Software saves Michigan $22 million

Michigan Department of Transportation

Related Links

A software application that has helped Michigan's transportation department inspectors manage and track highway construction projects since 1999 has produced an annual savings of nearly $22 million, according to a state official.

"The actual savings that we documented comes from about 400,000 hours of labor that would have applied" if the state had used old processes, said Doug Couto, the department's agency services information officer. "Every dollar I can save on an administrative function like that, it's another dollar that can go in a construction project. To the layman on the street, it may mean another pothole filled."

The PC-based application, called FieldManager, provides inspectors with a centralized source for project information — including usage of materials, stockpiles, timetable and work item progress, payments and program modifications, and reports and inquiries — and allows them to create daily reports right on their laptops on-site.

The state agency decided to create FieldManager in response to significant cuts to the staff as the road/bridge construction program tripled in size. Replacing a paper-based process, FieldManager provides more accurate and standardized record-keeping across the state, faster and easier access to information, better response times and better decision-making, Couto said.

For example, one county government worker said she previously needed weeks to resolve problems with project data because she would have to leave notes for inspectors, who were frequently in the field. "We took what used to be a three-week project for her to something that's just a half a day," Couto said.

Couto said the state is developing a wireless solution so inspectors can transmit from the field, instead of returning home or to the office to upload information to the central database. The state, he added, expects to finish an enterprisewide communications component for agencies by the end of next summer.

The state developed the application with Info Tech Inc., based in Gainesville, Fla., using Sybase Inc. application development and data management software. Although both the state and Info Tech own the software, the company has marketing rights. When sales go beyond a certain threshold, the state receives royalties.

Couto attributes FieldManager's success to heavy user involvement in its development from the start. It is almost intuitive and easy to configure and customize, he said, adding that users also have an annual group meeting to discuss changes and new features in the software.

The application is being used in 43 state transportation offices, 128 local governments and more than 100 private firms in Michigan. Seven other state transportation departments are using the application, and the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs uses it on Native American reservations, Couto said.

Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.