ARCHIBUS Success Story

Roche Responds in Record Time

It was late December. Most folks at the Palo Alto campus of Roche Bioscience were looking forward to a nice, week-long holiday break to enjoy with friends and family. Among them was Roger Mason, Systems Manager, who had joined the corporation before Roche had acquired his employer, Syntex Pharmaceutical.

The Mandate
Aerial View of Palo Alto Campus of Roche Bioscience The full impact of the acquisition registered when a mandate arrived from Roche headquarters in Basel, Switzerland—henceforth all business units would be charged for their facilities usage. Such a practice was unthinkable for a company which had never had to worry about facility expenses. As Roger put it, “If one needed some equipment,” the question was not how much was it going to cost, but “how fast can I get it?” Space wars and dummy offices were a regular phenomenon.

To make matters worse, Palo Alto would have to furnish space allocation information in short order. Division budgets hung in the balance. In just one month, every nook and cranny of 25 buildings comprising 1.5 million square feet would have to be accounted for and their worth measured (a task that would normally have required three months).

The good news was that ARCHIBUS was already being used to manage space on the campus. However, in order to provide chargeback calculations, some preliminary steps needed to be taken. For example, modifications of the existing schema had to be made along with modifications of the Site, Building and Room Standards.

The Rally
Once the initial shock had passed, people began to rally. A special team was swiftly assembled. The team worked frantically around the clock and right through the holiday break!

Complicating the whole process was the fact that while the data was being collected, the whole site was in a state of turmoil because units from other sites were being moved into the Palo Alto site. Space for the newcomers had to be found. With the preliminary work now completed, Roger, along with his teammates, was able to enter the information into the ARCHIBUS system. The reports required by their Swiss management could now be generated. Moreover, the new arrivals could be provided office space through the strategic forecasting power made possible by ARCHIBUS. With the aid of the ARCHIBUS system, the team had been able to function with all the precision of a Swiss watch.

Adapting to Chargeback
But the job still wasn’t over. The next phase of the process was to educate local management in the terminology and methodology of the chargeback system. Most managers were somewhat amenable to paying for the space occupied by their respective units, but they balked at the prospect of shar- ing the cost of common areas, such as cafeterias and restrooms. Here again the reports generated by the ARCHIBUS system put all of the information out on the table for everyone to see. It was readily apparent that each unit would be paying only its fair share of operating costs.

Furthermore, the realization that space consolidation on the unit level could result in a credit in their operations budget sent many managers scurrying to see how and where they could vacate space—quite a switch from the space wars era!

One unintentional and amusing by-product of the whole process was the "discovery" of some half dozen or so employees who, according to the Finance Division, did not even exist. The facilities management personnel certainly knew of their existence, having moved these unaccounted for persons on more than one occasion.

A Happier Holiday
It certainly couldn’t have been much fun having to work through an expected holiday break, but if you talk to Roger Mason, he’ll probably tell you that without teamwork and ARCHIBUS, his Christmas that December would have been a whole lot less merry.

Vital Statistics

Roche Bioscience
Palo Alto, CA
Facilities Facts:
25 buildings
Total square footage: 1.5 million
ARCHIBUS Applications:
Space Management
Impetus for Implementation:
Implementation of chargeback system mandated by upper management necessitated quick and accurate reportage of space allocation information.
Benefits Gained:
One-month target deadline for presentation of data was met. Large influx of new employees accommodated with offices in a timely fashion. Business units willingly vacated space, which in turn generated the potential for sales/lease revenue.
Future Plans:
Access to facilities management data by expanded number of users campus-wide. Increased connectivity between ARCHIBUS database information and other databases, for example, Human Resources database.
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