Customer Spotlight: How Dynamics CRM helps to keep the traffic moving in WA

Posted on behalf of Domenic Palumbo, Director Metropolitan Operations, Main Roads WA.

The resources boom has touched almost every aspect of Western Australia, including the organisation charged with maintaining the State’s 18,500 kilometres of roads.

At Main Roads WA we are responsible for a road network in a State that is bigger in size than Western Europe. It includes a large slab of the most remote terrain in our country, as well as a rapidly growing capital city, Perth. In recent years, WA’s population growth has exceeded expectations and traffic congestion in Perth has become a major challenge for us.

To overcome this challenge, working with Microsoft partner SMS Management & Technology we implemented a multi-phased IT project built on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 platform. We have found the platform to be a great middle way for an organisation like us, which has repeatedly found and relied on off-the-shelf solutions to meet our needs without deploying bespoke systems that become “islands” we can’t build upon and develop.

Main Roads approach to technology dovetails neatly into our 20/20 strategy which is very important to us. This has five pillars including creating value for the community, making technology work for the environment, enhancing traveler wellbeing, ensuring future capability, and building strategic relationships with people who can help us.

Our CRM framework has two operating modes. There is a desktop mode for office-based staff and a field mode for inspectors and field crews. The field technicians who are responsible for our electrical assets and work around the State are all armed with Panasonic Toughbooks running Windows 8.

The Microsoft Dynamics platform first enabled a Maintenance Management Information System (MMIS). This allows field employees to locate and register road maintenance problems and relay repair information back to our regional office in Perth while office users can quickly schedule and approve jobs and create management reports. The subsequent efficiency gains have meant we can get more maintenance done within existing budgets, and ensure that all problems are closed out.

The second big deliverable enabled by the CRM platform, is a refined extension of the MMIS known as “Sparks”. The first phase of this solution is focused specifically on Main Roads WA’s electrical assets including traffic signals and electronic school zone signals. These are looked after by a specialist maintenance team.

You can imagine if a set of traffic signals goes down it creates a problem pretty quickly. So we wanted to streamline the transfer of fault reports as they come in from the public through our Customer Call Centre directly to field technicians so that we can alleviate congestion faster.

The first phase of Sparks means we can be more stringent in terms of the questions we ask whoever is reporting the fault to make sure we have accurately captured the complaint. The report will be sent straight through to the field technician, along with other pertinent information like how to access the particular asset and the GPS co-ordinates for the relevant control system.

The next phase of the Sparks solution will be focused on spares inventories; on ensuring field crews know what components are stored in the various locations so they will know what’s available and where, and inventory will be more efficiently managed.

We also hope to link some of the on-site systems such as the internal diagnostic systems in traffic signals so the alarms from these will feed directly into the field technicians’ Toughbooks.

So we are further leveraging the investment made in the original MMIS platform implementation. Further down the track we expect to incorporate road lighting, variable message signs and electrical systems supporting the road network into Sparks.

For now though we see Sparks as delivering the best of both worlds: we have a solution that is specific and fit for purpose, and we have taken advantage of the reduced build and maintenance costs that flow from using the Microsoft Dynamics platform.


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