The District of Columbia Water & Sewer Authority (DC Water) has been able to increase turnaround times and technician productivity, reduce downtime, and gain tighter control over departmental expenses since implementing a robust software system in August 2012.
DC Water provides retail water and wastewater (sewer) services to the District of Columbia, as well as wholesale wastewater treatment services to Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland, Fairfax and Loudoun Counties in Virginia.
The fleet department is staffed with 33 employees, including 22 technicians. The utility operates more than 690 vehicles and associated equipment, from executive cars to commercial trucks. The most frequently used units are the heavy equipment pieces (235). The units perform a variety of functions in various areas of operation, including catch basin, sewer cleaning, water services installations, meter reading, valve turning, repair, jet vacs, testing, water main repairs, and clean rivers (trash hunters), among others., according to Timothy Fitzgerald, fleet director for DC Water.
Vehicles are generally replaced after 10 years, depending on type, unit, and need.
Implementing the Software
DC Water rolled out Chevin Fleet Solutions’ FleetWave system across the organization in August 2012. “Since using the FleetWave software, we’re a more efficient operation by far. Real-time reporting has enhanced our ability to manage forward. We have reduced turnaround times by 30% and downtime by 20%,” said Timothy Fitzgerald, fleet director for DC Water. “We’ve also noticed dramatic improvements in technician productivity rates since implementing FleetWave using touch screen kiosks. All of which are contributing to huge cost savings for DC Water.”
DC Water’s uniquely configured system consists of a wide range of modules designed to introduce major efficiencies into existing DC Water practices, such as:
Maintenance: automatically schedules repair and maintenance tasks for fleet vehicles, flags looming compliance details such as pending, due or past due inspections, automatically emails detailed, in-depth reports and KPIs relating to technician productivity to all relevant personnel.
Vehicle orders: automates and streamlines the management of equipment procurement and specifications, while providing complete audit capabilities.
Motor pool: facilitates a simpler and more direct means for employees to access and reserve vehicles without reducing the control and visibility of the motor pool by the fleet department.
Accident management: records and manages all details relating to damaged vehicles in need of repair, insurance claim processing, driver training, and even compliance oversight.
Drivers: ensures all driver-related information is stored securely and available for scrutiny at the click of a mouse and allows the fleet team to assess trends relating to driver behavior and ensure compliance with internal policies and mandatory legislation while receiving automated alerts relating to potential exposure posed by the authority’s drivers.
One of the most valuable benefits Fitzgerald cited with the software is the ability to automatically track and measure the organization’s key performance indicators, which he believes provides his team with the needed insights for smart decision making. “If we cannot measure it, we cannot manage it,” Fitzgerald said.
“Our fleet management system allows us to manage in real-time as events happen, whether we are ordering parts or managing a request for service,” he continued. The software allows the utility to create dashboard views of all aspects to operations, from technician productivity to the daily budget.
"We maintain a 96% overall availability at all times," Fitzgerald said. "We hold ourselves accountable for all events as they happen and we have learned a great deal throughout this partnership. We challenge ourselves to get to the right answers expeditiously as we know things are not always as they seems. We have implemented a systematic approach to planning our maintenance program based on type of resources, experience, PM kits, predictive maintenance and the ability to manage our decisions based on knowledge sharing.”
Making sure all staff members take responsibility in their roles is key to the successful operation of the fleet. “If I own the process, I can better manage the assets,” he added.