This week, the American Public Works Association 2013 Snow Show wrapped up in Charlotte, NC. The annual event brings together some of the best snow operators in Canada and the US to share best practices, learn about the latest technology, and discover how it can help during storm events.
We were really pleased that three outstanding Webtech Wireless customers were selected to present at this year’s Snow Show. At our customer hospitality suite, we gave each of our customer presenters a plaque in recognition of their contribution to us and the show. Below is a short summary of each presentation.
AVL in Winterer Maintenance Programs today—Way More than “Big Brother” by Kevin Hensley, Stormwater Supervisor, City of West Des Moines. Kevin has spent the last six years in public works and commented that the AVL project come under “other duties as assigned”. Kevin sees himself as an end user of the system. He highlighted the importance of reports to achieving their goals. They use InterFleet for inventory control of their salt, spread rates, complaint resolution, customer support, and contractor oversight. As we wrote in Big Brother, Kevin got employee buy-in starting with the maintenance people. Operators have access to InterFleet before every shift, where they sometimes replay parts of the previous shift to get an idea of what has been going on during a storm event. I loved Kevin’s comment, “This stuff amazes me to this day”. Overall, the City of West Des Moines has reduced salt usage by as much as 40%.
Implementation of MDSS and AVL Equipment by Michael Williams, Snow & Ice Program Coordinator, Kentucky Department of Highways. I learned that MDSS stands for Maintenance Decision Support System. This system gives very detailed road weather forecasts in a graphical mapping application that includes all major Kentucky snowplow routes. Michael demonstrated their MDSS by playing back some of the snow storm events from this past winter, showing where rain/snow lines were forecast and where they actually ended up. Their InterFleet deployment now has over 100 units reporting, and reports include the ability to show road temperatures. Some of the reporting features of InterFleet they use include stops, application rates, and dead head miles. Like the City of Des Moines, they are not concerned about being perceived as “Big Brother”. To counter that perception, they obtained employee buy-in using InterFleet to compare application rates and show operators in a similar area why they don’t have to put so much salt down on the road to keep the public safe. About 90% of the fleet drivers equipped with InterFleet are independent contractors. Their primary goal for implementing AVL is to manage material costs.
Reducing Liability and Improving Winter Operations Using a GPS/AVL Solution by Bob Levesque, City of Mississauga. Bob opened the third day of the 2013 APWA Snow Show with a great presentation on the many ways they have used InterFleet to assist them. As the sixth largest city in Canada, they have used InterFleet since the 2009/2010 winter season to keep contractors accountable, manage liability, ensure routes are completed on time, and minimize the amount of salt they use while maintaining safety and service levels. Bob asserts that in addition to saving a lot of money, using less salt reduces the environmental impact of the salt (chloride load). Every winter, Bob creates a salt management plan and uses InterFleet to help him manage his own operators and contractors (88% of the vehicles they track are contractor vehicles). The City of Mississauga has seen numerous operational improvements including driver accountability, route completion, materials management, vehicle dispatching, vehicle location, resource management, reduced claims, and citizen complaints. They have also reduced salt usage by 20%.
There was much to learn at the 2013 APWA Snow Show. In addition to these talks, InterFleet was shown in the opening keynote address and in Implementing New Technology into Your Winter Maintenance Program. Our thanks to everyone who came to the show and especially to Kevin, Michael, and Bob for the amazing things they do with our solutions.