Published on 19-Dec-2012
"IBM TRIRIGA software and eCIFM’s implementation services have paid for themselves several times over. We’re able to operate smarter. We’re more efficient and we can make better decisions on where monies should be spent and when." - Andrew Fridley, Data Analyst, Facilities and Asset Management, Portland Public Schools
Portland Public Schools
Smart Work, Smarter Planet
IBM Business Partner:
eCIFM Solutions Inc.
Nearly 12 years ago, the Facilities and Asset Management department for Portland Public Schools (PPS) took a bold step that laid the foundation for a smarter infrastructure.
As communities grapple with shrinking school budgets, the question often becomes: What can we afford to cut? However, for Portland Public Schools (PPS) in Portland, Oregon, a new way of thinking is helping district personnel modernize their schools while saving money.
Working with IBM Business Partner eCIFM Solutions, Inc., PPS implemented a powerful workplace management system that provides deep visibility into facility operations so staff can see which building improvements will reduce costs.
● Delivered more than 300 percent return on investment (ROI) ● Reduced facilities management costs by 15 percent through increased productivity ● Enabled district to identify building improvements that will decrease annual expenditures ● Provided transparent and auditable data to executives and the community
Smart is...Using intelligent facilities management to improve school buildings while cutting costs.
As communities grapple with shrinking school budgets, the question often becomes: What can we afford to cut? However, for Portland Public Schools (PPS) in Portland, Oregon, a new way of thinking is helping district personnel modernize their schools while saving money. Working with IBM Business Partner eCIFM Solutions, Inc., PPS implemented a powerful workplace management system that provides deep visibility into facility operations so staff can see which building improvements will reduce costs. Minor changes in asset performance can also be detected so maintenance staff can proactively respond before expensive repairs are required.
The inside story: Getting there
One of the biggest challenges in moving to an integrated workplace management system, Fridley says, “was convincing business operations that facilities was a critical part of their business processes.”
As the facilities team worked to build support, it looked for champions in both IT and finance who understood the opportunity.
“Having IT support our move to an integrated workplace management was critical to our success,” says Fridley. “They understood that having a single system to operate facilities would make their job easier as well as ours. Additionally, the district’s chief operating officer shared our vision and supported this approach.”
Smarter Operations: Unprecedented insight transforms facilities management
- Instrumented: CAD floor plan drawings along with asset and facility information are fed into an integrated workplace management system.
Interconnected: Integrating human resource, enterprise resource planning, and maintenance information provides a “big picture” of facility costs.
Intelligent: Business analytics help administrators determine which building improvements will save money over the long term and when it’s better to rebuild or remodel a school.
Nearly 12 years ago, the Facilities and Asset Management department for Portland Public Schools (PPS) took a bold step that laid the foundation for a smarter infrastructure. PPS is an urban school district in Portland, Oregon. With approximately 47,000 students in 81 schools, it is the largest school district in the Pacific Northwest.
At the time, the district was upgrading its financial and human resource (HR) systems to improve business efficiency. New facilities management software was not in the original project scope and the Facilities and Asset Management department took action to change this.
“We inserted ourselves into the conversation to gain support for a new system that would make us more efficient and lower costs,” says Andrew Fridley, a data analyst with the PPS Facilities and Asset Management department. “Our argument was that facilities is a huge part of our business operations—we represent probably 20 percent of the PPS budget.”
One of the district’s challenges was the use of disparate systems to manage its buildings, which occupy about nine million square feet of space. With many “islands” of information there was no single version of the truth.
“When we talked about how big a school was, the answer depended on who you asked and what system you looked at,” says Fridley. “It was difficult to defend our needs without consistent data.”
Building a single version of truth
Creating a single version of the truth was central to the organization’s selection of a new integrated workplace management system (IWMS).
“What drew us to TRIRIGA® [now IBM® TRIRIGA software] was that it gives us a single point of truth for facilities information and performance indicators,” says Fridley. “TRIRIGA was one of the rare tools that did this.”
This integrated approach is not common in K-12 districts, says Sanjiv Paul Singh, AIA, LEED® AP, vice president of eCIFM Solutions, Inc. (eCIFM), an IBM Business Partner and provider of integrated workplace management systems (IWMS), computer-aided facilities management systems (CAFM), and computer maintenance management systems (CMMS). eCIFM provides the implementation, integration, and support services to help PPS maximize its IWMS investment.
“Very few K-12 schools have done what PPS has done,” says Singh. “By taking this global view, the organization reduced operational costs, increased efficiency, and improved decision making.”
