Bad Dürkheim Works Department
Mobile service capturing reduces time and workloads
The Bad Dürkheim Works Department has to handle an extremely diverse range of tasks. Responsible for all duties related to parks and landscaping, streets and cityscape, traffic and safety, services for local government facilities and town administration, machine maintenance, transportation, civil engineering, and cemetery maintenance, the 50 employees handle around 400 individual orders and more than 130 standing orders each year. In the past, all of this work created an immense amount of data entry, paper, and writing work, which the municipal entity divided into the four areas of administration, landscaping, utilities, and vehicle workshop had to complete. Administrative entries into the resource books alone totaled approx. 55,000 each year.
In view of this heavy workload, which was almost impossible to meet with available personnel, project managers began looking for a more efficient approach in 2010. They wanted to find a solution that could eliminate the need to record operational services on paper, instead using a mobile device. However, the solution also needed to maintain at least the same level of documentation. Bad Dürkheim felt the module for mobile service data recording recently developed by Axians Infoma was a promising possibility.
Having launched Infoma newsystem financial accounting in the town administration in 2004 – in the single-entry version at that time – the Works Department was already using the integrated Infoma newsystem Municipal departments module. For Works Department Manager André Schuff, it was a decision that ensured much better organizational and informational processes in departmental operations: “Commercial booking to cost center groups and payers, for instance, allowed us to implement our goal of cost and results accounting in practice. And there were lots of different options that we could take advantage of for smart controlling when calculating hourly rates or necessary resource data.”
When the city switched over to the ‘New Local Budgeting, Accounting and Reporting System’ by Axians Infoma in 2009, they were able to adopt and continue working with most of their existing Works Department data. Connected to the town hall by a data cable, the branch office also makes use of another direct advantage: The integrated solution allows all invoices to be transferred and booked directly in the system.
With these experiences, and with the backing of the staff council, Bad Dürkheim project managers had no trouble deciding to become pilot users of mobile service data capturing. Even just the initial demonstration showed them that the Infoma newsystem module was a finished product ready to fulfill almost all of the Works Department’s requirements. In addition to the ability to certify services, commercial benefits in the areas of service data capturing (reports) and warehouse management were very important. Standing or individual orders, employees or work groups, vehicles and machines, work locations and types, and materials are all provided on the mobile devices. Back transfers allow the quantities, time periods, and resources recorded by employees to be automatically allocated to existing orders. This helps avoid incorrect or duplicate manual entries.
After the first few months of use, André Schuff already saw a significant change in their administrative work: “Since data is booked directly to the order at the push of a button, the administrator simply needs to check and make sure it’s correct. This is a very small amount of work compared to the entries we used to have to make, and we can use the time we save to do other things.”
Even the launch phase didn’t take much time. In addition to the fact that the product was already very well developed, intensive collaboration between the provider, the IT administration, and the Works Department helped everything go smoothly. The Axians Infoma team made small adjustments and additions as needed, whenever everyday use by employees suggested an improvement. These included, for instance, manual additions to the tasks saved (payers) or automatic downloads of new data when the devices are placed on the docking station. Employees only needed two hours of training by Axians Infoma before they were ready to get started using the devices in practice.
The Works Department Manager feels that introducing mobile data capturing in Utilities for the borough of Wachtendonk was beneficial: “That gave us an opportunity to talk to one another. This has already helped us with organizational problems.”
Three mobile EDAs (EDA = Enterprise Digital Assistent) are in use in Bad Dürkheim in various areas, and others are planned. Employees feel mobile service data capturing greatly reduces their workloads. “Everyone is very satisfied with the input function, and especially with the fact that they don’t have to fill out time sheets anymore,” André Schuff says. “Input is quick and easy after just a short initial training, since you can add ‘your’ data, like group employees, standing orders, primary duties, vehicles, etc… as your favorites.”
The Works Department Manager set a time frame of one year as a test phase, in order to be able to make minor adjustments to the organization or program as necessary in ongoing operations. However, the primary goal is to equip as many work groups as possible with mobile devices, helping to reduce the amount of paperwork in administrative areas. In addition, André Schuff wants clients to be able to enter work orders directly into the Infoma newsystem system. He is planning to introduce paperless invoicing to clients at the push of a button in 2012: “This project would represent a major step away from paper, while still allowing us to create order management and accountancy that would be transparent for everyone.”