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Supporting Academic and Research Excellence

10 December 2010

SPONSORED ARTICLE

Cardiff University

Cardiff University is the largest provider of adult education in Wales. Its Estates Division is responsible for the management and condition of the University's estate. Hard and soft
maintenance is carried out by the University’s direct labour force, which works alongside third party contractors for cleaning, maintenance and refurbishment.
Since the early 1990’s, the Estates team had used a CAFM system to manage all facilities activity. However, by 2009, the system was failing to deliver the operational benefits required, as Jim Atkinson, Estates Manager, explains, “Our incumbent solution was no longer aligned with the scope or scale of our workload. The Estates Helpdesk records and manages around 35,000 reactive maintenance events each year. With our previous system, this had to be controlled via an output of paper job tickets, and the resulting paper trail became rather unwieldy. We needed a system that could streamline the reactive maintenance process and manage events accurately and effectively. This was one of the main drivers for us in deciding to implement a new, more comprehensive CAFM system.”
The University evaluated the FM software market and view the shortlisted solutions in a live operational environment. Following a series of successful site visits, Cardiff University selected QFM from Service Works.
It was installed at Cardiff University in late 2009 and went live in March 2010. The University initially went live with QFM Helpdesk to manage service events. Jobs are reported to the helpdesk via telephone or email, entered into QFM, prioritised and assigned to the most appropriate contractor.
QFM Mobile from Service Works has recently been rolled out to the University’s in-house contractors, which enables the Estates helpdesk to instantly dispatch work orders from QFM to a handheld device, allowing field-based engineers to update and manage details of the job on their mobile device, reducing the administrative load on the helpdesk. Jim Atkinson explains, “The direct labour team can manage their workload and complete job details in real time, via QFM.
Contractors no longer need to return to base to pick up jobs or to close them down, which is a much more efficient use of resource. Whilst we are still in the early stages, the reporting of work is already much better and we are confident that QFM Mobile will deliver greatly improved contractor performance.”
One of the key benefits for the University is the ability to see the ‘bigger picture’, as Jim Atkinson explains, “QFM has allowed us to re-examine all of our procedures and processes. In the past, we had to tweak the way that we worked to suit our old system. Because QFM is fully aligned with our working practices, we can now produce accurate statistics about how long it has taken to complete a job and use this information to drive KPI’s.”
The installation of QFM has already been so successful that Cardiff University is looking at ways to expand its usage. Jim Atkinson comments, “During 2011, we plan to extend QFM to external contractors and university staff, via the QFM Web application. This will provide contractors with remote web-based access to QFM, enabling them to log on to the system from anywhere to manage their workloads.
Management-level staff in the University’s 27 academic schools will be granted self-service access to QFM Web, which will enable them to log maintenance jobs themselves, saving time and reducing the administrative load on the Estates helpdesk. They will be able to view progress of jobs via QFM, providing us with instant access to business-critical information and delivering a greater degree of transparency to the building  user.”
Jim Atkinson concludes, “Access to accurate information is absolutely essential. The performance of the estate and its effect on the performance of the University and its staff and students are inextricably linked. QFM has provided the Estates Department with a valuable and accurate insight into our performance. We are now able to analyse and report upon FM data with a high degree of accuracy and use this information to drive performance and improve our speed of service.”


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