Central Contra Costa Transit Authority (commonly known as County Connection or CCCTA) began using its Centralized Inventory and Maintenance Software (CIMS) on July 1, 2012. The system was designed specifically for the management of fleets, vehicles, inventory, and work orders.
There were two primary goals for CIMS: proactive notification of preventive maintenance due, and accurate and simple tracking of every part and minute of service for the life of each vehicle.
The original system included:
After using CIMS for a few months, CCCTA
added a Facilities Work Orders module.
Why is CIMS so easy to use?
CIMS was built to support the way an actual fleet maintenance organization works, so the business process is sound. Training a mechanic? Show him how the application replaces paper work orders. Training a maintenance supervisor? Show him the preventive maintenance schedule. Training your purchasing agent? Show her how parts and purchase orders work together.
Because modules are based on a number of consistent standards, once you know how to use one part of the system, you know how to use all of it.
Each module is based on two primary approaches to presenting information:
Once you understand how the list and details work, you can work with any module in CIMS.
The proof? After no more than 4 hours of training, mechanics were completing work orders on their iPads.
For example, the Work Orders list (or Find) screen was specifically designed to accomplish all of the following tasks (and more) on one screen.
The ability to find the information you need and export the information to Excel eliminates the need for many “canned” reports. Just as important, you no longer have to contact your software team when you have a unique question such as, “How many work orders did we create for PM B for vehicles in fleet 20 last year?” You can get the information yourself, export it to Excel for analysis or printing, and format it as you like.
At CCCTA mechanics use iPads to enter information as they’re working on a bus, providing real-time updates for each work order as it is completed.
For every bus currently on the road, California requires that CCCTA track every work order, including parts added or removed and who did the work, for the life of the vehicle. CIMS makes this easy by saving historical data until the bus is retired, when the information may be archived, if requested.
CIMS also stores historical data such as time an employee requires to complete standard types of work.
Each part used for a work order is tracked, and a mechanic also records the old and new serial numbers for parts that are uniquely identified in this manner.
CCCTA’s maintenance manager trained all mechanics to use CMIS in short, onsite sessions, and there was almost no learning curve because the screens match the process the mechanics were accustomed to completing on paper.
When DragonPoint found that mechanics also used other paper worksheets for different types of operations, we recommended that instead of creating a single-purpose, hardcoded PM Worksheet form, we would provide a way for CCCTA to build an unlimited number of electronic check lists that would be automatically attached to applicable work orders.
The first worksheet CCCTA created was for select preventive maintenance work orders. When the sheet is required, mechanics see a PM Worksheet button, and pressing the button opens a new screen on which the current PM worksheet dynamically displays. In addition to documenting all steps to be performed during the PM cycle, the worksheet provides visual work instructions (images).
Mechanics check off each task as the inspection in the PM cycle is complete and notes the tasks that require repairs. Work can be saved as many times as necessary to complete all tasks. Filters near the top of the page allow mechanics to filter the list of more than 100 tasks to show only those within a specific category, such as Exterior, or those that require repair or replacement.
When all tasks are complete, the mechanic presses the Complete button. If a work order requires a worksheet, the work order cannot be closed until the sheet is complete.
After using CIMS for about a year, CCCTA requested that DragonPoint develop a Facilities PM and Work Order process that would be very similar to the one used for vehicles. Facilities work orders were built to accommodate preventive maintenance plans for buildings, equipment, and bus stops, and the PM schedules are based on a time interval instead of mileage.
All parts used in vehicle and facility management are managed in CIMS, including inactive parts used on historical work orders.
CIMS tracks details about parts including general information, such as part description, unit of measure, min/max inventory levels, quantity on hand, and location of part.
The system provides quick views for each part’s recent activity and historical usage.
Each part may be purchased from one or more vendors, and vendor-specific data, such as vendor part number(s) and pricing, is stored for each part. Purchasing uses vendor part pricing to generate purchase orders, and purchase order numbers, dates, etc. are stored with each part history.
CIMS is built around a tight integration of parts through the purchase orders, receiving, work orders (consumption), and inventory adjustment (physical inventory) processes.
CIMS includes an Automatic Reorder function that identifies all parts for which the on-hand quantity plus the on-order quantity is less than the minimum quantity required. This Automatic Reorder process allows purchasing to quickly create a batch of POs to the last vendor from which each part was purchased at the last cost paid; if necessary, purchasing may choose to change the vendor, cost, and order quantity for one or more parts.
Purchasing may preview POs by vendor and choose the POs to release automatically, including emailing the PO to the vendor or printing a paper document when necessary. POs for which a new vendor or price is required may be excluded from the release process and handled manually.
CIMS is a fully-functional asset management system that was designed specifically for a public transportation agency. Unlike a standard off the shelf software package, CIMS is built to include the EXACT functionality required and ONLY the functionality required.
The system was built using standard Microsoft tools (C# and SQL Server).
Because this is a custom application, it is generally simple to add new features and enhancements such as the addition of new fields, changing labels on screens, and creating new reports.
Public transportation agencies may call DragonPoint for more information about getting a license to use CIMS.
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