Utilizing Technology in Public Works Departments
Much like other areas of government organizations, Public Works departments have been feeling the budgetary pinch. As states continue to constrict budgets, many departments have been left with significantly less funds for their operations. Even after staff reductions and other budget cuts, many Municipal Directors find themselves struggling with budget shortfalls.
While this is an unfortunate reality for many public works departments, the good news is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Technology and automation tools can help address the problem of tightening public works budgets. Even better, technology can streamline operations so that the professionals within a department aren’t bogged down with excessive work to compensate for tighter budgets.
Getting On-Board with Tech Adaptations
Technology solutions come in an expansive range of formats, software packages and platforms. Here are just a few examples of how these implementations can work for municipal and public works departments – and save a significant amount of money.
Better Customer-Facing Services One of the most critically important components to any public works or municipal sector is creating better service for customers. Like any private venture, public sector services still require ongoing relationships and interactions with customers. People pay taxes for a reason, after all, so it’s important to provide a platform that maximizes both accessibility and service for these departments. A variety of technological implementations can better address the issue of customer service. Online platforms for payment, communication and information are one of the simplest methods to achieve this objective. These online portals can yield a much more efficient method of communicating with customers – reducing the need for dedicated staff to handle these operations.
Another high value area where technology can deliver startling results comes in the way of planning and logistics. In many cases, software package can offer public works departments the tools that make their project planning and management significantly more organized. These types of implementations can identify pain points, reduce wasted resource allocation, and even help to eliminate potential conflicts across departments.
One example of this was in the Washington D.C. area after the Washington Gas Company implanted the Envista utility coordination system into their operations. This platform’s dynamic map-based coordination system helped Washington Gas better coordinate their planning among other public utilities in the area. It eliminated many of the issues related to cross-departmental communication by identifying potential issues or conflicts before on-site deployment. Even better, it saved Washington Gas over $250,000 within its first few months of use.
Technology: Ally for the Future
At the end of the day, the public services sector is about impacting people. Shrinking budgets often force directors within public works to make compromises that affect countless people in their daily lives. By adapting operations and utilizing technology, these negative consequences can be significantly reduced or eliminated. In many cases, technology can even improve operations – making these services better for customers who need them.
For municipal directors and public services executives, there’s no reason to ignore the benefits of implementing technology into daily operations. As these examples showcase, technology is not a job killer that eliminates the need for qualified public works professionals. Instead, it’s a tool that can help reconcile the ongoing need for these services with the shrinking budgets many departments face.
By streamlining operations, technological implementations are changing the climate within public works into an optimistic outlook for the future. Even a few small changes can go a long way in allowing departments to continue doing what’s important: serving countless men and women all across the country.