South Dakota’s Game, Fish and Parks manages over 60 parks, hundreds of wildlife management areas, and public water access sites. With increasing demand to keep parks in tip-top shape combined with a dwindling workforce impacting state agencies across the country, the team knew they needed to streamline.
The Department decided to take work orders, inspections, and asset management to the cloud. This transition automated previously manual tasks and digitized paper-based processes, including inspections. By adopting the system, the department reduced travel time significantly and enabled data-driven decisions through customized dashboards, benefiting maintenance programs, workforce planning, and habitat restoration goals.
Streamlined Communication Between Departments with Photo Capabilities During Inspections
Automated Data Collection Provides a Comprehensive Project Overview for Supervisors
Before implementing Cartegraph Asset Management, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks did not have a proper work-order system. Each team within the state-wide agency had an ad hoc way of tracking maintenance tasks, using a large collection of manually updated spreadsheets, bulleted lists on an office whiteboard, and lots and lots of Post-it notes. “People would track things by memory and forget it, or write things down on random pieces of paper, and it would never be seen again,” said Heather Berg, GIS Program Specialist.
The lack of data and chaotic task management caused routine maintenance to get overlooked. Seasonal staff would waste more time driving around from park to park completing a handful of assignments then tracking down their supervisor to get the next sets of tasks to complete than the time it took to get the work done.
“Now that we have a real-time list of tasks that can be updated in an instant, our team saves tons of driving time. They don’t have to go back and forth,” said Berg.
Today, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks uses Cartegraph Asset Management to conduct all annual Risk Management and Maintenance inspections. Initially, Berg and her team had concerns about transitioning to this technologically advanced method of inspection tracking through a mobile app, especially for their 125 full-time staff members. They assumed getting all employees on board would require hours and hours of training.
To their surprise, training was a piece of cake: “Within 10 minutes of walking staff through the mobile app, they had the confidence to run with it!” said Berg.
Descriptive Inspections with Minimal Effort
Aside from annual inspections, the agency also uses Cartegraph Asset Management to track biweekly playground and monthly lagoon inspections.
The form for each inspection within the mobile app is straightforward and composed of a single question, a notes section, and the option to add pictures with a time stamp. “A lot of times, the person doing the inspection is not the same person doing the repairs, so that is really where the photos come in handy,” said Berg.
Offline Inspecting Capability Saves 2 Hours of Driving Each Day
Many of the larger state parks do not have the strongest Wi-Fi connection. Before updating their process to include online maps and tasking, inspectors had to take all their notes on paper and then return to the office to load them into the asset management system.
“The office to our largest state park is at least a half-hour drive and can take even longer during tourist season, so eliminating that extra time drive time back and forth has been a game changer. Now they can enter inspection data on their tablet, even without Wi-Fi,” said Berg.
Dashboards and Reporting
South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks is capturing data to make more strategic decisions regarding maintenance priorities, workforce planning, and habitat restoration goals.
With all project, inspection, and maintenance data captured in Cartegraph Asset Management, Berg created a comprehensive overview of inspection results for park supervisors, allowing them to filter and distinguish which assets meet standards and which do not.
The dashboard also allows supervisors to identify task performance, as it records how many tasks and which type of task every staff member performs for a given period, distinguishing between inspection-related activities and year-round projects.
Berg has also customized dashboards to track specific goals: “Our Leadership team really cares about habitat preservation, so we created a dashboard that tracks exactly how many projects we have done concerning trees, grassland, and wetland restoration and the acres impacted.”
South Dakota’s Game, Fish and Parks has significantly improved their operations since the adoption of Cartegraph Asset Management. Berg and team streamlined inspections, eliminating unnecessary travel, and gained valuable data insights for better maintenance, workforce planning, and project goals. This technology-driven transition has enhanced efficiency, allowing the agency to get more done amidst a leaner workforce.
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