Hydro Ottawa Limited, a major electrical distribution company in the Canadian province of Ontario, is responsible for the delivery of electricity to approximately 270,000 residential and 30,000 business customers in the City of Ottawa and environs, a 426-square mile service area.
And it’s an area that requires a lot of service.
Among the assets the company maintains are over 3,000 miles of aboveand under-ground wires, 85 transformer stations, 41,000 transformers, and 52,000 utility poles. In addition, the Facilities Management Department is responsible for five main offices and service centers, as well as capital projects involving construction of buildings and sub-stations. That range of assets and supporting services results in over 4,000 work orders a year – and the need for a more efficient way to respond to them.
$60K Annual Savings, 93% SLA Success Rate
The goal of the Facilities Management Department, says Hydro Ottawa’s Facilities Supervisor Joey St. Jacques, was to replace the then-current work request system used by facilities personnel responsible for maintenance processes. That system relied on sticky notes, faxes, and other paper-based communications to send and keep track of work orders. The automated system that Hydro Ottawa envisioned would use PDAs, wireless communications, and feature more easily tracked online processes, all of which connected to a back–end server able to monitor workflows, as well as define and support Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
Hydro Ottawa deployed a solution called NOMAD, an ARCHIBUS-based platform created by Horizant, a Canadian Business Partner with offices in Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver. The NOMAD application runs seamlessly on Blackberry Smartphones, with the application handling communications between field personnel and the central Hydro Ottawa facilities team supported by ARCHIBUS. Upon receiving work requests, facilities department dispatchers distribute work orders that include problem type, building location and other relevant information to workers. Once the work is completed, those workers can then document facility/asset conditions with the Blackberry’s built-in camera.
The work status and completion details can then be updated using a drop-down pick list menu to select and post job data for real-time field updates to the ARCHIBUS Web Central database.
“The combined ARCHIBUS and NOMAD solutions have made a big difference,” says St. Jacques. “They’ve delivered savings of $60,000+ CDN (approx. $57,000 US) annually, and are helping us meet our Service Level Agreements with a 93% success rate. Delivering a rapid ROI and taking only 4 weeks to implement, the systems include integration- and change management-training.”
ARCHIBUS Dashboards: The Picture of Control
Furthering the utility of the NOMAD/ARCHIBUS platform has been the integration of Performance Management and Contract Management dashboards used by the facilities headquarters team. The Performance Management dashboard, for example, provides views by month, employee, etc. of whether projects are on-time or overdue.
“Our Contract Management dashboard provides a comparative picture, in bar chart or other graphical format, of contract costs for painting, plumbing, waste management or any other category of contracted services,” St. Jacques points out.
“ARCHIBUS dashboards have also been time and money savers when it comes to creating reports,” explains St. Jacques. “The push of a button allows me to run multiple reports, so there’s no time wasted gathering information from multiple sources. Instead of needing a couple of hours to generate a weekly, monthly, or quarterly report, now it takes only five minutes, which translates into a 5% savings in administrative costs. The dashboards also enable us to manage our assets better by visually identifying the increase in problem types and components as well as measuring the productivity of all our staff.”
After seeing the dashboard data, C-Level executives now recognize their value as they raise the stature of the facilities management department.
Work Order Closure Rate Up 30%, Adverse Audit Findings Down 95%
Just as importantly, the NOMAD/ARCHIBUS system collects field metrics which help management make cost-saving decisions about a range of challenges, such as replacing versus repairing machinery. The system creates additional efficiencies through the introduction of new time-saving processes, such as automated preventive maintenance work requests.
“In addition to adverse audit findings being reduced by 95%, work order closure rates have increased by 30%, and an interesting side outcome that is actually positive is that work requests are up by 40%,” notes St. Jacques. “That’s because facilities department workers are entering more work tickets on their hand-helds because of ad hoc requests from employees taking advantage of their presence as they fix other problems. They can capture those work requests in the field rather than returning to the office to input them…and possibly forgetting them along the way.”
“The ARCHIBUS/NOMAD combination has finally given us real-time, accurate data and sophisticated analytical tools that translate into better overall job management.”