The Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts (LACSD) are tasked with converting waste into resources like recycled water, energy, and recycled materials. The agency consists of 24 independent special districts serving about 5.6 million people in Los Angeles County across approximately 850 square miles, 78 cities, and unincorporated areas in the county.
The agency operates and maintains the regional wastewater collection system, which includes approximately 1,400 miles of sewers, 48 pumping plants, and 11 wastewater treatment plants that transport and treat about half the wastewater in Los Angeles County. Collectively, the sanitation districts treat about 400 million gallons of water per day, which is enough to fill the Rose Bowl nearly five times a day.
The environment is front and center in the districts’ concerns and believes in educating youth on how to be good stewards of Mother Earth. To that end, the agency provides many free educational environmental programs to elementary, middle, and high school students. LACSD founded the Think Earth Environmental Education Foundation, providing free, award-winning classroom curriculum for grades pre-K through 8.
The Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts turned to process and technology to support their mission. Oracle is proud to be selected by LACSD to provide critical technology solutions to meet the districts’ needs—ranging from finance and accounting to capital planning, asset, facility, and portfolio management. So, what are the districts’ three keys to success?
The districts must be proactive to ensure they’re operating optimally, including incorporating forward-looking insights. LACSD has implemented a suite of Oracle technology solutions to capture the most accurate and up-to-date information available, gain a holistic view and leverage that forward-looking data to optimize operations. These systems include:
LACSD understands the importance of connected information. The utility selected solutions for their functionality, industry specificity, and ability to integrate with other systems.
The utility’s suite of Oracle solutions can connect with one another, as well as other systems, to create a seamless and efficient flow of data without error-prone double entry. The utility can optimally run their critical operations thanks to these combined insights.
For example, Oracle Hyperion Planning is fed financial data both from EBS and data from Primavera Unifier. The capital improvement planning (CIP) is managed in Primavera Unifier and that information feeds into Hyperion.
These integrations ensure all relevant data is considered in the financial planning and budgeting processes. Information can also go in the other direction, from Hyperion to EBS, to ensure financials are accurate and up-to-date.
LACSD significantly sped processes by optimizing system setup and integration. The utility used to take four to six hours to aggregate data. This lag has been completely eliminated, allowing for on the fly data aggregation.
Additionally, running processes often lasted overnight, between 10-14 hours. This process has been reduced to just 15 minutes—an over 95% time savings—enabling real-time modeling and forecasting.
LACSD looks across their entire operation when assessing their process and technology needs.
The utility adopted Primavera Unifier—a highly flexible capital planning and facilities asset management software tool that is part of Oracle Construction and Engineering suite of solutions—to complement their other solutions.
LACSD currently has 450 users—including both employees and contractors on Primavera Unifier—managing 60+ business processes in budgeting, cost, document, line item (as-builts), meeting minutes, and project initiation across their organization.
Primavera Unifier supports the utility’s 20-year project planning horizon across the phases from proposed project to approved project. The utility evaluates and updates their plans twice a year and manages the reviews and approvals through Primavera Unifier.
"98% of the 60+ business processes LACSD manages on Primavera Unifier are workflow based. We have cut workflow time by at least 50%," says Krishnaraj Pudukottai, CAD support specialist/Oracle Primavera Unifier & P6 administrator, Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts. "The ultimately flexible architecture of Primavera Unifier allows LACSD to manage our business processes and workflows exactly how we have designed them. All of our business requirements and those of the regulatory agencies we answer to are met," he says.
Primavera Unifier was first adopted by LACSD to manage construction workflows. An operations manager saw how the Oracle system worked and the benefits achieved and drove expansion of the solution into payments, contracts and capital improvement planning management.
“Before Primavera Unifier, we had a paper process, which was time consuming and required offline tracking. For example, submittal processing included eight sets of drawings that were sent to eight different reviewers,” says Pudukottai.
LACSD has further automated their review and approval processes by using DocuSign for electronic signatures – a solution that works seamlessly with Primavera Unifier. In addition, the utility manages a 20-year financial forecast in Oracle Hyperion Planning.
To optimize their forecasting process, LACSD moved from monthly level 20-year forecasts to monthly level two year forecasts before annualizing forecasts for the remaining 18 years. This optimized forecasting process helped eliminate close to half a million data points.
Oracle’s Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management (EPPM) is LACSD’s master scheduling tool across all of their 110 projects currently in construction and in design. As the agency's standard tool, Primavera P6 EPPM includes consistent templates and activities across all projects, enabling fast schedule creation and complete and meaningful reporting to management.
“We just create the template, easily customize them by manager, and schedule the reports. They are then automatically delivered to the appropriate manager by email,” says Pudukottai. Management can easily see workload across the full portfolio of projects.
“The managers love the P6 EPPM reports,” he says.
LACSD is able to provide monthly updates to contractors and can plan for and make payments based on the schedule. “It is very powerful to be able to see a plan and schedule view across our 110 project portfolio,” he says.
LACSD analysts spend less time compiling forecasts due to automation and standardization, freeing up time to help management obtain, model, and analyze the information to make better decisions.
The Sanitation Districts are innovators in the production of green energy and water recycling. Over the last 50 years, the sanitation districts have been the nation's largest producer of recycled water.
Water reclamation plants produce 90 million gallons per day of recycled water that is beneficially reused at over 900 locations including groundwater replenishment, outdoor irrigation, agriculture and industrial water supply. That is equivalent to the water needs of 300,000 Southern California homes.
The sanitation districts also have two facilities that convert landfill gas into renewable energy. Approximately 81 megawatts of electricity are created in the sanitation districts’ wastewater and solid waste operations, which is enough to supply 81,000 homes.
With Primavera P6 EPPM and Primavera Unifier, already in the cloud, the utility will continue moving their remaining technology infrastructure to the cloud, improving system reliability, access, and upgradeability. LACSD is also improving their long-term financial models, including assets such as pipes, which often last for 50-100 years.
End users can compile budget information within 30 minutes to two hours by continuing to optimize processes and system set up. Business owners will see impacts, run scenarios, and make better informed decisions in just two hours instead of two weeks.
LACSD will also reduce budget maintenance, from a two-week process to just one day a month, by eliminating their existing offline processes. The utility will also continue to advance their forward-looking analytics by using data for proactive alerts on potential budget overages.
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