A 42,000-square-foot church with a long history in its community needed renovations and better capital planning for its trustees and finance committees – but only had Excel to manage all of its operations. And, without a better capital asset system in place, they relied mainly on guesswork when it came to allocating funds for their assets beyond break/fix needs.
Introducing Dude Solutions has enabled the trustee chairman to justify budget requests, establish better budgeting practices, curate facility knowledge and better plan preventive maintenance. Best of all, they were able to create a 20-year calendar that allows them to see which assets will need to be replaced to properly allocate funds at the right time.
Between hosting Sunday services every week and offering facility usage for the community, the church has been a longtime benefactor for the town with families attending for multiple generations. Established in 1890, the 42,000 sq. ft. facility was in dire need of renovations.
Scott Wilson was tapped to oversee the $235,000 renovation of the church’s parsonage, and after the project’s completion, he was selected to be trustee chairman. When he came on board to oversee the property, there was no formal system in place for operations. Work orders and information was still largely being stored on paper or in Excel, creating an obstacle for repairs outside of normal break/fix orders. In addition, the church didn’t have a set system for capital planning, and approval processes took longer than was realistically efficient for the congregation.
The church needed an operations management system in place, so Scott began to shop around. “We did a fairly extensive interview process and talked to about 10 different companies [with a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS)] in the same vertical,” Scott said.
The church desperately needed a facility management solution, but they knew that what would really make the most impact was the ability to understand their capital asset dates. In the end, the powerful capital planning capabilities and the unique pricing model (based on square footage) was the deciding factor for the church to choose Dude Solutions.
With a Dude Solutions team hard at work to get them up to speed, Scott and his team were able to quickly integrate the platform into their operations with multiple users, seamless license tracking and a requestor portal. The training that was included helped answer any of their questions and, thanks to the cloud technology backing the solutions, they didn’t have to worry about updates or maintenance.
“We’re not an IT organization, so Dude Solutions provides software as a service (SaaS) and that’s valuable particularly for a small church,” said Scott.
With their new financial software, Scott was able to create a 20-year calendar which allows them to see what assets will need to eventually be replaced, so that they can properly allocate funds at the right time. Having the calendar has greatly improved Scott’s ability to create an annual budget and create justification for funding requests. And, the capital forecasting software works in tandem with their facility condition assessment data.
With the facility condition assessments, Scott has not only gained insight into the condition of his assets, but he is also able to use the data when he presents requests and reports to the financial committee. With this data, the church has even more accurate information for their budgets, such as how much repairs cost, as well as justification for bigger projects and preventive planning. With powerful data from a licensed company, Scott has factual justification with an added layer of credibility. This means that approvals are given faster and the church is able to finance preventive instead of reactive maintenance.
“In the past, I would have to build my own project priority plan that didn’t include capital assets,” Scott said.
With the capital forecasting piece of the software, it builds my 20-year outlook and lets me know when things need to be replaced or repaired.
"All of that we used to do with a ‘finger in the wind’ approach," he said.
One of the additional benefits of having a CMMS has been the ability to share knowledge. While they used to rely on the knowledge of a single facilities employee, they are now able to store information on the platform on things such as repair and replacement history, vendors previously used, the cost of prior repairs and more.
“If I move on, I won’t be around to remember cost or the names of vendors,” Scott said. “We’re able to capture all that. Down the road, if someone needs answers they can just look at the system. That intellectual capital is invaluable.”
Scott and the church have seen such improvements in their operations that he has also recommended other churches to use a CMMS at a recent conference.
“I would like to say that we made the right choice,” Scott said. “I deal with a lot of vendors… there are a lot of really not nice people or companies out there. You guys set a very high bar. I greatly appreciate that I don’t have to worry about you guys as a vendor. We’re very pleased with the software.”