Vital Statistics
Washington County
Washington County, Minnesota
Facilities Facts:
1 million square feet, 16 buildings, parks, transportation maintenance facilities, and county service centers.
Reasons for Implementing:
Replace chaotic, paper-based work order management and inaccurate space management data practices with an online, real-time system using centralized data.
Benefits Gained:
Space data accuracy within .004%; real-time work order management with improved tracking; up-to-date employee and location information; signicant operational savings.
Business Partner:
Talisen Technologies, Inc.
Web Site:
The #1 Solution in the World for
Total Infrastructure and Facilities Management

Washington County, MN: From Maintenance and Space Chaos to Confidence with ARCHIBUS

For too long a time, the operative word at Minnesota’s Washington County Building Services Department was a widespread and productivity-hobbling "no."

In particular, when it came to its work order management and space planning functions, the County had no tracking of preventive maintenance or equipment. No employee tracking. No standards for space type and use. No accurate electronic les or oor plans. Not to mention, inconsistent measurement standards.

In fact, the county’s reliance on manual calculations of square footage led the department’s leaders to the discovery that their area space metrics had a 20% margin of error.

To get from “no” to “yes” in accurate collection and centralization of key building service information and automating business processes, Washington County chose ARCHIBUS as the technology platform to manage its one million square feet of space, 16 buildings, assorted parks, transportation maintenance facilities, and county service centers.

The Goal: High ROI Implementation with Centralized Data, Web Access

“When I started in the county, the main way of submitting and tracking work orders was with three-page handwritten, carbon-copied forms,” explains Erik Jalowitz, the county’s Assistant Public Works Manager. “The end users would just write it down and send it through interoce mail. Our craftspeople would take it, do the work, put it in their notes, and then use interoce mail to send it back. We used phone and two-way radio to contact people but it’s hard to track that. At other times, we’d just make a verbal request in the hallway. Utilizing email, there was no way to know who opened the email work orders. So it created a lot of confusion and frustration for our sta and end users.”

“Managing space information was also a challenge at a county with many CAD drawings, and no one on sta with CAD,” adds Building Logistics Coordinator Mandy Leonard. With the help of ARCHIBUS Business Partner Talisen Technologies, Inc., the county was able to dene the required system capabilities and design the best implementation approach.

“We knew that we needed a central source of data,” Leonard explained. “We needed electronic access to those AutoCAD les. We really wanted to become web-based so that our osite locations could make work requests from their sites and we could still see them and track everything.

“We decided the system also had to be user-friendly because we had so many people who were scared of technology, from our craftspeople and custodians, who didn’t use computers at all, to our end-users who were now going to do electronic work requests on a regular basis. And then we needed to make sure that it provided demonstrable value and expandability.”

The ARCHIBUS system met that need with an initial implementation that included Space Inventory & Performance, Personnel & Occupancy, On Demand Work, and Preventive Maintenance.

Reaping the Rewards: Space Accuracy Within .004%

The six–step implementation plan began with dening organizational processes, employee/SLA/equipment data gathering, and drawing preparation. The second phase addressed administrator training, and system testing and piloting. Finally, the project targeted system renements and end-user training prior to system launch.

“We decided to do a full branding and marketing campaign because we needed to sell our technology vision,” Leonard remembers. “We created a newsletter that basically talked about ARCHIBUS and what the modules were that we were going to implement. The county intranet was used to post the newsletters and announcements as well as provide demonstrations to department managers and supervisors.”

System introduction and acceptance went largely as planned and the results speak for themselves. Most telling is the improvement in data accuracy. Square footage reports now provide data accuracy within .004%. In addition, space, employee location, and work order information is now current, easily accessible, and managed more eciently.

“Reaping the benets of the ARCHIBUS implementation,” adds Leonard, “we recently received the IFMA Technology In-Use Award from the local IFMA chapter in Minneapolis/St. Paul for the signicant change we made. After implementing ARCHIBUS, our success has raised condence in our department and led to a more collaborative work environment with other county departments.”

The awards may continue, too, as the county adds Service Desk, Asset Portal, Energy Management and Move Management applications to improve operations and lower costs.

Says Leonard, “We have really taken ourselves from a complete zero of a system (with zero data value) into the modern era with ARCHIBUS.”