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Optimising Service delivery at Skanska

02 May 2012

Having been awarded a £43 million contract from Midlothian Council to design, build and finance eight new primary schools under a PPP contract, and, once built, to maintain the schools for 30 years, Skanska required a CAFM system to fulfil the maintenance contract. Skanska chose QFM from Service Works; the software enables Skanska to effectively and efficiently deliver FM services to the eight schools under the terms of the Midlothian Schools PPP contract.

Introducing SAM ...

Managing the facilities of eight schools is the tip of the iceberg for Skanska, the largest construction company in Sweden where it is headquartered. Not only has Skanska constructed the 230m Heron Tower, one of the tallest buildings in London, it is also renovating the United Nations building in New York City and is restoring the World Trade Center ground zero site, among countless other prestigious projects.

In the UK Skanska employs around 4,600 staff and undertakes around £1.3 billion of work each year. All aspects of the construction, development and infrastructure process - from financing projects, through to design, construction, facilities management, operation and maintenance – fall under its remit. Worldwide, Skanska employs 52,000 staff, and in 2010 its sales totalled around £11 billion.

In Scotland, Skanska has numerous high profile clients including the University of Edinburgh, the National Trust for Scotland and the Ministry of Defence, and it works across facilities from shopping centres, football stadiums and biotechnology labs to train stations, prisons and schools. Regional Manager, Eddie Myles and Regional Facilities Manager Stephen Monaghan oversee the Midlothian Schools PPP contract, of which the computer-aided facilities management (CAFM) tool, QFM from Service Works Group, is an integral aspect.

Skanska Case Study

In 2005 Skanska was awarded a £43 million contract from Midlothian Council to design, build and finance eight new primary schools and, once built, to maintain the schools for 30 years. To fulfil the maintenance contract, a CAFM system needed to be implemented to allow Skanska to effectively and efficiently deliver FM services to the eight schools. After a lengthy process reviewing the major CAFM systems on the market, Skanska chose QFM from Service Works. Eddie explains: “QFM was the only system that we were satisfied could fully respond to our needs.”

Given Skanska’s bespoke requirements, installation took about a year. With the system now up and running for five years, authorised persons in each of the schools can access QFM through the web and raise a job about any issue that requires attention such as a light bulb requiring replacement or a broken chair that needs fixing. As soon as the job is logged with the helpdesk, based in Midlothian, Skanska has a stipulated time within which to act. The person raising the issue can monitor progress updates in real time and Midlothian Council also has remote system access and at month end receives a report from Skanska with updates on performance and service level agreements (SLA).

Rather than call it a helpdesk, Skanska chose to name the system SAM, short for Skanska at Midlothian. “The tag line is ‘If you’ve got a problem, just ask SAM.’ Calling it this took the fear factor away for many users who were used to phoning maintenance requests rather than logging a request with an IT system. The name SAM makes it feel more personal and less intimidating,” says Eddie. “As soon as the system was up and running, users were amazed at how quickly we were able to respond and get a job done. It was difficult for them to get their heads around the efficiency levels at first.”

Service Works Group was the only CAFM provider to prove that they could provide a penalty deduction, or payment mechanism report as a bespoke system requirement. Having this facility is essential for any PPP contract where the fines for not performing to a SLA can be substantial. “If you have to comply to a SLA within, say, two hours, the clock starts ticking as soon as the request is entered into the system. If at the end of the two hours you’ve still not dealt with it, the system automatically calculates the penalty based on the contract specification. We have to be proactive, carry out the work and stop the clock, or else we risk being penalised,” explains Stephen.

If the contractor fails to respond on time even in another school, the penalty begins to ramp up very quickly. “It can ramp up across all eight schools. So if someone doesn’t clean properly in one school and the same thing happens in another, the penalty can ramp up, even double or treble. However QFM forewarns of potential service failures and as a result, this helps to mitigate penalty deductions.”

As a combined result of Skanska being responsive and QFM being so effective at providing real time alerts of jobs that need completion, Skanska has minimised the possibility of penalties. Not only that, but QFM has saved Skanska a significant amount of time in administration. “If we were to manually calculate the penalty reports every month, entering the data into spreadsheets would take us at least two or three days each month,” says Stephen.

It was also important for Skanska to provide the council with a system with inbuilt safeguards against fraud to ensure complete transparency and auditability across the contract. “Service Works worked patiently with us over the course of eighteen months to make lots of bespoke changes to the system so it would fully suit our needs.” Safeguards were built in, which prevent Skanska and anyone with access to the system from changing targets in an attempt to inflate or deflate performance. “For our client, the beauty of QFM is that it is a very auditable system which cannot be tampered with. The PPP stakeholders also know that if for any reason we failed to deliver, then QFM would automatically calculate the penalty. Because QFM provides month to month audit functionality with complete data integrity, it gives the client a level of trust and reassurance,” Eddie says.

Another benefit of QFM is around staff savings. Given that Midlothian Schools is a relatively small PPP contract, the helpdesk is staffed by a commensurate number of people: Managerial, Supervisory and Administration staff along with janitorial provision at each of the schools. This excludes contractors such as cleaning, security and technical staff.

“Without QFM we would need double or treble the number of staff to deal with the administration of the Contract . Now users can simply log the job themselves, which removes the need for a middleman. We would also have a lot more paperwork to deal with,” adds Eddie.

The system can also generate numerous reports, both for the council and Skanska managers, such as tracking a job against a particular asset and storing the historical data. Service and engineering reports can then be linked to any standalone asset. This is important for Skanska given that the schools and their physical assets have to be maintained to a HIGH standard over the 30 year period. Plus it removes the need to have a mountain of paperwork for each asset.

Given that the system has been implemented for five years, Skanska soon plans to upgrade and to use it for other projects. “We’re starting to roll QFM out to other clients. Eventually all of our clients, some of which have over 200 buildings to be serviced, will use QFM,” concludes Eddie Myles.

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