"It was the facilities merger between four local Trusts that focused our thinking with regard to streamlining our estates management activities," recalls Phil Child, the IT & Energy Manager within the Estates Services Team at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust. "We wanted a single integrated IT solution that would enable us to carry out a whole range of estates management tasks and replace the four disparate systems we had inherited."
The Facilities re-grouping across the 4 Trusts began in 1998. It took in two of the region's acute trusts St Albans & Hemel Hempstead and Watford & Mount Vernon, which merged to become West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust. Later, Horizon NHS Trust and West Hertfordshire Community Health Trust became Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Trust (HPT) and four Primary Care Trusts (PCTs).
With 788 beds and 4087 employees, the Trust (West Herts Hospitals) occupies some 120,000 square meters (approximately 1.3 million square feet) of floor space. Annual income from patient treatment amounts to over £170 million (over $300,000,000 US).
The Estates Services Team (EST) was formed at around the same time as this merger having won an in-house bid for the supply of ‘hard FM services', including energy and building maintenance, grounds maintenance, estate management and providing an in-house design capability, following the Trust's decision to put them out to tender. EST is hosted by West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust and sells these services to other PTCs so efficiency is extremely important.
"When we won the bid, we looked at the systems that were in place at the different sites and decided to replace them with one that would enable us to carry out the full scope of our estates management operations more effectively," says Phil.
After an extensive search of the market, the senior management team of EST, (Mike Hudders, Head of Estates, Richard Simon, Estates Manager and Phil) chose ARCHIBUS from MASS Systems. "EST comprises a range of estates management personnel, including maintenance managers, property managers, design team professionals, helpdesk operators and 54 maintenance craftspersons, and we were keen to take everyone's requirements into account," says Phil, whose role was to coordinate the project, provide technical input and ultimately manage the system.
"We drew up a shortlist of four systems, having considered 8 or 9 options to begin with. As well as seeing suppliers, we visited customer reference sites where we could see the various systems in operation and talk to users. We decided on ARCHIBUS because it offered ease of use, improved functionality and the flexibility to handle a wide range of tasks. It could also readily be tailored to our needs."
Another important consideration was the system's ability to integrate seamlessly with AutoCAD. The Trust's property comprises a typical mix of old and new buildings, dating back to the mid 1800s, the drawings for some of which are on CAD and some on paper. The EST plans to convert all drawings to CAD, which will enable it to manage the whole of the Trust's space in ARCHIBUS.
"This will also be important in terms of complying with the government's guidance on Legionnaires' disease, which means that we have to have up to date drawings of all buildings & services," observes Phil.
The system at West Hertfordshire comprises all the core ARCHIBUS modules: Space, Assets, Building Operations, Property & Lease, Telecommunications & Cables plus the AutoCAD Overlay and MASS Systems' own integrated Facilities Helpdesk, running on a Windows NT 4.0 network (soon to be migrated to Windows 2000).
"We are currently focusing on maintenance management," says Phil. "We have a helpdesk team which takes all the calls for defect work, around 175 calls per day, and logs them on the system. The supervisors at the remote sites where the maintenance teams are based then monitor these calls. They call off the work and issue job dockets via the helpdesk to the trades' staff.
We run SLA (Service Level Agreement) reports, which calculate the time the job was logged, issued and completed, and the elapsed time between those three fixed points. The system makes it easy to monitor our performance against service levels and identify where any improvements can be made."
"The information we hold in ARCHIBUS also helps us to complete the ERIC (Estates Returns Information Collection) returns [ERIC returns are reports that NHS Trusts have to submit to Government on an annual basis] with regard to space utilization, service levels and so on. A significant amount of additional information is being requested now as opposed to previous years so it certainly helps that we can gain fast access to the information we need. The data set for ERIC changes every year so the reporting flexibility in ARCHIBUS is very useful. We can quickly report on what space is leased out and leased in and generate space occupancy reports that show the amount of space available, how it is being used and what it costs."
Phil outlines some of the benefits they have achieved so far. "We now have access to real time accurate information about our estates maintenance, assets and buildings. We generate management reports on a monthly basis containing all this information and submit them to the trust to enable them to carry out their business planning efficiently. It has certainly enabled us to streamline our estates management operations and provide one source of information and one point of contact for all the sites."
For the near future, Phil has plans to web-enable the system starting with the helpdesk service so that people in other departments can share estates information "on-line". He says, "Once we make this type of information available via the web, this will open up many additional benefits that will have an impact right across the Trust. The Finance Department, for example, will be able to see the financial position in real time, enabling better control of expenditure."
West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust
West Hertfordshire United Kingdom
788 beds; 120,000 square meters of space (nearly 1.3 million sq. ft.)
Building Operations Management
Real Property & Lease Management
Telecommunications & Cable Management
Overlay for AutoCAD with Design Management
|3rd Party Applications: |
Facilities Helpdesk from MASS Systems
|Impetus for Implementation: |
Unite four disparate systems following a facilities merger
|Benefits Gained: |
Easily complete ERIC (Estates Returns Information Collection) returns requested by the government to show efficient space usage and maintenance; ability to monitor maintenance performance against service levels and identify areas for improvement
|Future Plans: |
Web-enable the system to extend information to other departments, such as Finance
|Business Partners: |
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