Washoe County, which includes the cities of Reno, Sparks, and Lake Tahoe in northwestern Nevada, is growing fast. With 300 sunny days per year and plenty of opportunities for skiing, mountain biking and water sports, the county is a popular location, which experienced more than 5% population growth during the pandemic.
As the population increases, the county government must manage growing demands. Its Community Services Department Operations Division is responsible for equipment services, facilities management, roads, and utility operations. In the past, the division had five different work order management systems in place, and managing all the different systems made it impossible to accurately prioritize projects, says Aaron Smith, Business Intelligence Program Manager for the division. The county’s Community Services Department Operations Division needed to consolidate all its tasks, work orders and work history in one shared environment.
When Smith was hired in 2017, Washoe County was considering implementing a new software program to streamline and manage the projects of the Community Services Department. He quickly saw that the software program under consideration was not going to handle all the tasks that were needed. Brightly Asset Essentials was still under development, but after meeting with Brightly representatives and learning what the tool would do, Smith and his team decided to become early adopters.
“Having a cloud-based solution makes it so easy for everyone to use it from wherever they are,” Smith says. “Over the past six years, Asset Essentials has changed and evolved a lot, and it has been a great tool for us.”
Having a cloud-based solution makes it so easy for everyone to use it from wherever they are.
Business Intelligence Program Manager, Community Services Department
With Asset Essentials, Washoe County’s Community Services Department has a single source of truth to access data for making informed decisions. The software tracks labor costs, parts and materials for every work order and makes it easy for decision makers to get visibility of various needs.
For example, workers in the carpentry division “kept telling us we needed more carpenters, but those requests were only anecdotal,” Smith says. “Once we had clear data from Asset Essentials, we could see that about 25% of the work orders coming in were carpentry-related, but with our current staff, we were only able to do about 10% of those per year. Having that evidence allowed us to get two new positions in carpentry so we could better fulfill customer needs.”
Once we had clear data from Asset Essentials, we could see that about 25% of the work orders coming in were carpentry-related, but with our current staff, we were only able to do about 10% of those per year. Having that evidence allowed us to get two new positions in carpentry so we could better fulfill customer needs.
The solution has also helped improve communication inefficiencies. For example, in the past, when someone needed a job done in a facility, “they would just call the technician and shoulder tap them,” Smith says. “Now, we ask people to create a work order in Asset Essentials so we can prioritize those tasks. By being able to prioritize every work order, we’re able to focus on doing the tasks that will create more value in the limited time we have.”
Along with Asset Essentials, Washoe County is also using Brightly Predictor to help forecast future conditions based on current trends. For example, because the Community Services Department must compete with 23 other county departments for capital project funding, “we kept getting our facilities projects deferred for other things,” Smith says. “We wanted to come to the table with hard evidence and show the return on investment for funding these projects, or the negative outcomes of not funding them.”
Using Predictor, along with two years of data stored in Asset Essentials, Smith and his team created an “infrastructure health card” for all buildings and assets. Now, when they make a funding request, they use the system’s data and prediction tools to show the committee “what the future looks like based on different funding scenarios,” Smith says. With that evidence in hand, the department has recently been approved for capital funding requests.