REVIEWER: Kim Daley, acting assistant deputy minister corporate services and fleet management, transportation at New Brunswick Department of Transportation.

BACKGROUND: The New Brunswick Department of Transportation (NBDoT) is responsible for managing and maintaining more than 18,000 kilometers of highways and roads, more than 2,900 bridges, ferry crossings and associated infrastructure.

PLATFORMS: The Remsoft Suite is currently installed on workstations running Microsoft Windows 7 (64 bit) Operating System.

PROBLEM SOLVED: The NBDoT needed to rehabilitate its century-old transportation infrastructure, but do so with less money than had been available in the past. Prior to implementing Remsoft, the department did not have the ability to perform what-if analysis that considered how multiple assets (e.g., roads, bridges) and scenarios (e.g., traffic, budget cuts, natural disasters, population boom) could impact million-dollar funding decisions. We turned to asset lifecycle optimization software company Remsoft, whose technology enabled us to evaluate an infinite number of funding and asset-use scenarios, incorporating all relevant variables to find a way to use our assets most efficiently. As a result, we’ve dramatically improved the condition and quality of our infrastructure while saving more than $200 million over the past three years. Projections call for a minimum of $1.4 billion to be saved by 2017.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The NBDoT adopted a hierarchical approach to solving its infrastructure challenges. We solved each issue through a series of stages using Remsoft’s technology. In the first stage, a model addresses the long-term strategic aspects of the problem and helps build a tactical schedule, along with associated costs and requirements. This enables the department to clearly show quantifiable results on what would happen if the budget were cut, maintained or increased. In the second stage, the schedule is used along with adjacency and proximity relationships that take into account where each activity is located relative to the others. In grouping projects (e.g., paving roads), the department can offer contractors larger contracts and get a better price. Additionally, the ability to schedule activity in a specific geographic region can minimize the impact on local residents by concentrating construction work instead of having it scattered over a longer period of time. In the final decision process, a program manager evaluates what the model proposes and makes any final adjustments and decisions. This insight and analysis is then shared with the department and presented to political leaders. When feedback is given or final budget numbers are known, it is easy to readjust the model and have a clear view on how changes directly affect the infrastructure optimization plan.

STRENGTHS: The Remsoft Asset Lifecycle Optimization Solution has enabled the NBDoT to factor in a multitude of different variables to make better informed decisions. Despite the volume of data points that are evaluated in managing a province’s infrastructure, Remsoft illustrates information in a clear and easy-to-understand manner. Remsoft has given us the ability to analyze and run different trade-off scenarios, compare the effects of what happens with more or less funding, and make smarter decisions. However, the greatest benefit of working with Remsoft is that we have fundamentally transformed the way the NBDoT manages its financial and physical assets by looking at the big picture and no longer taking the “repair the worst first” approach with our infrastructure.

WEAKNESSES: The core Remsoft Spatial Planning Suite (RSPS), part of the Remsoft Asset Lifecycle Optimization Solution, is an expert modeling system. Its flexibility and ability to adapt to nearly any time-dependent problem make it more of a toolset and building blocks than a “black box.” Without proper help, this could be challenging. Fortunately, with training and some aptitude, any organization can get started quickly with help from the Remsoft staff.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Our team evaluated a number of solutions from around the world, all of which were only able to address a limited number of assets, or a singular type of asset. Remsoft enables you to factor in all variables and assets or as few as you want – other solutions require a set number of data points to even run a simple analysis.

DELIVERABLES: With Remsoft, the NBDoT can run in-depth analyses and trade-off scenarios on all influencing factors. This includes anything from funding to which locations need to be rehabilitated, and how soon. The data is displayed through a number of charts, models and easy-to-read graphs, enabling stronger and more strategic business decisions. Additionally, the level of detail and clarity the graphs and charts provide make it easy for the data and scenarios to be easily understood by key decision-makers, such as provincial government leaders.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The Remsoft implementation was a seamless and painless process. Remsoft’s team was hands-on from the beginning, and has always been available and happy to help whenever we have a question or new challenge.

DOCUMENTATION: Remsoft’s documentation is easy to understand, which is why the solution is so great with complicated infrastructure scenarios. The software itself has a clean user interface and is intuitive to use, which is an added bonus for a business with limited funds for training or hiring an expert.