800.738.9892

Yearly Archives: 2018

CitiTech Newsletter November 2018

 General Asset Management with CitiTech Management Software (CMS) increases performance and saves money.

Note from the Editor

Hello! 

Read on to meet our new Guru, check the news, and find out what’s new! …

Read More

 
General Asset Management with CitiTech Management Software (CMS) increases performance and saves money.

CitiTech News

As 2018 draws to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on what we’ve done this year and what we have planned for 2019.…

Read More

 
Inspections with CitiTech Management Software (CMS) increases performance and saves money.

What’s New?

MORE Report Changes!

The reporting module in CMS is undergoing EVEN MORE exciting revisions and improvements, thanks to input from you…. 

Read More

 
General Asset Management with CitiTech Management Software (CMS) increases performance and saves money. increases performance and saves money.

Guru’s Corner

New GURU!

We’re proud to introduce our new CitiTech team member to you, our Customers!….

Read More

  
Fema Flames

Features & Functionality

FEMA Functionality in CMS Makes FEMA Documentation Easy! 

In the U.S., likely natural disasters include hurricanes …  

Read More

 

 
Fema Flames

 

Cool Stuff!

Business Process Improvement (BPI) – what is it, and how can my organization achieve it? …

Read More

Editor’s Note

Hello!

 

Read on to meet our new Guru, check the news, and find out what’s new!  Learn more about CMS features, and find out about BPI in the “Cool Stuff!” section. 

Enjoy the newsletter, consider being featured in the next one, and keep the suggestions and feedback coming.  We’ll listen.

By Tari Muth

CitiTech News

As 2018 draws to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on what we’ve done this year and what we have planned for 2019.

Thanks in large measure to the Alabama Department of Transportation, we devoted a significant amount of time to improving CMS performance; both in terms of how we present data on the screen and how we report information. Our greatest strength has been our ability to collect huge amounts of information and use advanced tools and techniques to deliver mission-essential information. With these huge data sets, large users such as the Alabama and Mississippi Departments of Transportation were experiencing unacceptable delays in processing Daily Work Reports or generating complex reports for a year’s worth of data, such as the Work Report Transaction Detail Report.

We focused on improving data entry and reporting performance and are pleased to report that CMS now delivers comprehensive reports for extended date ranges in minutes, rather than hours. Collecting data in Daily Work Reports, a critical and required step, has improved as well.  Improving performance in data collection and reporting was an important effort that required several months to improve and is now available to all users. This improvement is an example of how users help us identify and resolve stress points and improve CMS functionality.

Since we’ve made significant performance improvements, we are now shifting our focus to bridging the gap by enhancing web and mobile functionality.  CMS has a proven track record as a desktop application.  We are currently researching the most effective methods of providing connectivity to remote users without sacrificing performance or functionality.  Our goal is to provide a consistent workflow across most prevalent operating systems without sacrificing productivity regardless of internet connectivity.

We’re excited about this future functionality in addition to our Desktop application. It will allow CMS users to use Work eOrders on tablets and/or cell phones in the field where they can be completed and saved. We’ve already developed at least one proof-of-concept prototype. As we get closer to having fully-developed applications, we’ll announce them and welcome CMS users to be beta testers.

And, finally… best wishes for the upcoming Holiday Season. We hope 2019 brings you good health and happiness.

By Brian McKiernan

What’s New?  MORE Report Changes!

The reporting module in CMS is undergoing EVEN MORE exciting revisions and improvements, thanks to input from you.  

Once you get the latest update, you’ll notice that the report screen has changed.  A few improvements we’ve made:  the Date Range prompt is now on the screen (rather than having to click on “View Report” to be prompted), you can now view the new Data Reader reports using many different file types (like crystal report, adobe pdf file, excel spreadsheet, text, or Microsoft word document), and buttons that clear, reset, or save the filter(s).   

The traditional reporting mechanism generates a memory Data Set containing data and is fed to a crystal report document.  When reporting requests cover multi-year date ranges or use wide-open selection criteria (or no selection criteria at all), these memory datasets would sometimes exceed the capacity of the .NET framework to hold such huge amounts of data. 

The new approach, which is being rolled out in increments, uses a Data Reader.  This sends a continuous stream of data that is fed by the database (instead of holding all the data at once).   The Data Reader will continuously provide information to the crystal report document (or other file type), thus lessening or eliminating the occurrence of Out-of-Memory exceptions.  Additionally, you can look forward to your reports being generated much faster!

Changes started with the large reports that have often caused users issues when trying to run huge date ranges.  We have revised the reports we initially released, to improve accuracy and also to fix several scenarios we didn’t originally take into account, all thanks to our customers’ feedback.  They are now faster and more accurate.

