Compliance Streamlined Organization-Wide
The roots of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) extend back to 1807, when the U.S. government’s first scientific agency, the Survey of the Coast, was established. Since then, NOAA has evolved to meet the needs of a changing country. It maintains a presence in every state and has emerged as an international leader in scientific and environmental matters.
From daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings, and climate monitoring to fisheries management, coastal restoration, and marine commerce support, NOAA’s products and services support the nation’s economic vitality, affecting more than one-third of America’s gross domestic product. NOAA scientists’ cutting-edge research and high-tech instrumentation provide emergency managers, planners, and other decision-makers reliable information when needed.
The same reliance on advanced technology is a hallmark of NOAA’s facilities managers, who recently embarked on a multiyear ARCHIBUS implementation to improve asset management of the agency’s sprawling real estate.
That implementation, which includes a variety of ARCHIBUS Web-based applications and mobile apps, was designed to replace multiple legacy applications with a single enterprise asset management system. The new system addresses the needs of NOAA’s three regional centers in Silver Spring, Maryland; Seattle, Washington; and Honolulu, Hawaii. These centers’ facilities totaled 17 buildings, comprising 2.25 million square feet of space, 5,000 occupants, and over 100,000 system furniture assets.
The project was large—as were the project drivers.
Goals: Space Consistency Standards, Utilization Statistics Access, System Consolidation
“Neither space nor asset standards were consistent,” recalls Gina Ziegenbein, NOAA’s Property Management Officer. “CAD plans were not maintained across all three regions and management couldn’t analyze inventory or plan for the future. We also couldn’t report on occupancy/vacancy for planning purposes. Plus, there were multiple legacy CMMS platforms from NOAA regional centers, and a work-around that prevented the agency from having timely and consistent workflow, data flow, and reporting capabilities.”
NOAA first implemented Space Management, Building Operations Management, Telecommunications & Cable Management, and Cost Administration applications to create a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution. Such a system would provide the consistency and flexibility needed to define space and data standards, establish standard workflows, deliver accurate reporting, and support best practices.
“We transferred asset data from two legacy CMMS platformsinto one Web-based ARCHIBUS system, then tagged and linked 3,000 equipment and telecom assets to preventive maintenance procedures and schedules,” Ziegenbein reports. “To support improved maintenance processes, we also established three regional Help desks to manage daily operations and monthly maintenance requests that leveraged ARCHIBUS mobile technology capabilities.”
Being a heavily data-dependent organization by virtue of their scientific orientation, NOAA’s telecom assets (formerly maintained locally in Excel) were given a similar survey, inventory, and equipment standards processing to track amps, power, BTUs, and more. The agency also determined on-demand and preventive maintenance procedures.
Finally, ARCHIBUS Cost Administration helped wean NOAA from an Excel-based cost management system to an online, automated method of controlling expenses, including lease management.
Tangible Achievements, Future Plans
“The end result of our work has been the establishment of unified and streamlined workflows and data flows of required activities with defined data standards for reporting purposes,” Ziegenbein points out. “So we’ve achieved our goal of having system-wide, centralized reporting to better manage our large, geographically distributed facilities using consistent Federal Real Property Profile (FRPP) reporting in compliance with Executive Order 13327…and our obligation to taxpayers, of course.”
Still on the drawing board for NOAA’s facilities professionals are the evolution of strategic space and building operations reporting and continuous improvement processes. The agency will also finish permanent bar-coding of all goverment-owned equipment, incorporate QR coding, and conduct space allocation and occupancy surveys using tablets … all made easier by ARCHIBUS.