Fast thinking The City of Edmonton’s Fleet Analytics and Strategic Technology team in Canada has introduced a state-of-the-art analytical tool to assist with the maintenance of the city’s 5,000-strong vehicle fleet. Edmonton’s Colleen Kroening and Steve Rapanos talk about how FAST’s strategic management and reporting capabilities have streamlined data management and improved overall business performance. Matty Flores reports.
Developing FAST took time, but now Edmonton can access and share data very quickly and the system has helped improve business processes including maintenance.
echnology is making it easier to collect and manage large amounts of data. For the City of Edmonton’s Fleet Analytics Supervisor Colleen Kroening and her team, this information is extremely useful for managing the city’s vehicles. Colleen compares the new technology to a smartwatch, which provides a tool by which users can manage their health. With a click of a few buttons, a smartwatch allows users to track their heartbeat over a specific timeframe using simple graphics. From this data, users can determine if their pulse is in a healthy zone, identify any peaks and valleys in heart levels, and monitor other factors. ‘FAST is just like the data from a smartwatch except that we use it to determine the overall health and well-being of vehicles,’ says Colleen. The City of Edmonton’s Fleet and Facility Services is led by Branch Manager Steve Rapanos and is one of the largest integrated municipal fleet operations in Canada. ‘We manage a diverse fleet
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and associated infrastructure that includes more than 5,000 vehicles and a variety of equipment,' Steve explains. 'We also manage more than 900 city facilities such as recreation centres and City Hall. Fleet and Facility Services is the city’s expert in vehicle and equipment procurement, maintenance, fleet engineering, fabrication services, fuel management, and fleet safety. We also serve external clients for the province and regional areas by managing their fleet maintenance.’ Prior to the introduction of FAST, gaining a complete picture of the status of a vehicle was a time consuming and labour intensive process. ‘Before FAST, it took us longer to analyse data on a unit and we had to go through a variety of channels,’ says Steve. ‘Now we are able to quickly blend a variety of information streams together to obtain a complete story on a vehicle, which enables us to be more proactive. Developing FAST took a lot of time, but now we can access and share data very quickly and the system has helped improve our client relationships and aided in the decision-making process.’ In 2008, there was a major business transformation project that saw a dramatic change in how Fleet and Facility Services was run, both strategically and operationally. Steve Rapanos explains that the impetus for change was an audit that identified a number of business issues and suggested areas of improvement to focus on. Since the audit results, the organisation has undergone a series of business transformations, including the implementation of a new fleet management system, real-time insight into work requests/order status and overall workload, and the creation of standardised processes across the organisation. Although tremendous headway has been made in these key areas, there were still information system challenges that needed to be addressed in order to support continued growth and business transformation. ‘We made significant progress, but we still had to continue improving and evolving,’ says Steve.