Magazine Article | December 1, 2005


Source: Field Technologies Magazine
Integrated Solutions, December 2005

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro's (UNCG) facilities management team is responsible for maintaining the 200-acre campus. Everything the engineers did in the field was based on a manual process, including receiving incoming calls, allocating resources, work order tracking, reporting, and scheduling. Additionally, field engineers submitted their completed work orders to the physical plant on a paper form. UNCG needed a mobile solution that would enable it to issue real-time part orders and work reports through a wireless connection. The university had several goals for the solution, including:

  • saving engineers time by enabling them to access inventory and job details directly from mobile devices
  • providing a back-end solution that will enable management of both planned and reactive calls
  • eliminating inefficient, time-consuming paperwork
  • automating the data-gathering process
  • giving engineers the ability to view ordering and tracking processes at the same time
  • lowering the department's operating expenses
  • improving the accuracy of supply orders.

With the help of integrator Strategic Distribution, Inc. (SDI), UNCG integrated a facilities and asset management solution from Dexterra. The solution runs on Windows Mobile devices over available GPRS (general packet radio service) and university-supplied Wi-Fi networks. With the solution, engineers can submit completed work orders and other documentation via electronic forms and are able to access to historical maintenance data.

UNCG's engineers are now able to accomplish more assignments per working day, increase first-time on-site fixes, and be better prepared for upcoming scheduled maintenance. The engineers' job response time has improved, as has their level of service. Also, the facilities management department was able to reduce its operation costs. UNCG accomplished all of this while also lowering operating costs. "We are already experiencing a 40% increase in efficiency," says Anthony Schallert, director of physical plants for UNCG.

The university is currently working with SDI to implement Dexterra's Mobile Command Center (MCC) scheduling and dispatching software. The solution will allow facilities management's dispatch staff to view field resources and schedule new work more quickly than it currently can.