For Fridley, working with eCIFM has helped PPS stay ahead of the curve when it comes to facilities management.
“Having the support of eCIFM for the last eight years has been critical to the success of TRIRIGA for us,” says Fridley. “Their deep knowledge of the software allows us to configure and use TRIRIGA in a way that best meets our processes and plan our current and future needs.”
Integrating information drives greater efficiency
Today, all PPS buildings are tracked using IBM TRIRIGA software. The organization uses its CAD building drawings as a graphical interface to the facility information so that staff can see exactly how big each space is, what it is used for, and when additional space is needed to support the area’s growing student population.
Maintenance and operations personnel also use the system to gain a holistic view of facility assets—including what work has been performed, by whom and when. Preventive maintenance requests are automated so that the appropriate maintenance staff is notified when planned maintenance is required. Having this information on a single screen enables staff to spot minor issues before they become costly problems.
“Everything in a building system influences everything else,” says Fridley. “Being able to track small changes allows us to take action early. For example, soon after we implemented TRIRIGA 9 in 2009, we included a bar chart on the shop foremen’s portal that displayed the number of overdue tasks for their shops. Having that data front-and-center on their portal resulted in a significant drop in the number of overdue tasks.”
As part of its work with PPS, eCIFM integrated IBM TRIRIGA software with the district’s enterprise resource planning, human resource and timecard systems. This integration provides PPS staff with the total cost of each repair, including technician time and materials purchased, from a single screen.
“Two big savings from having an integrated system are that we’ve reduced the amount of data entry required and we can now see and plan for high demands of work activity, including who to hire and when,” says Fridley. “We reduced facilities management costs by 15 percent through this increased productivity.”
According to Singh, the flexibility of the IBM TRIRIGA platform enables PPS to easily adjust to organizational changes.
“PPS is currently reorganizing their maintenance shops and updating how work orders are routed,” Singh explains. “With IBM TRIRIGA, we don’t have to write any new code. We simply update the workflows.”
Remodel or rebuild?
In 2007, PPS staff began to evaluate its schools to understand exactly what work was required to support teaching and learning in the coming years. The average age of its schools is nearly 70 years old, making modernizing facilities a key concern.
During the evaluation, the condition of all facility components was considered—from each building structure (including roofing, windows, doors, flooring) to systems (such as plumbing, electrical, heating and ventilation) and even playground equipment.
And a central question was: Is it more cost-effective to remodel or rebuild these aging facilities?
“IBM TRIRIGA helps us track the condition of every building system and analyze the repair cost versus the replacement cost so we can see whether it’s more cost-effective to remodel a building or tear it down and build new,” says Fridley. “We can also see what building improvements we can make that will save money.”
Armed with this insight, the organization can better plan for and communicate new funding requests as part of its capital planning process.
“This information allows us to be transparent with the community so that they understand if we request a bond measure, where that money is going,” says Fridley.
Tracking key performance indicators
The system also helps the Facilities and Asset Management department track key performance indicators (KPI).
“One of our KPIs is to maintain production hours for the maintenance workforce at or above 75 percent,” says Fridley. “Since we enter all maintenance workforce time, including non-production hours like sick, vacation and supervision time, into the IBM TRIRIGA timecard module, we can use the system to calculate this KPI. Having the data granularity of this KPI in TRIRIGA allows maintenance managers to identify which work groups or individuals are performing well and those that are not. If a work group or individual is not meeting the KPI, the data provides the supporting documentation to initiate and track the progress of an action plan to improve production.”
More than 300 percent ROI
As every community knows, school funding is incredibly tight so any requests for new initiatives—especially ones that don’t directly support classroom teaching and learning—must show a clear return on investment (ROI).
“When we were looking for a facilities management system, the argument that we made to justify our purchase was that we could become much more efficient and lower operating costs with TRIRIGA,” says Fridley.
Did that argument prove true? According to Fridley, the solution has more than paid for itself.
“IBM TRIRIGA software and eCIFM’s implementation services have paid for themselves several times over,” he explains. “We’re able to operate smarter. We’re more efficient and we can make better decisions on where monies should be spent and when.”
- ● Delivered more than 300 percent return on investment (ROI)
● Reduced facilities management costs by 15 percent through increased productivity
● Enabled district to identify building improvements that will decrease annual expenditures
● Provided transparent and auditable data to executives and the community
- ● IBM® TRIRIGA® software
- ● eCIFM Solutions, Inc.
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