets are where,” said CarlyJo Cantrelle, Maintenance Processor, “We would have to rely on someone else’s memory and hope it was accurate.”
Within EAM, Parish employees can look up an asset to determine its location and maintenance history, and use that data to determine whether the asset is worth keeping or retiring.
As demands for information occur more and more, the Parish needed to improve their reporting capabilities. The Parish receives many information requests from within the organization, outside organizations and the public. They needed to use EAM to create a complete history of their assets so they wouldn’t have to “go fishing through paperwork for days, maybe weeks, to find information.”
Lastly, the team at St. Charles Parish wanted to save space and go paperless with their asset management and maintenance procedures. “We wanted to have a history of our assets at the tips of our fingers,” said Mr. Breaux. Before EAM, the organization would have to rifle through filing cabinets and boxes of paperwork until they found the information they needed. In some cases, the information would be damaged beyond recognition or never found.
Implementation and Staff Training
With over 100 employees projected to use EAM and EAM Connect, the Parish separated the implementation into groups. The first planned group has been through the complete implementation process, with the next set of groups currently going through the implementation process.
“We have observed an improvement in our documented information on our assets,” said Mr. Breaux.
Confusion or resistance is a common challenge when implementing new software, and the Parish was not immune to the challenge. “We lacked preparedness and teaching backup,” continued Ms. Cantrelle, “which caused confusion and resistance.”
To combat the challenges surrounding implementation, the Parish suggests appointing champions strictly dedicated to EAM within the organization to really learn the software first, before bringing the rest of the users into the software environment. They also suggest, when starting from scratch (no legacy software), allotting longer than a year for a full implementation. “It will take longer than you originally planned,” Mrs. Fortier emphasized.
Benefits of EAM
Before investing in AssetWorks EAM, St. Charles Parish was operating as a reactive organization, meaning they performed maintenance after an asset failed in order to repair it. With EAM, they plan to become a proactive organization. With the data provided by EAM, Parish employees can manage their assets in a more efficient way, leading to cleaner data, effective reporting and a streamlined maintenance schedule.
EAM Connect Mobile App
The Parish was looking for something that could give field personnel an easy transition to going paperless with as little confusion and push back as possible.
“We believe that EAM Connect gives our users a simpler way to use the system,” said Mrs. Fortier. “It has less things to click and less to distract you. We feel that this gives our users a better chance to understand the changes our organization is making to go paperless.”
Parish employees are using EAM Connect on LTE capable iPads and Windows devices. The employees using EAM Connect are all field personnel, or employees that would only use the Technician Portal within the EAM system.
Originally, the Parish had everyone working in a way where they would have to be connected to the Parish’s internal network in order to download and upload any work or information needed. They would have to be in the office to turn in or receive their work. Since the initial implementation of EAM, they have swapped some of the users over to using EAM Connect through a public IP address, which means they can download or upload their work or get information from anywhere they have a cellular connection.
“We have found that it lessens the amount of errors we get because their work orders are updated as they are filled out,” continued Mrs. Fortier.
“A continued friendship with tech support, project managers and all AssetWorks staff is anticipated by our organization for years to come,” said Mrs. Fortier.