More reports that use the Data Reader are coming in future Web Updates… so stay tuned!   

By Tari Muth 

Guru’s Corner – New GURU!

We’re proud to introduce our new CitiTech team member to you, our Customers!  

Meet Todd Bagley, our new developer, who hails from Wisconsin.  Todd served in the Air Force as a Russian linguist and a Pararescueman after school. After completing his service he began working in the technology sector, focusing on AI and machine-learning using logistic regression.  This led him to developing aircraft systems for the military, where he developed autonomous systems for the Predator and Reaper, also serving as a pilot on overseas assignments. In his spare time, Todd still pursues his love of flying along with the creative endeavors of music and photography.

Todd has been developing process-centric applications for 20 years and is looking forward to bringing this experience to CitiTech.  

Welcome to the CitiTech team!

By Tari Muth

Features & Functionality

FEMA Functionality in CMS Makes FEMA Documentation Easy! 

In the U.S., likely natural disasters include hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, heat waves, droughts, cold waves, snowstorms, blizzards, landslides/mudslides, wildfires, famine, earthquakes, and tsunamis.  Or, earthquakes FOLLOWED by tsunamis (1964). And last – but not least – volcanoes!

No one needs to tell you, none of them are fun.  Chances are you know someone affected, or have been affected yourself.  Deaths, injuries, and damage paralyze communities, and it will take months – or years – to recover.

Flooding across the Midwest in June 2008 affected more than 11 million people, the most people affected by a natural disaster in U.S. history.  Wildfires cost lives and acreage.  More than 10 MILLION acres were lost in 2015!

Unfortunately, natural disasters will happen.  However, if the disaster is documented, FEMA will reimburse some of the costs for emergency operations and disaster cleanup. 

CMS allows you to set up a disaster record, and tie FEMA rates to YOUR rates (so rates match what FEMA will reimburse, regardless of what you usually charge for equipment).  When you specify the disaster in a Work Report, CMS captures those “alternate” rates for the reports you’ll need, making it easy to submit paperwork to FEMA for reimbursement.  Check it out!

Here’s where I got my facts about natural disasters:

https://www.statista.com/topics/1714/natural-disasters/

By Tari Muth

Cool Stuff!

Business Process Improvement (BPI) – what is it, and how can my organization achieve it?  Business Process Improvement (BPI) is an approach designed to help organizations redesign their existing business operations to accomplish significant improvement in production. Effective BPI helps to generate promising results in operational efficiency and customer focus.

BPI, when implemented by means of a structured methodology, helps organizations to reduce their operational costs and cycle time, enhance customer service and improve the quality of their services.

The significance of BPI is remarkable in today’s competitive market as work processes are extensively affected by technology. An effective way to achieve a successful Business Process Improvement is to concentrate more on the business requirement than on the technology used to achieve the solution. 

BPI aims to reduce waste and/or variation in processes to achieve the desired outcome by using existing resources in a better way. The ultimate goal of BPI is to bring out a drastic change in an organization’s performance, rather than bringing out the changes in incremental steps.

Because BPI implementation is a project, all project management principles apply. This ensures well-organized improvement processes without any conflicts.

In a simplistic view, these steps can be defined like this: 

  1. Define the existing processes and structure in the organization.
  2. Identify the outcomes that would add value in achieving the organization’s objectives and the best ways to align the organization’s processes to achieve these outcomes.
  3. Reorganize the workforce in the organization based on the desired outcomes by means of the various tools available in the BPI process.

More than one approach exists.  For example, I found one website that uses information developed by researching methodologies employed by institutions of higher learning called “RAPID Process Improvement Methodology”.  It’s a customized way to assess business processes and make recommendations for improvement.  If you ever wonder how to get started, this website contains checklists, how-to guides, samples, and templates!

Their steps are:  Review the Problem, Assess the Current State, Plan for Change, Implement Changes, and Determine Success.

CMS can help you improve the process!  Work smarter, not harder.  One great example of using CMS to improve processes is Mississippi Department of Transportation.  They analyzed one activity (mowing) and found one district was more cost-efficient than the rest.  By standardizing that district’s processes state-wide, they were able to do the same amount of work more efficiently state-wide, and saved $2.4 million – annually – for one activity! 

Find out for yourself how improving the process of doing work can save time and money. 

Source:

https://www.uillinois.edu/cio/services/bpi/business_process_improvement_methodology_toolkit/

By Tari Muth

Read More

CitiTech Newsletter Spring 2018

 General Asset Management with CitiTech Management Software (CMS) increases performance and saves money.

