While water and waste might often take a back seat in the minds of most Virginians, Anthony Browning, Asset Management Specialist at Bedford Water Authority, operates on a different wavelength. Browning oversees the assets that ensure a steady flow of water to over 20,000 homes and businesses.
“We are farther ahead than most water and wastewater companies, and that is because we stay at the forefront of efficient operations,” said Browning.
Bedford Water Authority transitioned to cloud-based operations and unlocked a new era of efficiency. Previously, Bedford’s on-premise system posed limitations regarding flexibility, integration capabilities, and reporting functionalities. The Authority invested in Cartegraph Asset Management, now part of the OpenGov cloud, to up-level operations and efficiency and introduce a preventative maintenance program that leveraged the software’s ArcGIS integration to access the benefits of GIS in its work.
“ [OpenGov] has given us more flexibility and more easily integrates with Esri ArcGIS Online. It also gives us better ways of reporting our tasks and activities.”
– Anthony Browning, Asset Management Specialist, Bedford Water Authority
Preventative Maintenance Program Guarantees Assets Are Checked Monthly
Bi-directional Integration with Esri ArcGIS Online for Seamless Location Information Sharing
More Strategic Decisions on Hiring with Access to Better Data
Time Savings on 100+ Different Work Orders With Automation Capabilities
Improved Automation Benefits All Staff
Browning creates up to 1,000 work orders each month in OpenGov Asset Management. These tasks are then automatically assigned to operators and updated once completed.
“I have built a lot of automation scripts for different processes, which makes everything easier. For example, when our Maintenance Department completes a task, a new task will automatically be created if concrete or asphalt needs to be replaced. We have over 100 automations currently active,” said Browning.
On the operational front, the task becomes notably smoother for the maintenance and operations department. With manuals and pertinent documents seamlessly linked to each asset within OpenGov, they can effortlessly access precise information required for their tasks.
“It saves a ton of time for the operations department. Before, each operator would have to locate the manuals for each asset themselves, and sometimes those were hard to find,” said Browning.
Bedford also uses conditional logistic automation to streamline water testing, proactively preventing unsafe water from reaching citizens. When a leak is detected, the technician assesses the severity and records it as a task in OpenGov Asset Management. Based on the severity, the system automatically triggers a task for water operations to collect a biological sample if necessary.
“We use OpenGov to be more proactive during our water testing process. We collect the samples to make sure the water is safe for the citizens. It’s all about keeping our customers safe,” said Browning.
Shifting the Maintenance Mindset
Another innovative practice that Browning introduced is the Authority’s Preventative Maintenance Program.
Previously, the Water Authority took a reactionary approach to maintenance: “We could have had a catastrophic moment at any point in time because nothing was being properly maintained,” said Browning.
Now, every asset, from fire hydrants to bio-wheels, is checked proactively depending on what the manufacturer’s recommendation.
“The other day, we noticed a chain on a bio-wheel that looked like it was about to break during a maintenance check. Luckily, we caught it, or the whole wheel would have broken quickly. It only took us one hour to fix the chain,” said Browning.
Browning is looking forward to implementing OpenGov’s Scenario Builder, which helps maximize the life of assets and reduces the risk for declining infrastructure. “It’s a great tool to identify and prioritize which lines need to be replaced,” said Browning.
“In the first few days of starting the preventative maintenance program in OpenGov Asset Management, we already discovered several pieces of equipment that had never even had an oil change,” said Browning.
Empowered Workforce Planning
Browning also uses OpenGov to pull telling statistics to share with department leaders. Because each operator electronically logs each task’s duration, Browning can pull a cumulative report of labor and see trends across water and wastewater projects.
“OpenGov Asset Management has been instrumental in hiring. Not just how many more people we need to hire, but what types of people we need and what skillsets they need to have,” said Browning.
From innovative and preventative maintenance practices to data-driven decision-making, Bedford Water Authority is navigating challenges with newfound agility and setting the stage for a successful future.
About Anthony Browning
Anthony Browning has been working at the Bedford Water Authority for 19 years. Before that, he worked in banking, procurement, customer service, and IT. Browning is an avid learner and takes great pride in knowing the ins and outs of the water and wastewater cycle – a complex subject he finds “completely fascinating!” Outside work, you can find Browning on the pickleball court, crafting award-winning Adirondack chairs in his woodshed, and spending time with his two sons and wife of 32 years.
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