How NZ's DOC mobilised their asset management practices

Tuesday, 5 Dec, 2017   /   Soltius

Mobility for Asset Management: Getting it right the first time

While it is important to discuss Digital Transformation trends in the market, we find that it is even more important to highlight real world outcomes, as these often reveal the uniqueness of each industry’s needs and their solutions. From these case studies, a lot can be learned and applied. 

In this blog, we will demonstrate how asset intensive industries can improve data capture and processes, as well as simplifying everyone’s lives by using technology that mobilises their processes. We will use the success story of New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC) which needed an innovative mobility solution to improve their daily operations.


Setting the scene 

DOC, a government agency, is responsible for the maintenance of New Zealand’s vast expanse of land and assets in remote areas, ensuring everyone’s safety and enjoyment in the outdoors.  

The agency manages 8.7 million hectares of conservation estate (30% of New Zealand's land mass) including 14,500km of walking tracks, 17,000 bridges, 22,000 signs of which all need biannual inspections. Much of this maintenance work takes place without internet connectivity.

Collecting quality data at the source is crucial for the planning of maintenance, as well as identifying hazards and fixing them efficiently. Moreover, there is a need to ensure that data is of a high quality as it is compiled and submitted in reports to the New Zealand government which use these to make decisions on future objectives. Accuracy is therefore paramount.  

Given the need for data capture, maintenance planning, the large number of assets and the remoteness of the locations, mobility is something DOC have been investing in for the last 15 years. Unfortunately, previous solutions have been cumbersome and unreliable that DOC rangers (the field users) had given up in frustration and resorted to using paper. Moreover, the previous solution required an expensive and clunky device called a Data Logger that most rangers had to carry, in addition to their usual mobile device. Issues with the solution were expensive and took time to resolve.  

On the road to transformation

It didn’t take much time for DOC to realise that manual data capturing is inefficient. They needed to upgrade their core systems to support greater innovation. They could no longer ignore the fact that there was a growing need for a mobile solution that would meet their requirements, yet be simple enough to use. 

The agency knew this digital transformation would not be easy. The biggest challenge would be to overcome uncertainty around a new solution as DOC rangers had been ‘stung’ with a poor experience in the past. The DOC knew it had its work cut out for them to convince staff to use a new solution.  

However, a new and innovative app, called MyPM, made acceptance and implementation easy. The Mobile Asset Management app, built by Soltius on Neptune Software, an SAP certified add-on, ticks all the boxes. It works across any mobile device (removing the need for hated data loggers), can work offline, and has an intuitive user interface. Data capturing is easier, and because the app is built on Neptune Software, which talks directly with the SAP back end, data transfer is seamless.

Want to learn more? Check out our Department of Conservation case study here. 

The best part is that the app is so easy to use that it essentially ‘did’ the change management for DOC.  One of the first benefits recognised was the increase in mobile device usage. Rangers were no longer resorting to paper. One ranger announced: “Don’t know about the new app, it’s too bloody easy to use and I don’t know what to do with my spare time”.

 

 

MyPM has an active delivery roadmap, which is shaped by the needs of the SAP customer community. As time goes on, DOC will continue to benefit from new features as they are released by Soltius.

The DOC case study highlights the fact that while most companies recognise that digital transformation is critical, it’s even more important to get the right solution from the outset otherwise a lot of money and time could be wasted. Bad experiences can also make another attempt at transformation very challenging. For this reason, it makes sense to partner with an expert in the field, like Soltius, which will design a solution to meet your organisation’s unique needs.    

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