Note from the Editor

Hello! 

Read on to learn the latest exciting CitiTech news, and find out what’s new now!  See what sage advice the Gurus impart, and learn about a CMS feature you may not even know exists! …

Read More

 
General Asset Management with CitiTech Management Software (CMS) increases performance and saves money.

CitiTech News

Smartphones and tablets have changed how people use computers…

Read More

 
Inspections with CitiTech Management Software (CMS) increases performance and saves money.

What’s New?

Report Changes!

The reporting module in CMS is undergoing an exciting…

Read More

 
General Asset Management with CitiTech Management Software (CMS) increases performance and saves money. increases performance and saves money.

Guru’s Corner

Speed up your software!

Want CMS to run faster and more efficiently?    You can speed up everything from screen loading, to lookups, saving, reporting, and more – while also saving keystrokes, paper, and time! ….

Read More

  
Fema Flames

Features & Functionality

CMS Has Automated That!  Now it takes minutes instead of days.

Read More

 

 
Fema Flames

Cool Stuff!

“Asset Management” –vs – “Asset Maintenance Management”…. What’s the Difference?  And Which Do I Want To Do? …

Read More

Hello!

Read on to learn the latest exciting CitiTech News, and find out What’s New Now!  See what sage advice the Gurus impart, and learn about a Feature you may not even know exists!

Does your organization do Asset Management or Asset Maintenance Management?  What’s the difference?  And, which one should you be doing?  Find out in the article “Cool Stuff!

Enjoy the newsletter, consider being featured in the next one, and keep the suggestions and feedback coming.  We’ll listen.

By Tari Muth

CitiTech News

MobileCMS

Smartphones and tablets have changed how people use computers, allowing greater freedom and mobility.  Mobile application development has quickly grown to rival that of traditional PC applications.  More than just their convenient size, smartphones boast features such as flexible access to data networks, location services, biometrics, and voice and camera features that go beyond the traditional definition of a personal computer.

To take advantage of this potential and complement its CMS product, CitiTech is developing a responsive web application that will allow users to access core CMS functionality from a smartphone or tablet.  The 1.0 release (dubbed “CitiWeb”) will include modules for Work Orders, Work Reports, Inspections, and Assets.  It will operate seamlessly alongside existing Windows client installations and will support all major browsers.  We are far enough along in the CitiWeb development cycle to begin communicating to our customers what we have in store.  

The responsive UI in CitiWeb means that it will adjust to the user’s device.  CitiWeb will provide compact and touch-friendly controls on smart phones while on desktop computers its UI will expand to fill the browser screen, showing more at a single glance.  Because CitiWeb is browser-based, it runs identically on all modern smart phones and has no installation footprint, easing deployment and allowing development to take advantage of the latest web technologies.

We’ll be showcasing some of the features of CitiWeb in the coming months.  Our team is excited to be bringing the biggest features of CMS to the web!

By Brian McKiernan

What’s New?  Report Changes!

The reporting module in CMS is undergoing an exciting revision. 

The traditional reporting mechanism generates a memory dataset containing data to be fed to a Crystal Report document.  When reporting requests cover multi-year date ranges, or use open selection criteria (or no selection criteria at all), these memory datasets would sometimes exceed the capacity of the base framework to hold such huge amounts of data. 

The new approach – currently in the works and being rolled out in increments – is use of a “data reader”.  The data reader uses a continuous stream of data being fed by the database, instead of attempting to hold all the data at once.   The data reader will continuously provide data to the crystal report document, thus lessening or eliminating the occurrence of Out-of-memory exceptions.  Additionally, you can look forward to your reports being generated much faster! 

What is the schedule of roll-outs of report changes?  We are concentrating on the reports that use huge amounts of data, like Asset History and Transaction Detail reports.  Some report changes have already been released (such as the Work Report Transaction Detail) and more will be released with upcoming Web Updates.

By Bimende Malik

Guru’s Corner – Speed Up Your Software!

Want CMS to run faster and more efficiently?  You can speed up everything from screen loading, to lookups, saving, reporting, and more – while also saving keystrokes, paper, and time!  How?  By cleaning up your data! 

