ARCHIBUS Success Story

Penn National Insurance Finds the Best Policy Is Web-based Asset Tracking and Work Order Management

Penn National Insurance is a regional property and casualty insurance carrier serving the eastern United States. The company was founded in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1919 and is home to the corporate headquarters. The company employs approximately 900 personnel and markets insurance through independent insurance agents whose success has contributed to the company’s growth and its subsequent need for more accurate and responsive facilities information management.

As Penn National Insurance Company embarked, in the early 1990s, on a program of replacing all its furniture and tagging those assets in compliance with its leases, it was also exploring the construction of a new corporate headquarters – and factoring in more furniture and equipment.

Those twin pursuits pointed out the need to more effectively manage what would be a rapidly growing number of work orders and physical assets, says Brent Reifsnyder, the company’s Director of Administrative Services.

Overall, the project identified over 20,000 assets that would require tags -- but only one infrastructure and facilities management solution fully capable of handling all of Administrative Services’ F&E tracking needs.

Linking Assets and Accounting

Following a CFO mandate that ARCHIBUS become the single source of all asset information in 1995, the Furniture & Equipment Management application was implemented and programmed to calculate five different methods of depreciation as well as to reflect the individual hierarchical budget center structure.

The company worked closely with their ARCHIBUS Business Partner Facilities Solutions Group (FSG) of Langhorne, Pennsylvania, to implement its ARCHIBUS application with the goal of minimizing customization to reduce expense, complexity, and the cost of upgrades or other modifications.

In addition, Penn National also implemented the ARCHIBUS Building Operations Management, Real Property & Lease Management, and Space Management applications.

“From that point forward, ARCHIBUS has been wonderful,” Reifsnyder reports.

ARCHIBUS continues to be the primary resource for work order management and fixed asset management, including depreciation calculation and space management for budget chargebacks. The company also uses PDAs and Palm technology to inventory assets and transmit work order communications. Most recently, Penn National implemented ARCHIBUS Web Central to create a distributed self-service capability not only for asset tracking, but also for work order processing that would register requests and report order status.

ARCHIBUS Web Central Decentralizes Work Order Processing

“Historically, as an organization we initiated work orders like any other department – through direct observation, by bumping into someone and having a conversation, or through a phone call or e-mail,” Reifsnyder reports. “For the most part, if you needed something done, it went through one person. From there, the facilities department took care of entering the data, completing the request, and closing out the work order.

“This worked and has for years; however, with most issues, some important piece of information is usually lost in translation. ARCHIBUS Web Central was implemented to provide more self-service options and help eliminate the initial information intake work on the part of the facilities department along with the lost-in-translation issues. An added bonus that came with the decentralization of work order processing was that it freed the facilities staff to address other, more pressing activities.”

Passing the Stress Test

The testing of the ARCHIBUS Web Central-based work order system consisted of a two-phase approach. The first test was conducted using the ARCHIBUS training database. That was followed by the second test against the full production environment.

Following the successful completion of these stress tests and the system roll-out, training was done via e-mail. Users simply had to follow a brief training script in order to generate work orders, which they were completing on the first day of the system’s live launch. Individual training was provided, if requested, either in person or by phone. Simplicity was the name of the game and Reifsnyder and company seemed to have achieved this objective. In fact, one individual reported that the instructions were too simple.

After the roll-out, Penn National started to look at reports and what it wanted to track. The user population also spoke up and indicated that it wanted different report options than were provided out-of-the-box. The initial thought was to take a “wait and see” approach toward that user population, but changes were ultimately needed and their complexity and scope made is more cost-effective to have it done by FSG.

The Future: Migrating from Manual MACs

Internal churn was another issue, says Reifsnyder, especially because the manual system for keeping track of moves had serious limitations. The lessons learned with the implementation of ARCHIBUS Web Central and Work Order Management will help accelerate the addition of ARCHIBUS Move Management, an application that will benefit both the Administrative Services and the Information Technology departments.

Delaying the implementation of Move Management in ARCHIBUS Web Central, however, are internal technology issues. Although the internal IT architecture is robust with nearly current releases of Microsoft applications, it is not as current as ARCHIBUS ARCHIBUS Web Central’s requirements for server software. Since the Administrative Services area is not the primary driver in software upgrades to the organization, Penn National must wait until one of the major divisions requires an upgrade to the server software before it can implement Move Management. Once this occurs, though, Reifsnyder’s group is ready to implement Move Management across ARCHIBUS Web Central to appropriate user groups and individuals.

The initial plan for Move Management is to have move coordinators electronically initiate both individual and group move requests. These requests will be communicated via e-mail to the appropriate facilities and information technology personnel.

Such a process will provide significant time-savings to the IT department through a self-service capability that supports basic information intake and the processing needed to initiate short-notice “box’ moves that departments regularly conduct – often without thinking about the necessary logistics. From a facilities perspective, this will allow better overall management of building churn, and, finally, allow Penn National to be more proactive in its cost-containment efforts.

Vital Statistics

Penn National Insurance (Ranks in the top 8 percent, out of more than 1,000 U.S. property-casualty insurance groups, based on net premiums written.)
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Facilities Facts:
860 employees, occupying 243,200 square feet of space, in 2 buildings and 3 leased spaces; leasing to other organizations approximately 73,000 square feet; and operating one 12-floor parking garage, and managing 20,000 F&E assets.
ARCHIBUS Applications:
ARCHIBUS Web Central, Real Property & Lease Management, Space Management, Building Operations Management, Furniture & Equipment Management, Work Wizard, Overlay for AutoCAD
3rd Party Applications:
Autodesk AutoCAD
Reason For Implementation:
More efficient tracking of physical assets, faster work-order processing, more efficient move managementysis
Benefits Gained:
Better linkage of assets and accounting systems, more self-service Web-based applications that free Administrative Services staff for other tasks
Plans For Future Use:
Eventual introduction of Move Management solution
Web Site:
©2005 ARCHIBUS, Inc.18 Tremont St.Boston, MA 02108   USATel: 1