So when Viox Services, a 900-employee construction and facilities management company, secured a $9 million facilities management contract with Fifth Third Bank, Viox worked closely with the bank to come up with a suitable service plan.
The result was a new, e-mail-based process for submitting a work order request and a fee-at-risk program that holds Viox Services accountable for meeting specific contract points. The system provides better service, creates more efficiencies and has changed the way Viox Services conducts business.
Smart Business spoke with Viox about how the system works and how it has improved the company’s service.
How does the new work order system you designed for Fifth Third Bank work?
This was [implemented] when Fifth Third awarded us a contract to centralize all their facility management functions. Prior to that, it was a totally decentralized facility services system.
Thirteen affiliates covering 10 states, and all 13 affiliates did it a little bit differently. So this brought it all into one central function.
A banking center manager at a Fifth Third location anywhere in their footprint, and there’s over 1,100 locations can go right on to the intranet and pull up a facilities service page and they can put in a work order request. All work requests are done strictly via e-mail; there’s no live voices here. And this was Fifth Third’s desire to have it this way.
And then right away, the field populates based on their name and location, and then they have drop-down boxes where they can choose whatever service they’re needing, if they have a light out or have a heating and air conditioning problem.
It’ll complete a work order and send it on to EMCOR’s [Viox Services’ parent company] Facility Knowledge Center in Phoenix, Ariz., and from there, another e-mail comes back to Viox here in Cincinnati. And then we dispatch that work out.
If it’s an emergency, it has to be done in less than four hours. And it goes up from a day to two days to a week, two weeks, depending on the priority. So the work will get completed ... that information will be fed back to Phoenix, to have the work order then totally closed out and completed.
[On] 3 percent of those work orders, an automatic survey goes back to that client and says, ‘Were you satisfied with how this work order was handled?’
Beyond surveys, how else do you gauge your service level?
We have as part of our contract structure something called fee-at-risk. A certain portion of our fee is put at risk based on critical performance indicators. And there’s nine critical performance indicators.
Based on our performance, we’re scored on this every month, and then every quarter, we actually settle up with the customer.
If we’re not hitting the work order completion date, if we’re not getting good satisfaction rankings from the center managers, if we’re not hitting good safety measures from OSHA ... there’s things like building up-time, to make sure any mission-critical buildings are not experiencing any downtime. All these measures are really driving our performance.
If we don’t hit these measures as we negotiated at the front of this contract, we lose part of our fee. So that’s some darn good incentive.
It’s the first one of these fee-at-risk contracts that we’ve entered into, and it’s going to be more of the fad for future contracts.
How do you settle up each quarter with clients?
We have a monthly meeting called the spearing team meeting, with the key players on the contract. We review all of the data, all of the financial performance, how are we doing against budget. We review all of these critical performance indicators, talk about any areas that are out of spec, our performance, and we go over current issues.
Then quarterly, we settle up on that fee-at-risk piece. So four times a year we’ll go in and say, ‘We hit 94 percent of our fee-at-risk.’
There’s a very strong communications process in this whole thing. It really drives our performance, drives how you’re going to do the work, drives behaviors. And then we share that information with all of our people on the account, so no one wants to lose fee.
It’s called put your money where your mouth is. We can talk about it, but we better fix what issues there are. Otherwise, it’ll cost us.
How has this process cut costs and created efficiencies?
Because we’ve expanded the amount of work, we’re self-performing a lot of work that used to be subcontracted to others. So we’re not adding costs, we’re cutting costs. This is all about efficiency and better service and cost reduction, a strategic play.
It has helped us expand our work force we see opportunities to self-perform the work at a better cost than what it was when it was contracted. Eliminating the markup of a subcontractor gives the whole standardization.
We do about 100,000 work orders in this process, and about 30,000 of those work orders are preventative maintenance. We’re moving away from reactive maintenance, corrective maintenance, which is always more expensive.
It’s like driving your car. If you wait for it to just fail, it’s going to cost you a lot more to fix it, versus just changing the oil every three to four thousand miles and doing the maintenance in that phase. The same concept is in play here. We take a preventative and proactive approach, and in that way, drive costs down in the long haul.
And then there is the whole centralization in the business. There’s a lot of redundancies when you’re doing something 13 different ways, and Fifth Third recognized that.
We now have all the data through this knowledge center process and through Viox’s enterprise system. We can download every work order and say exactly how much it costs to do that work order. Then we can benchmark all that information against the different regions in the country and for different customers, for that matter, and then look for ways to improve the cost of the service.
Having the data is probably one of the most important aspects of this, which is something that most organizations struggle with they don’t [collect data] from the facility services side; that’s just not their priority. They’re collecting data on things that are more important to their core.
What we bring to the table is, this is our core business. We can tell you what happened and have the data to analyze and tell you how you might be able to do it differently in the future.
What challenges did you encounter in implementing this solution, and how did you overcome them?
One of the biggest challenges doing this whole thing was the timeframe we worked in. We turned this whole thing around in about three months’ time, from the time we started talking to Fifth Third to the time we actually flipped the switch and went live.
So we took a facilities services organization that was in-house or insourced, if you will, and went ... to a total outsourced model and put all these systems into place this whole call center and all the measures and [data] collection and all the training of all the facility managers and all the mechanics and our staff in a three month timespan. Given the size and magnitude of all this, it was certainly the fastest outsource I’ve ever been a part of.
We worked pretty much day, night, weekends until we pulled this thing together. We had a hard March 1st deadline that just had to be up and live and running.
So we worked backward from that, (said) what do we have to do to get it running, and we had it up pretty much as planned. Not to say there weren’t little wrinkles along the way, but no major outages.
How does this Web-based solution help Viox provide better service?
It’s just become easier for the customer to enter a request. It’s all set on the screen, and they’re able to easily enter a request, know what the response time is for that request. We’re then able to dispatch the correct service person at the right cost. So all of that just boils down to it’s simpler.
You’ve got one request you put into an e-mail package and one solution, and you pretty much know where that request is at in the system and what kind of response you’re going to receive. And at the end of the day, we’ve saved them significant dollars.
All that adds up to significant value.
HOW TO REACH: Viox Services, (888) VIOX.INC or www.viox-services.com