Here are some of the options in CMS that YOU can run at your convenience: 

  • Yearpost all years up to the current year
  • Lower the “Load Days” number in your System Preferences to gain loading speed for operations modules like Work Orders, Work Reports, and Purchase Orders
  • Turn off Auditlog (unless you need to track all changes)
  • Perform Auditlog maintenance – delete old entries from way back (don’t worry; if your Auditlog is on, it will immediately begin tracking changes again, or if not, you can turn it on any time and it will start there)
  • Analyze and fix Work Reports with Asset/Activity duplication problems
  • Close old overdue Work Orders
  • Close old Purchase Orders
  • Archive Employees no longer employed
  • Archive all sold Equipment
  • Do Address Maintenance – and then Address Cleanup 
  • Check / Repair Inventory Orphans
  • Check / Repair Duplicate Inventory Sites
  • Check / Repair Inventory Counts
  • Check / Repair Matlog records
  • Check / Repair Matlog record rates
  • Consider using the Inventory Anchor table
  • Consider creating Templates, if you don’t already use them
  • Specifically look at Alert Reminders and clean up the alerted items; examples include entering “Life In Years” values in the Equipment Records, entering positive budget amounts in Projects, doing citizen follow-up for closed Work Orders, ordering Inventory that is below minimum quantity, inspecting Assets that are overdue, updating Employee record dates with the NEW dates (once the expired CDL has been renewed or employees have done their annual performance review, as examples)

Most items are available through a menu item.  Just click on it – how easy is that? 

A few items need fixed one-by-one (such as Alert Reminder items).

Outdated alert items make Alert Reminders useless, orphan records and accidental record duplication bloat your datasets.  Outdated fiscal years skew “Year-To-Date” throughout CMS.  ALL are worth checking into, to streamline your data, to make record loading and lookups faster, as well as making record saving AND reports faster. 

Where can you do data cleanup?

By Tari Muth

Features & Functionality

CMS Has Automated That!  Now it takes minutes instead of days. 

Hi, it’s Tari!  As you may know, I’m first-line tech support here at CitiTech Systems, Inc. 

I love helping our customers!  So when I hear horror stories, I am glad when I’m able to recommend something to fix it.  One example follows, in case you find yourself in her shoes and weren’t aware…. Sometimes, we can help with that!

Recently, I heard how long it takes to record one process… equipment fueling.  Your Equipment is an asset, so in order to maintain accurate history (and keep track of fuel quantities), you have to record WHICH days fueling happened, WHICH department and WHICH program to use, WHICH activity was done, HOW MUCH of the activity was accomplished, WHICH equipment items were fueled, WHICH fuel was used, from WHICH site, HOW MUCH fuel was used, and WHAT the equipment readings were at the time.  I heard it took DAYS to enter all that.  Days per month!

I asked her, “What if you could periodically just process those records automatically?” and we went from there.  You see, we have a Fuel System module that you can tailor to read YOUR automated fuel system, and create Work Reports for fueling equipment at the touch of a button (the “Fuel System Process” button, actually)!   Fueling reports, as well as exception reports, are also included.  Additionally, the fueling activity and costs become part of the Equipment’s history.

She didn’t know that the Fuel System module existed – and couldn’t believe how inexpensive it was – so I sent her a quote in writing.  She discussed it with her boss, and shortly her city provided a Purchase Order number.  We enabled the module the same day, and set up her profile. 

Fuel System can read lots of different formats – but, this user only gets a monthly spreadsheet, and it needed some TLC in terms of formatting.  We helped by writing a macro she can run to create a file with correct formatting and relevant fields. 

When we followed up to see how she liked pressing “Process Fuel” instead of entering tons of fueling work reports, we discovered that even though she no longer has to create those records, she still had to access each one – just to enter the Program!  So we enhanced our module by adding the Program field; now it can read and input that automatically.  Her predicament led to our enhancement… to everyone’s benefit!

Now, it takes her a few keystrokes instead of a few days.  In fact, she estimates it saves her at least 12 hours per month!  Here’s what she had to say:

“The fuel system in CMS has cut hours of data entry off my time each month.  What took me about 3 days of 4 hours of data entry is now only a few clicks with my mouse and I’m done with 100% accuracy.  The setup process did not take long at all.  With Tari’s help and the use of “GoToMeeting” it was done in no time.  The best thing is, CMS can customize the program to fit your needs. Have a question or problem? Tari is just a phone call away. She is soooo helpful and has always answered my questions and educated me on how to use the program efficiently.”

JoAnn Dickman, City of Alma

Several of our other customers also own the Fuel System module; in fact, some have had it for years!  Here’s what one had to say:

“Prior to the Fuel System module, the employees had to write down all the information for that piece of equipment on a fuel card for the month.  Those fuel cards were entered in CMS individually, which took 1.5 days of steady input!  Now, I feel that we are more accurate on the information and amount of fuel used plus it saves so much time for shop employees and office staff.  Shop employees no longer have to remember to write down date, mileage, type of fuel and gallons for that piece of equipment on a fuel card.  Everything we need is entered prior to fueling.  The office staff no longer has to ask questions to fill in the missing blanks.  With a few clicks of a button, the software transfers the information daily.  In doing so, we are up to date for any report that we may need.  When we started with the Fuel System module, we were using Gasboy.  In 2015 we converted to the FuelMaster system.  This [CMS] module works with both without any problems.  Set up and conversion were smooth.  This module is such a great time saver!”

