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Robert Morris University Goes Mobile, Increases Productivity and Achieves Inventory Control

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CLIENT: Robert Morris University —Ruth Haynam, Senior Director of Maintenance and Operations; Matt Hyatt, Associate Director of Maintenance

GEOGRAPHY: Moon Township, Pennsylvania

VITALS: 5,000+ students; 10 maintenance technicians; 41 campus buildings

CHALLENGES: Previous paper system inhibited accountability and productivity, as well as lacked inventory management and mobile workforce

RESULTS: Fully mobile work order management, increased productivity, reporting and inventory control, improved customer service, achieved department KPIs and inventory management

When Ruth Haynam began her role as Senior Director of Maintenance and Operations at Robert Morris University, Matt Hyatt had already been proposing using Dude Solutions for a while in his position as Associate Director of Maintenance. The department had been using an outdated system that wasn’t meeting their needs, heavily relying on printing work orders for their technicians to take out into the field. It was clear the method lacked necessary reporting capabilities and held them back in their accountability and productivity goals.

Ruth and Matt knew their team needed new tools, a system that would promote preventive maintenance (PM) initiatives and help them get organized, particularly where their inventory was concerned. They also wanted to have the benefits of a mobile workforce, leading them to see what their options were for making a system change.

They had heard of Dude Solutions from nearby La Roche College, which had been using the applications for a while and spoke highly of their capabilities. When Ruth and Matt visited to see the solutions in action, they knew then it had the potential to meet their must-haves. A big plus was that La Roche’s technicians took to it well, something that was important to Ruth. She knew there wouldn’t be any point in adopting a mobile system if those in the field wouldn’t utilize it, so when La Roche technicians commented that the applications were easy to use, Ruth and Matt decided to move forward with getting Dude Solutions on their campus, implementing much needed products such as Work and Asset Management and Inventory Management.

Ruth, Matt and their team took the time from the beginning to make sure implementation was smooth and effective. They chose two technicians to try out the system first before getting others actively involved. Once usage of the solutions had spread, it was only two to three months before Ruth noticed a substantial drop off in the amount of time work orders sat open. After about six months, she saw that her goals were being achieved, which allowed for better reporting on metrics.

“When we brought this on board, we made a goal of 80% of our demand work orders being completed in 48 hours, and we’ve met that goal, and managed to exceed that goal every month,” says Ruth. “Right now we have less than 1% [of work orders] that exceed seven days.”

One of the biggest changes the Dude Solutions system has brought to the department has been the ability to put iPads in the technicians’ hands so they are completely mobile. When the team used paper work orders and something changed during the day, a technician would have to be tracked down and given a new printed work order or told to switch gears, eating up time and revealing a gap in communication.

Now they can make live updates that technicians are immediately notified of on their mobile device out in the field.

“It’s all at their fingertips now. They carry their iPads with them and keep it refreshed so they know when a new work order is in their queue. It’s a huge difference from where we were before,” Matt says.

Another goal the system helped accomplish was to give Ruth and her team the tools to maintain and organize a dedicated inventory store. “It’s not just the techs going out in the field that gets you to the goal or completion rate. It’s knowing what you have and what you need. When the technicians are in the field they can put in the parts or supplies they might need, which saves time. It creates a lot of efficiencies at the management level as well as at the technician level,” says Ruth.

A huge plus has been how easily Dude Solutions works with Grainger integration, helping them keep inventory controlled and stocked. Utilizing Just-in-Time delivery options, they never have to worry about running out of an item that could slow down their work orders. In the future, they hope to implement the Click-to-Buy feature, a final step in a well-oiled inventory machine.

Ruth also notes that the system has improved the efficiency of their PM plan, reducing 1,200 demand work order calls. With the plan’s high visibility and detailed documentation in the system, techs in the field can see exactly where the equipment they’re assigned to is on campus and what they’ll need, saving them time throughout the day. Though they had a PM plan prior to using Dude Solutions Work and Asset Management, it wasn’t running as efficiently as they knew it could.

“Dude Solutions just made it more efficient. Before, everybody’s sheets were printed out every single morning. They might have a PM to do on an air handler in a specific building but it [the work order] didn’t tell you what filters were needed or the location of the equipment,” Matt says. “Now the technician can look at the work order and know exactly what material is needed and where it is located, which makes for a more efficient work force.”

As for what’s ahead, Ruth and Matt plan to further streamline their PM operations, moving toward more proactive work than reactive. They’re also considering using Dude Solutions’ client portal capabilities that would allow students and staff to submit work orders themselves. With the system’s opportunities for customization and The Dude client support team just a call away, they know they can take their usage of the system even further to streamline maintenance and operations on campus.

“It’s the one tool that we use which enables us to drive productivity, efficiency and really have a grasp on the maintenance work,” Ruth says. “It’s been a huge asset to me. I’ve been overseeing maintenance now for about three years, and it really helps link some of my goals, objectives and metrics in a meaningful way that I can report on.”

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