THE AMEREN SUCCESS STORY
Ameren Real Estate Department Shoreline Management office (SMO) is the owner and operator of the Bagnell Dam and the Osage Power Plant at the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.
The SMO administers and approves the Lake of the Ozarks landowner shoreline permit application process for project lands, regulating docks, seawall and easement use.
The office ensures obstacles are prevented for navigation or threats to the safe operation of the dam and power plant.
The Ameren SMO was faced with multiple challenges to efficiently coordinate and track landowner permit applications and to enforce code violations. Ameren had originally developed separate, stand-alone systems but quickly outgrew these systems, resulting in difficulties locating permit records, inaccurate data and a growing backlog in permit processing. Slow response and lengthy processing times led to degraded Customer service and resource diversion resulted in less manpower for shoreline violation enforcement.
The existing Oracle-based Shoreline Information Management System (SIMS), where all permit application information was scanned and archived was not integrated with the separate MS Access 'Permits' tracking application. Ameren Staff were using the Permits system daily to manually input permit applications. Both systems had to be searched in order to perform permit reviews and inspections.
An additional Shoreline Management Geographic Information system (SMGIS), maintained by Trailhead GIS, was used to view existing permit mapping information and was not linked to the other systems. GIS mapping did not match data in the permit database and the property to facilities configurations where outdated.
With Ameren representatives and clerks focused on processing large volumes of permit applications, there was no time available to identify shoreline and dock violations and to process customer complaints. Receiving staff could not assign complaints and violations to field staff and could not monitor progress.
Overall, the Ameren Shoreline Management Office needed a flexible, enterprise permit solution to integrate the Application Tracking, Archiving and Mapping systems. The goal was to improve customer service by shortening the dock permit application/approval process and to reclaim lost permit revenue by streamlining the inspection and enforcement process.
Ameren needed consistency in code and regulation administration in order to prevent the risk of regulatory non-compliance and for better supervisory decision support enhanced by superior reporting capabilities.
The Adept Approach and Solution
As Ameren began exploring its available permitting options, requirements for an ideal solution became apparent. The solution needed to be browser-based, using the latest .NET framework in order to meet corporate network security policies and for in-house support by the Trailhead GIS supplier. The ideal solution needed to integrate and leverage their existing GIS investment, consolidate their existing data, provide consistent staff coordination and rationalize management procedures.
Ameren evaluated numerous permit software systems before selecting Adept Technologies for its fully customizable permitting solution. Adept's customizable approach provided the flexibility to greatly improve Ameren's existing permitting process while allowing for refinements that are unique to Shoreline Management organizations, such as provisions for the long-term tracking of Active permits such as Modifications and Transfers of Ownership.
'From the start, the Adept solution was clearly more adaptable into something we could use to combine and enhance our existing systems' said Jeff Green, Ameren Shoreline Supervisor. 'Their competitors seemed to be more focused on how our systems would have to conform to their format.'
Adept Technologies' approach was to modify their Enterprise permit system to a secure, private cloud, browser-based solution. Once implemented, Ameren immediately realized efficiency, accuracy, productivity and monitoring gains.
Permit application processing was dramatically reduced taking advantage of Adept's automated workflows and staff coordination enhancements. The Adept work management tool allows for multiple users to track and mange permit application timelines, routing plans and for scheduling reviews and inspections.
Seamless GIS integration with multiple systems greatly increased staff productivity and improved data accuracy. Consistent and accurate system reporting provided for more informed management decisions and ensured regulatory compliance.
'The new Adept system allows GIS Techs to easily visualize, search and retrieve permit data associated with a property.' said Jeff Green, Supervisor Shoreline Management. 'All new and historic data is presented so efficiently that time previously spent searching multiple systems has been eliminated. In the past, mapping might have taken up to 12 months after the permit was issued.'
The most significant improvement that was introduced by the Adept Shoreline permit solution is violation tracking and enforcement. Representatives and Clerks are spending less time accessing and processing permit applications. This in turn allows for significantly increased time for enforcement inspections. The dramatic rise in violation inspections and enforcement generated a new source of revenue. In the past years, the SMO would issue a dozen violations per year but within six months of the Adept implementation, over 500 violations were issued and mostly resolved.
Ameren's productivity and customer service achieved significant gains using the Adept SMGIS system that met and exceeded their strategic goals and their expectations.
- Average permit turn-around times reduced from 45 to 30 days
- 80% backlog reduction
- 160% increase in Shoreline inspections
- Achieved 99% compliance on encapsulated foam dock project
- Reduced Real Estate staff by .5 FTE
The Adept Enterprise system has become an invaluable tool for the SMO that is light years ahead of the old system.
- Jeff Green - Supervisor Shoreline Management, Ameren, Lake of the Ozarks, MO
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