Nelmac and Nelson City Council save time and money using ArcGIS online.
If you’re looking for examples of how versatile ArcGIS technology can be, it would be hard to find a better source than our work with Nelson City Council and Nelmac. From the start of the day when field workers check job lists on their mobile devices, to year’s end when Nelmac and NCC review their outcomes, our solutions have helped reshape the way asset management happens in the Nelson region.
Nelmac are an asset management company whose work encompasses landscape architecture, planting and restoration, tracks and trails, refuse and recycling, and a number of other infrastructure and environmental management projects. Nelson City Council, the regional body serving a population of 100,000 and counting, contract Nelmac for management of parks and public spaces.
This work involves a wide and continually-evolving variety of tasks and challenges, with the number of people served by NCC growing by 5% per annum. On the ground, Nelmac’s work for NCC ranges from weed control and general maintenance in local parks, to track improvements and repairs on park benches. Managing this work efficiently calls for flexibility, forward planning, and excellent communication.
Nelmac approached us in 2018 to help improve some of their processes, including:
Smoothly providing work orders from NCC to Nelmac
Moving from a monthly work-plan conducted in person to a more flexible planning process
Making collaboration easier, both in and among Nelmac teams, and between Nelmac and NCC
Broadening online access to ArcGIS for workers and management.
As part of our work with Nelmac, we took over their entire ArcGIS online management story, hoping to identify areas where improvements could be made. We quickly realised that they could be applying ArcGIS much more widely across the entire organisation. Field operations could be made simpler using apps designed for workers to identify and prioritise jobs, while making ArcGIS apps available to managers would eliminate double-handling of data, reducing time spent on admin and enabling them to focus on more value-adding activities such as analysis and forward planning. We made it one of our goals to turn mapping technology into a core tool for many users, shaping they way they approached work from out in the field to back in the office.
ArcGIS Out in the Field
Using ArcGIS mapping technology, we were able to provide an easy-to-use and powerful set of tools for field workers. The list of jobs is displayed on a map that workers can access through their mobile devices using a fully interactive software app. NCC have segmented the map into regions and they assign tasks in each region to different field workers at different priority levels. As a natural workflow develops, map administrators can automate some of the steps involved in assigning tasks, meaning that putting in an order for new work involves only a couple of clicks. Field workers can easily look up what they have to do within any given time-frame by logging in on their tablet, opening the app and checking the list of jobs ranked by priority for the location they are working in.
Communication between the Council and workers isn’t just one-way traffic though – field operators can capture data on the ground and upload it for NCC to review. So if a restoration project is finished, the crew can instantly send pictures of the results; and if someone in the field finds evidence of asset deterioration or other issues that are not currently on the job list, they can document them right away, enabling the council to prioritise them.
ArcGIS Back in the Office
The use of the ArcGIS app by field workers generates a lot of rich data for Nelmac management and the NCC. They now have access to a continually updating log of their assets, along with a history of work that has been done and a list of jobs still to be completed. This means managers can easily determine how many people they need out in the field to get through the current workload; measure the performance of individual workers and identify areas for training; more effectively manage the lifetime of assets; and make well-informed decisions about maintenance and replacement of assets based on reliable data about costs.
Reviewing what work has been completed, what remains to be done, and how best to approach it is now a much smoother process for both NCC and Nelmac. Every month management do a work programme review, coming up with judgements about what is achievable in given time frames, and disseminating new goals and suggestions to field operators through the app. Nelmac and NCC meet at year’s end for a review in which they weigh the work that’s been completed against the work that was planned for the period. This means both organisations are much better equipped to determine what’s achievable for the coming year given the resources available.
Our work with Nelmac and the NCC provided us with a chance to show off the many ways ArcGIS can help large and complex organisations work smarter and smoother.
If you’re interested in how mapping tech can work for you, get in touch via: