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Global Solution

10 July 2009

Kevin Clark (center) with the GWK team in Manilla

The Award winning Global Workplace Knowledge Center in Manilla supports Johnson Controls’ largest clients from around the world by collecting, processing and adding value to their property and FM data. Jane Fenwick asks Kevin Clark how it works

MANAGING THE PROPERTY AND FM for a global business is no small task. Managing the property portfolios and FM services supply chain of multiple global businesses requires something special just to keep track of all the data generated.

Uniquely in the property sector, Johnson Controls Global Workplace Solutions has developed a Global Workplace Knowledge Center (GWK) to collect data from its largest global clients and transform into meaningful business intelligence. Located in Manilla in the Philippines, GWK was awarded the CoreNet Global Industry Excellence Award in April in the category of Service Delivery. This Award recognises “excellence in strategic management and work processes that provides clients with superior performance and delivery of beneficial, measurable and sustained results.”

Johnson Controls inherited the centre through its acquisition of the US-based real estate consultancy, USI. USI had established the centre to provide portfolio abstraction and administration for its mainly US clients. The Philippines is the second largest centre for business process outsourcing (BPO) after India, and it has the third largest English speaking population in the world. It also has a highly educated workforce with plenty of the skills - such as accountancy, legal and business – needed to analyse the data from global

Furthermore its global location and working day allows it to overlap with both US and European time zones. As Kevin Clark, vice president GWK explained, “The US can give us a job to complete overnight that is ready when they get up in the morning.”

Clark told PFM about the immense pride of the 110 employees in Manilla of hearing they had received the CoreNet Global Award. Until about a year ago the GWK was working ‘under the radar’ as it perfected its systems and completed pilot projects. “Now we are leveraging the GWK to add value for Johnson Controls major clients. It brings them value from day one when clients’ contracts are abstracted and the first monthly reports are produced providing accurate and consistent data for decision-making.”

Competitive global corporations have a rapidly growing need for accurate and timely business information, even more critical now in the current economic downturn. Huge volumes of data must be captured from each of their business premises anywhere in the world. Then it is standardised and consolidated to improve consistency, reliability and accessibility, to be used for continuous process improvement.

The GWK handles raw data from clients at 12,000 locations across 70 countries and 21 languages. Using this data, the GWK’s analysts handle data management and lease administration, provide portfolio performance dashboards, benchmarking across the estate, decision and financial support analysis, business process mapping, modelling and reengineering, supply chain optimisation, contract management and business software productivity development.

Clarke is keen to stress that the GWK is not an outsourced ‘call centre’ but a centre of expertise manned by highly qualified people. According to Clark, most of the GWK staff have more than one degree and three of its senior managers lecture at local univerisities from where many of the staff have been recruited. Accuracy is important but so is speed says Clarke. “We can ‘close out’ data as a KPI within three days after the end of the reporting period. It is virtually ‘real time’ for improved analysis and reporting.”

Clarke explained that the GWK is supporting the over-stretched corporate real estate teams. “Corporate real estate teams are beingdecimated and they don’t have the time for this level of detailed examination of information. They rely on Johnson Controls to increase their productivity. Typically landlords invoices are riddled with input errors and present a massive potential for savings. In the same way, energy bills offer opportunities for significant savings on billing errors alone. We bring a structured approach to our clients’ administration. We abstract the contracts and validate the invoices against the contract terms and bring clients significant savings.”

The cost of undertaking these services in Manilla is a third of the same operation based in Europe or the USA, and less than higher cost countries in the region such as Hong Kong, Japan and Australia. He explained that although there is saving through offshoring alone, the real benefit is driving a further 25 percent efficiency through their clients’ businesses through better and faster information and benchmarking, and faster and more effective business decisions.

As each Johnson Controls client is added to the GWK , a lease abstraction and translation exercise is undertaken and a full dataset collected.The lease abstraction is an essential component of due dilligence for a multitenanted commercial property. To ensure the accuracy, the process typically incorporates a four pass review (see right). Once the full set of data is collected, the GWK can add value by using the data to provide information for data management, information management (through portfolio performance dashboards), benchmarking, decision support analysis for portfolio optimisation and financial analysis.

The GWK can also provide business process mapping and reengineering, business modelling, supply chain optimisation, contract management/reviews, and business productivity software development. GWK is organised in seven Strategic Business Units, each providing a cost effective integrated solution (see top right). Data is processed from the Customer Contact Centre, Data Management and Supply Chain Management SBU’s is organised and analysed by the Business Intelligence and Control (BIC) unit through the generation of business analysis, commercial and KPI reports. The output of the BIC SBU then becomes the input to the Global Performance Scorecard. This integration enables tight business controls which positively impacts financial performance of the business.

The Techology SBU designs the toolset to support any reengineering needs identified through this process. Summarising GWK’s benefits, Clark said the the key advantages for clients are improvements to cost efficiency across their property estates; how the intelligence and observational skills of the GWK people are applied to the data to add real busines value, and the benefit of global data consistency together with faster and more accurate management reports to inform and more accurate decision-making.

Global data sorted
..For one US based global client, the GWK manages information from its portfolio of 5,000 locations totally 100 million sq ft. It tracks about 1,200 active transactions at any one time, and at the month end close out it is able to show the impact of these transactions in terms of cost per sq ft directly to the client.
..Johnson Controls manages the worldwide portfolio for a global advertising client. The GWK produces rent roll forward reports for their financial planning and payment. They receive the landlord invoices for each site month. They factor in any escalation clauses and look for factors driven by market changes.
..The GWK provides a global oil company client with consolidated management reports on a monthly basis for 15,000 locations in 27 countries within three days of the end of the reporting period. Data accuracy is 99 percent and actionable business intelligence is now derived from consolidated data which used to be
reported separately from each of its 27 country locations
... A technology company’s data quality improved from 28 percent to 85 percent. Monthly management reports requiring two weeks to prepare are now available in global, regional and business unit formats in seven days.

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