The April 2015 Customer Forum focused on the results of the 2014 Sightlines Customer Survey and updates on F&S services, with Executive Director Al Stratman and Director of Operations, Maintenance & Alterations Carl Wegel. In addition to the plenary session, Building Maintenance Coordinator Roger Bensyl led a breakout session on the service request workflow process and Director of Utilities & Energy Services Kent Reifsteck conducted a session discussing the campus’ Utilities Production and Distribution Master Plan.
Customer Forum Plenary Session
Dee Dee Caneva, Director of Customer Relations & Communications, welcomed attendees to the 7th Customer Forum and said that 39 of the 44 recommendations made by the customer focus groups after the 2010 survey have been implemented. Caneva stressed F&S is committed to achieving long-term progress and is working to complete the recommendations. The feedback provided to F&S as a part of the F&S Customer Service Initiative has directly enhanced service delivery and improved customer service across the organization.
Executive Director Al Stratman discussed the results of the 2014 Customer Survey, administered by Sightlines, LLC. Sightlines works with other Big Ten Conference schools and provides benchmarking comparisons of campus assets and stewardship profiles. Questions about five divisions/departments were part of the survey: Building Services, Building Maintenance, Construction Services, Capital Programs, and Safety and Compliance.
Seven hundred fifty-seven respondents is the highest number of participants ever for an F&S Customer Survey. This group included facility managers, business managers, deans, directors, department heads, and my.FS portal users. Eighty-three percent indicated F&S meets, exceeds, or far exceeds their expectation for general satisfaction. Stratman said one of the organization’s goals is to continue to increase the general satisfaction number in the future. Another takeaway from the results, in the division and departmental areas, is that the scores have remained relatively consistent over the last four years.
One significant jump in the survey was that 74% of respondents said the work request process meets their needs. That is a significant increase because the beginning of the service request process must meet both the needs of the customer and F&S. Better communication at the start typically leads to a more efficient process throughout. The results indicate that Asset Information Management (AiM), F&S’ work management system, has been helpful in meeting the customers’ needs.
The individual customer comments were analyzed to evaluate if there were common themes tied to the survey results. Communication with the Crafts & Trades was one topic identified and a process that is an on-going focus area for F&S. There must always be a balance between providing accurate updates to the customer and being efficient in getting the work completed. The lack of status updates regarding work requests is another area cited for improvement by customer comments. Many customers also said the work process takes too long. F&S is committed to a partnership with its customers to make lasting changes to improve the delivery of service work and address these areas.
Director of Operations, Maintenance & Alternations (OMA) Carl Wegel discussed survey results pertaining to Building Maintenance and Building Services. In the Building Maintenance portion of the survey, Wegel said the two items he considers most important received the highest marks: “performing work courteously/professionally” and “performing work competently.” In Building Services (custodial and Public Functions), the areas that received the highest ratings were “custodians I encounter are professional” and “special requests are accommodated.”
In the cost and communication area, ratings have improved in being “asked for feedback” and “providing information as work progresses.” Wegel said these results are reflective of creation of the BSW Early Day Shift and Self-Directed Work Teams. As a part of this transition, the majority of Building Services staff has shifted to working at least half the day right alongside the customer. BSWs are better able to interact with the people they serve and are better able to communicate with customers concerning needs.
Wegel explained the Single Point of Contact (SPOC) program through which F&S staff check in and check out of a building with a specific person when performing work. There are currently six buildings in the SPOC program (Davenport Hall, Harker Hall, Main Library, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, Transportation Building, Veterinary Medicine) with two more, the Woese Institute for Genomic Biology and Lincoln Hall, to be added in the near future. OMA will add additional contacts into the program upon request. Anyone interested in joining the SPOC program is encouraged to contact Manager of Customer Relations Tim Aden (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Maintenance Zone concept divides campus into six areas, with a zone manager in each section who coordinates the work of nine to 12 Crafts & Trades personnel. There are three zone offices, with two zones sharing each office. (See zone map). The physical locations of the zone offices allow one zone to provide backup assistance to the other when necessary. The zone concept is constantly evolving to better meet the needs of the customer. Zone workers are now conducting facilities improvement service work that is 16 hours or less in the zones. Work beyond that level is still coordinated by the Crafts & Trades shops located in the Physical Plant Service Building.
Wegel said it will be important for F&S to continue with its commitment to the Preventive Maintenance (PM) program. PM began with a budget of $140K in FY01 and has grown to $3.9M through a progressive reallocation of the Building Maintenance Budget, and campus support. Sightlines research indicates that for each dollar spent on preventive maintenance there is $2.50-$3.00 cost avoidance on future reactive maintenance.
Wegel concluded his comments by providing an update on the Work Management Center (WMC). He said the development of the WMC ensures everyone on campus has an equal opportunity access F&S services. The WMC continues to develop with the intention of moving F&S closer to better communicating when work is performed.
Next, Stratman described the continuing transformation of the campus environment. In FY15, F&S will execute $236M of capital construction projects; from FY12-FY14 $153M was performed on average. Predictions are to sustain those levels through FY17. Crafts & Trades consistently perform about $30M per year of project work while Contractor Services and Job Order Contracting (JOC) accounts for $18M. At any one time there are approximately 450 “small” projects in the construction queue, with 67% of that work under $5K. Combined Contractor Services and JOC work has grown 111% since FY11. F&S Crafts & Trades specialize in the fast, single trade jobs, as well as in preventive maintenance. Whether it is through Crafts & Trades or through Contractors Services/JOC, F&S wants to ensure the best available method is used so project work is completed when needed.
Stratman then spoke about the F&S Employee Satisfaction Initiative, which began with an internal survey. Four employee focus teams, consisting of employees from throughout the organization, then identified strategies and changes for improving F&S operations and processes so that there is improved employee morale and better service delivery for the customer. Forty-six percent of the recommendations have been completed or are already in progress.
Stratman said budget reductions will impact everyone on campus. F&S is just like any other unit since at this time the organization does not know definitively what services will be affected. F&S will look for ways to reduce the impact of its budget cuts to customers, but ultimately service delivery will be impacted.
Sightlines research indicates that other Big Ten universities have funded their facilities and services more consistently over time. Currently F&S is funding at 23% of FY14 target stewardship levels while peers institutions are at 28%. An understanding of funding of envelope/mechanical needs vs. space/programming needs is also significant. Over the past 15 years, the campus has funded an average of 64% of the target need for space/programming, compared to 28% of the target need for envelope/mechanical systems. This means that funding to address building envelope/mechanical needs is being disproportionately neglected as buildings age. Since there is not enough capital investment to meet campus needs, the deferred maintenance backlog continues to grow, which is why it is more important than ever for funding to be directed to the most critical programmatic areas.
Therefore, F&S’ top spending priority going forward will be preventive maintenance. As much as possible, F&S will try not to impact that maintenance, because doing so will only create more expenses in the future. Prioritizing project selection will be essential to maintaining campus’ condition without significant deterioration. A mission condition index, which measures programmatic index, should be used to help prioritize campus needs and allocate funding.
Stratman encouraged attendees to make suggestions for future F&S customer communications. With budget reductions, open houses and forums may no longer be as feasible. F&S will continue to develop different ways to provide critical information to customers.
Dean Henson is retiring June 30th and all of F&S thanks him for his service as Superintendent of Building Maintenance. Henson has been integral to providing service delivery on campus.