ARCHIBUS Enterprises Readily Connect to Other Blue Chip Software
Since its 1957 inception as a materials science and engineering company, Raychem Corporation has grown to be one of the 300 largest publicly held manufacturing companies in America, with 8500 employees in over 45 countries. Raychem helps its customers build their own products less expensively, and it creates stronger, more durable materials that will give their customers' products more value. Its clients are drawn from such industries as aerospace, automotive, construction, consumer electronics, electrical power, gas and water utilities, pipeline industries, process industries, and telecommunications. Raychem has played a major role in the development of such products as touchscreen terminals, electrical wire harnessing systems (used in the control of planes, trains and automobiles), arresters that protect electrical power distribution lines from the dangers of surges, and fuses that protect cellular phones from short-circuiting.
Chargeback and Utility Billing
Like many other facilities management groups, Raychem Corporation's Site Services Division is responsible for calculating departmental chargeback costs. Along with the usual components of space and maintenance costs, however, utility costs are factored in as well. According to Bob Nungester, Facilities Engineering Department Manager at Raychem, "Utility Billing combines space allocation data with utility consumption data from meters, submeters, and monthly utilities bills based on space types and areas." The process of combining these disparate sets of data was, to say the least, cumbersome. It required fifty spreadsheets and a custom FoxPro application just to perform the Utility Billing. And even after all of these fancy maneuvers had been executed, the results were frequently inaccurate.
Raychem needed, first of all, a better way to determine chargeback costs. Secondly, it needed a Facilities Management program that would be compatible with its own Expense Reporting and Budgeting System, or ERBS. Raychem's ERBS uses the General Ledger module from SAP.
A Word of Explanation
Some explanation may be in order here. SAP's R/3 program can manage a company's vital functions from order-taking to manufacturing to accounting. According to Business Week, it is popular with multinational systems because it can "handle different currencies, languages and regulations". Raychem had chosen SAP to handle its accounting tasks. Now it needed a Facilities Management program that could produce output in the format required by SAP.
Raychem hired Computerized Facility Integration to address this very issue. Joel Pearlman, now Senior Project Manager at CFI, employed a very structured approach to the problem. First, he assessed Raychem's business, its systems and functional requirements. He knew, for example, that space and utility output files needed to be ASCII batch files. These files would be used to upload journal voucher and utility charges to SAP. Pearlman recommended ARCHIBUS because he knew that the software was flexible enough and friendly enough to adopt the language of SAP. From Nungester's point of view, ARCHIBUS's link to AutoCAD, its open system design, and the knowledge that he could count on local support were principle deciding factors.
Pearlman explains how the union of ARCHIBUS and SAP was brought about. Working closely with Bob, Joel and his team scrutinized Raychem's process- its existent software. They produced a data flow diagram which illustrated the current state of affairs. Because the proper time and attention had been devoted to acquiring an in-depth understanding of Raychem's operational methods and because they were well apprised of Raychem's needs (Bob had specified his needs by producing a flowchart of his own), Pearlman was able to produce documentation which offered specific suggestions to remedy the problems which had become evident. Because everyone had done his or her homework beforehand, the actual implementation process went quite smoothly. The tinkering and fine-tuning that can often accompany such a major change simply wasn't necessary. In essence, the SAP upload was just another ARCHIBUS custom report submitted in the format specified by Raychem's Management Information Systems Department.
Nungester, who thoroughly enjoys the Visual Basic scripting capabilities of ARCHIBUS, has written several of his own programs. Electronic report generation has also turned out to be quite a boon to Raychem's facilities management. According to Nungester, "It is the electronic forms of output that have proven to be the greatest leverage of the system's capabilities." Another benefit which has been reaped is the use of the data stored in ARCHIBUS as a "feed" to the company's computerized maintenance management system as well as its internal Web site. (Raychem has set up a new WAN which links all of its buildings.) Through Raychem's Intranet, the information generated by ARCHIBUS can be accessed by any Raychem employee.
Finally, as a site-wide recabling is proceeding, the telecommunications data is being entered into ARCHIBUS (as opposed to being stored in someone's head, which had formerly been the case).
ARCHIBUS + SAP = $$ Saved
Not only is data much more reliable, but also the company has saved thousands of dollars in data entry and report generation costs alone. This is one arranged "union" that has surely done its matchmakers proud.
Menlo Park, CA
35 buildings at Menlo Park site
1.7 million sq. ft.; 3,500 employees
|ARCHIBUS Applications: |
Telecommunications & Cable Management
|Benefits Gained: |
Information sharing among departments; cost savings in data entry and report generation
|Impetus for Implementation: |
Difficulties in administering complicated chargeback system; shrinking FM budget; total absence of telecommunications and cable management.
|ARCHIBUS Integration: |
|Web Site: |
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