For some time prior to the sequestration, many municipalities have been feeling the strain of budget cuts and making due with skeleton crews.  The sequestration, which is slated to kick in in early May and continue through 2014, will result in furloughs for government employees and budget cuts across “every program, project, and activity”, according to the Washington Post.  Given this climate, The City of Richland’s (in Eastern Washington) efforts to become a model of efficiency and economy are truly prescient.  Towards that end, it launched a five-year strategic plan, girded by seven guiding pillars.  Central to the plan are the two pillars to use collaborations to more cost-effectively minimize investments in existing assets and ensure a sustainable long-term maintenance program for existing facilities and infrastructures.
Pillars of the Community
Richland’s Parks and Facilities Manager, Tim Werner, foresaw that implementing the pillars would be extremely difficult without building maintenance software. To find a suitable solution, the City Manager asked the Parks and Recreation department to launch a pilot program.   The project sought a computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) system that could provide long-term asset life-cycle reporting by tracking maintenance costs and associating them to specific buildings and other assets, allowing the team to make “maintain vs. repair” decisions, analyze data in the cycle, and track expenses relative to the budget.
Werner had a large task ahead of him: the assets for all 10 city-owned buildings had to be matched to the city time keeping system, and, for each specific building ID and room #, each asset had to be accounted for, including: electrical equipment, roofing, and floors and walls, down to the square footage of carpet and sheet rock.   By setting up the CMMS in this way, an unprecedented level of asset integrity was created.  Now the team is rapidly able to initiate any work that needs to be done, procedures have been standardized across all sites, expenses can be easily traced to the exact location and staff member who performed them, and managers can accurately assess whether it is more cost-effective to maintain or replace a facility. The City of Richland continues to see the benefits of implementing eMaint’s CMMS & preventative maintenance software across all its facilities and buildings, which was instrumental in realizing the five-year plan’s seven pillars.