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New software better manages parks and facilities

Riddle: what’s not so obvious to the average park user, but would be sorely missed if gone? Answer: maintenance! Or more accurately, the sheer amount of it needed to keep our parks going. If we could look through the eyes of the park employees who keep Seattle’s green spaces, community centers, and pools in good shape, we’d see thousands of smaller parts and processes all needing to be inventoried, maintained, or upgraded – all on different schedules, and all within budget.

As our city has grown, park and community center use has also increased. Not long ago, it became apparent that Seattle Parks and Recreation needed to upgrade the systems that track everything related to Seattle’s 485 parks, 26 community centers, 10 pools, and various other properties. In 2014, the voter-approved Seattle Park District provided the funds for SPR to purchase a new, integrated asset management and work order system (AMWO). This custom software improves and integrates the way SPR collects and reports data on all properties, parts and processes. Work planning and scheduling, and cost-estimating and tracking are also vastly improved. AMWO pulls previously disparate and sometimes conflicting information into one spot, providing a common framework and basis from which to work. And the first order of business is enabling SPR to more efficiently tackle a $267 million major maintenance backlog.

Efficiencies, information and communication are increasing as the new system continues to be adopted and integrated by staff. Take, for example, the maintenance work order process. Each of the region of the city has a dedicated team assigned to upkeep park assets within certain boundaries. The old system was paper-based; crew chiefs handed out work assignments on paper copies. Crew members marked these up after performing the work, and passed them back to the office. These notes were then entered into an online system by another employee. With the AMWO software, each maintenance crew member logs in to a computer in the field and gets immediate updates on work assignments. They can simultaneously log time spent on tasks and report ongoing status of a particular project, all in the same asset record in the database, while still onsite.

Implementation of AMWO began in autumn of 2016. As data begins to accrue, it will more accurately track maintenance and upgrade needs and cycles. The new software will ensure that SPR takes the best possible care of our valuable community assets.

Here are some other benefits AMWO provides to help improve one of the country’s premier park systems:

  • Ease of access for internal and external customers to data about SPR’s assets
  • Elimination of duplicate work; version control
  • Increased knowledge about SPR inventory
  • Improved capital planning
  • Updated facility assessment data
  • “Cradle-to-grave” asset planning
  • Increased transparency
  • More efficient tracking of costs associated with maintenance and repair of assets
  • Extending the useful life of assets

SPR is eager to pass on the benefits of the new software system to residents and visitors! For more information on the AMWO project, check out Assetworks’ case study of its work with SPR.