Jane Hatch, Butler County, KS 

Like Butler County, other users started with one fuel program, and then seamlessly switched to another – like 18-year user Tulsa County, OK.  During most of that time, they used Gasboy with Fuel Systems.  Four years ago, they switched to Fuel Master.  A representative had this to say:  “CitiTech has worked perfectly with the data – whichever fuel system we have used. “

Barbara Pursell, Tulsa County, OK

We have one customer who has just recently requested and received approval for CMS Fuel System, and is looking forward to getting it set up and running.  They are quoted as saying, “We use Voyager for our fuel supplier. The reason we [purchased] the fuel module is to enter equipment mileage automatically – in order to alert us to upcoming preventive maintenance schedules. We have close to 700 City owned units (vehicles and equipment). When we do our annual evaluations it takes close to a week to prepare and enter all the data from the different suppliers. [Fuel Systems] should streamline the process to just a day or two. It should pay for itself by cutting down on the [unexpected] maintenance cost of vehicles and equipment repairs that could have been corrected during the scheduled preventive maintenance, had it been done when it was due.”   

Paulette Cornell, Gulf Shores, AL

It’s clear that this module pays for itself many times over, saves time, AND increases accuracy.  Give us a call if YOUR organization wants to track fuel usage (and optionally equipment readings) automatically.  We’re happy to demo it for you; you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to use AND how inexpensive it is.

By Tari Muth

Cool Stuff!

“Asset Management” –vs – “Asset Maintenance Management”…. What’s the Difference?  And Which Do I Want To Do?

Asset Management is a strategically focused approach to make meaningful decisions related to the development, use, maintenance, repair, rehabilitation, and preservation of an agency’s infrastructure. 

Asset Management can be defined as “the combination of management, financial, economic, engineering, and other practices applied to physical assets with the objective of providing the required level of service in the most cost effective manner. It includes the management of the whole life cycle (design, construction, commissioning, operating, maintaining, repairing, modifying, replacing and decommissioning/disposal) of physical and infrastructure assets.”

The process of Asset Management requires managers to identify what they own or have jurisdiction over, determine what the level of service for those assets are, discover the current condition of them, and decide which to fix or maintain first.

Asset Maintenance Management is defined as “a continuous process improvement strategy for improving the availability, safety, reliability and longevity of physical assets”.  This not only includes tracking work to the asset and resource usage, it requires managers to use this collected historical data to make meaningful business decisions in terms of providing maintenance and repairs most effectively.

Physical assets include – but are not limited to – equipment, plants, facilities, vehicles, utility systems, and infrastructure (such as roads, bridges, tunnels, railroad crossings, marinas, golf courses, parks, and sidewalks).  

Ideally, you want to do both – manage your assets and manage the maintenance of your assets.

The ideal Maintenance Management process is based on four primary fundamentals:  planning, organizing, scheduling, and controlling.  Planning entails establishing the desired frequency of maintenance for your activities, determining the best methods to accomplish the work, matching your available labor and equipment resources to assets, and projecting how much you can accomplish.  Organizing your planned available resources and applying them to your inventory of assets to achieve the desired service levels is next.  Scheduling work, including planned, routine, and backlogged work, helps you see what work is in the future, and keeps you proactive.   Managers and supervisors control the process by using collected data from work accomplishment to benchmark against other similar entities to raise the bar and strive for the highest level of quality service at the lowest cost, and improve future planning efforts.

Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is software that helps organizations keep track of all assets that they are responsible for, helps them schedule and track maintenance tasks, and keep a historical record of work they perform.

CMMS should:

Generate a report detailing all maintenance and other work carried out on an asset over any specified period.

Record customer requests, and optionally program an asset inspection and/or maintenance in response to them.

Record the maintenance carried out on asset components.

Program a range of maintenance activities against an asset or asset component.

Schedule maintenance after a fixed period of time has elapsed since maintenance was last carried out.

CitiTech Management Software does all the above – and more!  CMS can record inspection results, use those results to adjust assets’ condition or level of service, and goes further – it can analyze work and inspection results to modify future plans to accomplish target levels of service!  

Anyone can do Asset Management using software – or even a spreadsheet!  Anyone can accomplish Asset Maintenance Management using software.  Smart users use software that can do both, analyze the results, and improve the process – and CMS is that complete package.

By Tari Muth

Read More