Public Works spends a lot of time and money fixing assets. But, your assets can benefit with the help of technology. In addition to Asset Management, the process to gather service requests can be immensely improved through deploying a 311 Mobile App. Here are six specific ways in which Public Works is able to provide better service, reduce resources, and save money.
Whether it's your own colleague, field worker, or a member of the public, you're worst Public Works nightmare should be a general apathy towards reporting issues with your assets. Because if you don't know something is broken, you can't fix it.
However, people will walk by a broken asset and assume that their local government just doesn't think maintenance and upkeep are a priority. It won't be fair, but you'll be blamed.
But, with a mobile app for reporting service requests, you can now empower citizens to do some of the work that has traditionally fallen to your employees: citizens in effect can act as eye balls out in the field and immediately crowdsource back to you information about broken assets.
2. Laser Accurate Location Data
Imagine this situation: You open your email first thing in the morning and your Public Works team has an email from a concerned citizen that reads: "There is a broken sidewalk near the hamburger stand on Main St. PLEASE FIX IT!"
When you try to understand this free-form, vague request, you quickly realize that you're going to need a strong cup of coffee this morning.
The citizen gave you no information about where on Main St, which restaurant is referenced, which side of the street, etc. That means you better get ready to send your technician out in the truck just to track down the issue.
Now imagine this same situation, but you receive a precise x,y coordinate, and the closest nearby address. No searching hamburger stands. No truck driving around burning gas.
By providing frictionless location data, there's no need to verify location. What's better, you can tie into your existing GIS system to ensure your authoritative data is providing precise information for you specifically and not some generic online map made by a search engine company.
3. Improved Communication with Citizens
Smart Cities aren't built in a day, or even a few months. It can take years to get on the right path to being a smart city. You have to stay up with the trends, innovation, and technology. But while that takes time, there are ways you can start building your strategy to prepare for the future, and one of those ways is to start with communication.
[bctt tweet="Prepare for the future of government - build your strategy, start with communication." username="Rock Solid"]
Once you communicate and are responsive to your citizens, you're signaling that you care about their concerns and you're working to better their community. This communication will reinforce your message that you're efforts are spent on bettering the lives of everyday citizens. This level of dialog and responsiveness will encourage citizens to continue caring about the assets that help drive life day in and day out.
4. No Training Required
If you're like most organizations, you don't have a 311 Call Center. And it's likely you've got to spend time, money, and resources training citizens about which department they are supposed to call for different issues.
But, the reality is that citizens don't care that, for example, Facility Maintenance and Streets are different departments. They want to easily submit an issue and they will default to taking the path of least resistance to report that issue.
[bctt tweet="Citizens want to easily submit an issue and they will default to taking the path of least resistance to report that issue #citizenexperience" username="Rock Solid"]
What ends up happening in most smaller Public Works departments, is that an administrate assistant becomes the default intaker of issues and internal router - talk about great job security!
With a 311 app, there is no user training or extensive tutorials, the ease-of-use means that people of all ages can open that app, use it from day 1, and never have to think about who to contact or where to search for a telephone number.
5. Cross-Department Issue Sharing
Public Works and Municipalities can't approach citizen services in a silo'd fashion. Your smart city mobile app should be configured to automatically transfer and dynamically route issues received to Public Works, Parks and Recreation, Utility Departments, and much more. Better yet, those issues should flow directly into the appropriate backend software system, such as Asset Management, Permitting and Licensing, and more, via a bi-directional integration.
6. Reduced Costs
Fixing issues with your assets will cost money and it counts against your Public Works budget, but you should receive credit for the number and complexity of work orders your team completes. What you don't receive credit for is all the work you do to assess your assets and plan repairs, but these important steps in the process still require money.
A 311 Mobile App will help you spend less on these activities that drain resources and add costs but drive no real benefit in regards to improving your assets. For example, according to Gartner, depending on the channel that a citizen contacts your department your team spends $9.00 on a walk-in, $5.00 on live telephone calls, and $3.00 on an emailed issue. With a 311 Mobile App, you can drive the per contact costs down to less than $1.00.
Also, every time you send out that truck for a verification roll, you are further using the up budget for non-asset improving activities. Conservatively, a single verification truck roll can cost $48.62.