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FSI proves to be a game-changer for facility maintenance at WVU Medicine
With nearly 20 years of experience living and breathing boilers, chillers, and utilities, there’s not much that surprises Rob Boyce when it comes to facilities management.
With nearly 20 years of experience living and breathing boilers, chillers, and utilities, there’s not much that surprises Rob Boyce when it comes to healthcare facilities management.
Except how FSI's Custom Maintenance Software (CMS) changed his life.
A single source of maintenance truth
Rob is the manager of facilities engineering for West Virginia University Medicine. With 13 hospitals from Bridgeport to Buckhannon and Ranson to Ripley, WVU Medicine is the state’s largest health system. And has plenty to keep Rob and his team of 80+ technicians busy.
“FSI is really our Google,” said Rob. “Whatever we need to find, it’s there. Gone are the days of paper records and file cabinets with stuff stored everywhere. We’ve been growing by leaps and bounds, acquiring real estate, leasing buildings, building buildings, buying buildings. To keep a repository of all that pertinent facility and equipment information, it’d be impossible without a system like this.
FSI's medical CMMS is used by hundreds of hospitals just like WVU Medicine to monitor their facility assets in real-time, gaining visibility into inventory levels and asset histories. The fact that it was designed specifically for hospital maintenance teams by former hospital facility professionals was a huge plus for Rob.
A 'night-and-day' difference
“When I first got here,” Rob explained, “we were on a paper-dependent system. We’d be printing out, oh, tens of thousands of pieces of paper. Paper was scheduled to guys, guys had clipboards. Very unorganized, no way to track anything. We had some compliance surveys we did poorly on, mainly on the documentation side. That was the eye-opener that, hey, we need to look and see what’s available.
“Anything would’ve been an improvement for us. I mean, we could’ve used Excel and it would’ve been an improvement. I think we looked at everyone in the business before we committed to FSI. But the FSI team weren’t pre-programmed sales guys like with all the other presentations. They were just real people. That hit more to me than anything.
“You could really have a conversation and discuss things. You could tell by talking to the founders that both of them had been in the business a very long time. They knew exactly what my problems were before I even brought them up, and they had solutions to them.
“They knew exactly what they were doing. Their experience was a big help because when we got stuck on looking at what’s an easy way to fix this, what makes the most sense, those guys collaborated with us a lot during implementation. It was a night-and-day change from what we had.
“What I really liked about FSI was they're pretty transparent. When we met with them, there were several software functions that they didn’t really have built yet, and they openly admitted, said, ‘Yeah, we don’t have that, but if you work with us, we’ll build it.’ So, we were like, ‘Okay, let’s do it.’
“So, they teamed up with us and built a purchasing function, a project function, materials management function. They were busting out the modules left and right. It was encouraging to see that they were still scaled to that level where they would help us out, and whatever package we needed, they committed to getting it done.
An important asset in the facility maintenance toolbox
“My favorite thing about CMS is that we can customize each other’s roles, and I can push the information that’s only relevant for whoever is logged in to do whatever job they need to do.
“Keep in mind, I’m dealing with mechanisms and painters and all kinds of different trades. They’re definitely not computer-savvy people, especially back in 2011 when we implemented the system. A lot has changed since then. So, I definitely wanted to keep the amount of data that they were exposed to at a minimum, just so they weren’t overwhelmed.
“It’s great because my guys utilize these tools. I don’t have to go and tell them. The actual people in the field that need the information are using it and finding it valuable. That doesn’t always work with technology. A lot of times it’s forced on the staff, and they adapt to it and reluctantly use it. But not for my guys. They see it as a valuable tool. It’s just as important as their toolboxes.
Changing healthcare maintenance for good
“We use CMS probably for a lot of different things that most groups don’t use it for. For one, the immediate access to documents. No matter what building I’m in, I can find whatever information I need. And the CMS View module, that’s a game-changer for me, 100%. It’s a graphical interface that’s been revolutionary for my guys and myself.
“With it, my technicians always have live access to floor plans. We can pull mechanical or life-safety drawings up at the touch of a finger. And with that, valuable assets that might be buried up in the ceiling that they don’t have to hunt for.
“We’re able to plot all our assets on a floor plan so we don’t have to put ugly stickers on the ceiling or try to remember where these main isolation valves are or main electric feeds. Now, whenever we have outages or an emergency, it’s as quick as we can pull up that drawing to know exactly where they are.
“And floor plans change. We like to knock walls down and build new walls. But that mechanical infrastructure is usually always in the same spot in the ceiling, so we’re able to identify in a matter of a couple of minutes. It matters drastically when you’ve got gallons of water pouring out of the ceiling or some other emergency.
“Plus, CMS has a neat little tool called spot shadow that lets you click on every floor immediately above a problem area. You can see exactly what might be causing an issue is without having to investigate every floor on foot.
“In addition, my zone maintenance guys can be proactive. For instance, every call might not have been assigned to them yet from the night or afternoon shift the day before. So, with CMS, they can look and see what’s active on their floors and take a proactive approach to reschedule it to themselves.
“So now a supervisor doesn’t have to get involved. The techs are taking care of the work before it even needs scheduling, which is great because a lot of it is patient-related or staff complaints. It’s just a huge time saver. It just makes things so much more efficient.
100% behind FSI
“If a health care system is considering FSI, I’d be in 100%. I’d probably even volunteer with them to go through any implementation questions before they get started.
“I’d gladly do an online thing with them just to show them, hey, this is what we do, this is how it works for us. It might spur some ideas on what they’re looking for to solve some of their problems. So, yeah, I’d be 100% supportive of going with FSI.
“I mean, those guys at FSI, they’ve really changed our whole operation. They’ve made our lives a lot easier with what they produce. And they keep innovating. It never stops.”