The Environment Agency has a large range of plant equipment situated in different depots across the UK which the Operations Delivery team need to access on a regular basis. The Operations Delivery staff also have to make sure that the plant equipment meets all the specific needs of the site to ensure all health and safety requirements are met. Without a centralised system to work out what equipment was suitable for a particular site, staff had to spend a considerable amount of time finding out this information from different sources when they were back in their offices. The aim was to provide the Environment Agency Operations Delivery team with a tool that would enable them to see what plant equipment is suitable for a specified site whether they are in the office or on location. This tool was to become known as the Work Equipment Option Tool (WEOT).
The first stage in development was to refine WEOT's requirements by getting input from all the key stakeholders in the department. The best way for us to do this was to build a prototype system in Microsoft Access and ask for feedback from the key staff members. Once this stage was complete and the key requirements were fully specified and signed off by the head of department we were ready to start building the new system.
WEOT was developed as a browser-based application to make it accessible to all staff whether they are on or off-site. WEOT was developed using .NET, C#, and SQL Server. Ajax was also used to improve the user experience by making the system more responsive. Plant data stored in another Environment Agency database is fed into the system in .csv format, making it easy to keep WEOT up-to-date at all times.
The new browser-based WEOT application consists of an on-line site assessment form which the Operations Delivery staff fill out with site data such as height and weight restrictions. They then select which plant equipment they need and click on search. WEOT will then return a list of equipment that fits the criteria and will also provide attachments which specify additional suitable equipment. Staff can search both local and national depots for plant equipment and see what is available for their site in seconds, whenever they need to. As the largest department in the Environment Agency, the WEOT is a valuable resource for staff who need to work in a fast but safe manner for the communities they serve.