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The Power of Field Management

Paul Nicholson, City of Bendigo’s Coordinator GIS & Asset Information, explains why partnering with Konect – our powerful mobile field management App – has revolutionised their approach to field management.

“I had a look at a few different systems but Konect was the most flexible. Other systems were only point based and you couldn’t draw a line or regions. I wanted to do a grading program that was based on road centerlines. The other software couldn’t do it.”

Flexibility and adaptability are common themes during our interview, with the City of Bendigo now using Konect across a number of applications. Paul continued, “We’ve also got a huge range of assets that need inspecting. From roads (sealed and unsealed), footpaths, drainage and street trees; Konect allows us to inspect them all.”

Efficient systems are one thing, but combining effective field management must also be compliant with legislation, and The Road Management Act in Victoria has governance in place, such as the Road Management Plan. This Plan specifies how often all assets should be inspected. “It’s critical that we have the ability to easily inspect them in the field, but to also have an auditable trail of those inspections,” Paul clarifies. “If we have a legal case, for example, a trip hazard on a footpath, there will be an investigation into how often we’ve inspected it.”

Having established that Bendigo’s inspection program is substantial, we were keen to find other areas where Konect was coming into its own. “Because assets are all location based, we wanted a map-based solution to help with that. When you’re doing things like drainage or footpaths, where there are thousands of things to manage, you really need the map and the GPS running.”

And the innovation and ingenuity doesn’t stop there. How does Konect assist with works management, another priority for the City of Bendigo? “Asset inspectors will map the location of defects, potholes, trip hazards or a dead branch on a tree,” said Paul. “Once defects are mapped, inspectors will automatically alert the works crew. All works crews have Konect on their iPads in their vehicles.” It also ensures that all completed work has an accurate date and time stamp, which is another legal requirement of the Road Management Plan.

There are many other ways that Bendigo’s internal work crews, as well as their external contractors use Konect, including recording how long the works took. Paul gave an example of how their sign contractor is impacted, and how important it is to utilise everyone who has eyes out in the field. “We have a Victoria-wide company for our sign replacement. But everyone using Konect has the ability to log any sign defect, whether that’s traffic engineers, other asset inspectors on the roads, or even the works foreman.” Once logged, that defect instantly appears on the contractor’s iPad. When the contractor attends the scene, they can immediately click on the job to indicate it has been started, and it also notifies the head office in Melbourne. Konect then gets busy. It notifies what signs the contractor needs, orders them and enters an invoice number. The contractor is alerted on the iPad when the signs are ready to collect, and indicates when the work is completed. Paul concluded, “It’s working well between a huge number of different people all using the one data set”.

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