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Clever FM solution can help increase efficiency and lower costs
Facilities management today is a highly complex task involving a multi-disciplinary approach to ensure that a building or complex operates at optimum efficiency for the people and businesses inside.
The disciplines which fall under the heading of facilities management are far-reaching and include planning, design, construction, furniture, health & safety, occupancy, catering, hospitality, ICT and accountancy as well as the more obvious cleaning, security, and maintenance... And given the level of complexity, it is a function which is often outsourced.
With many facilities open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, demands on FM organisations are high: they have to maintain a smooth operation with minimal downtime while keeping costs down.
Two key criteria have to be met when tendering for a contract: meeting exacting Key Performance Indicators and controlling costs. Both have to be achieved - efficiency and productivity are at the very core of any FM function and any cost savings have to be achieved without compromising on quality of service. It is a gargantuan task.
So many unexpected events can impinge on budgets or service levels - for example in any contract there has to be a provision for maintenance but the exact extent of this is largely unknown. Getting it wrong can mean the difference between a profitable and a loss-making contract.
The infrastructure supporting the FM operation needs to be swift and reliable as downtime due to breakdowns is simply not an option. However, no matter how efficient an FM function is, it can be a challenge to ensure that an engineer has the right part, at the right time, for a repair job, whether it is a computer part or an air-conditioning part or a key component of a coffee machine.
There is a solution. For many years ByBox has worked extensively within this sector distributing parts that are required - often at short notice, around the clock, or in remote locations - to maintain crucial networks. The popular field service specialist recognises that FM organisations need to keep downtime to an absolute minimum, with repairs carried out as swiftly as possible.
Operating 365 days a year, ByBox delivers parts to its established network of 18,000 secure lockers at more than 1,500 locations in the UK and also offers a similar service in France and the US, to ensure that companies ordering vital parts receive them quickly and efficiently.
With an enviable first time pre 08.00 delivery success rate of 99.77%, ByBox has revolutionised the field services market with its reliable, secure and robust delivery model that is as easy to use for returns as it is for deliveries.
Parts are delivered overnight to a secure locker that is only accessible by either key or card. Once a delivery has been made, a text or email alert is sent to the engineer, who can then collect the goods before the start of their day's work, enabling them to start earlier, fit more jobs into the day and improve productivity.
Moreover, they can order parts as late as 23.00 for delivery the next morning, significantly reducing the need for multiple same-day deliveries made by alternative, less efficient transport systems.
Improvements in efficiency can be significant: engineers can typically spend as much as 15% of their time chasing parts - either by visiting trade outlets to purchase parts or waiting around for urgent deliveries.
For engineers who require parts urgently outside of normal hours ByBox also operates a network of Forward Stock Locations that are accessible 24 hours a day - which is ideal for any fast moving stock.
A key to the success of the ByBox offering is its supply chain software Thinventory, which integrates seamlessly with the physical supply chain network, offering cohesive end-to-end reporting software to boost efficiency, reliability, stock transparency and green credentials.
Significantly for FM companies, Thinventory enables engineers to order stock from their Personal Digital Assistant and then to subsequently keep track of which part was ordered for which customer, ensuring correct invoicing and higher customer satisfaction.
Thinventory has a real time full track and trace facility via the website providing total transparency across the supply chain 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This level of visibility allows companies to run truly lean inventories because they know exactly where their stock is and can move it easily to where it is needed. Cost savings can be considerable; some companies have thinned their stock so much by using a locker network for delivery that they have managed to reduce the size of their warehouses, thus cutting running costs as well as freeing up capital.
Equally, Thinventory simplifies the returns process enabling engineers to use the locker network in reverse to return faulty or unused parts. All an engineer has to do is attach a bespoke returns label, place the item in the most convenient locker and the software will automatically redirect the faulty part back to the manufacturer.
"The Thinventory platform is the most exciting aspect of our solution and indeed fulfils our vision of minimising stock and maximising productivity through an integrated supply chain platform - an ethos on which the company was founded," explains Mark Garritt, Managing Director of ByBox.
"It provides complete visibility over the entire supply chain and has evolved to offer our customers an enhanced level of service. Our other services can plug into the system allowing us to offer a complete end to end solution for our customers.
"Thinventory is the ideal solution for facilities management organisations who want to drive the efficiency of their operations. It is reliable, secure and efficient, and can offer considerable cost savings while keeping service levels high."
17th January 2013