Public agency managers face increasingly limited public funds with demands for increased accountability and greater pressures for transparency of choices for employee work schedules. As a result, alternative work schedules (AWS) have become increasingly popular over the past several decades. AWS, in the area of public works, is a heated topic with the issue of productivity being a core question.
One of the fundamental questions that we have in Public Works is where to locate maintenance yards to best serve the public and maintain infrastructure assets (i.e. roads, stormwater, sewer water, etc.) The location(s) can affect the service, cost, response time and ability to maintain assets. One way to evaluate maintenance yard locations is through the use of a Maintenance Station Location Model (MSLM).
Span of control is defined as the number of people a manager can supervise effectively, and can be broadly categorized as either narrow or wide. The span of control and layers of management in an organization help determine the way public works operations assign tasks to employees. Improvement in work flow can often be impacted by these factors.
In the public works field, our focus is often on just accomplishing work. Cost, of course, is a major issue, along with labor, equipment, material and contracts. However, the largest cost being incurred is often the one most misunderstood - overhead.
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In the public works industry, the practices of asset management and maintenance management are used interchangeably and synonymously. Although these practices have some common elements and are both valuable tools for a public works manager, they are both unique.