Leading UK Shopping Centre doesn’t need to shop around for best Facilities Management Solution

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When supersized shopping centre Meadowhall in Sheffield needed to upgrade its work order management software they selected Agility, the flexible, browser based Computerised Maintenance Management System from SoftSols Group. Today, Agility is a vital interface between the Meadowhall Estates Management team and site’s users and “the backbone” of the centre’s maintenance work management.

The client: Meadowhall

Meadowhall is one of the largest shopping centres in the UK. Home to 280 stores, from independents to top international brands, the centre attracts over 25 million visitors a year. There are 12,000 parking spaces and direct access via rail, road and tram. The centre even boasts a helicopter landing pad.

The business need

 The ten-person Property Services team manages the maintenance of the Meadowhall building’s structure and fabric. As the landlords to the 280 stores the team has to ensure that every maintenance job in the centre is completed quickly and efficiently to guarantee the comfort and safety of visitors and ensure an enjoyable shopping experience.

 Jon Park, Property Services Manager Meadowhall Centre, says: “My team is responsible for the safety of everyone who works in the building and everyone who visits. When things are going well visitors and retailers don’t think about the maintenance that’s required to keep a centre the size of Meadowhall running smoothly – that’s the way we aim to keep it.”

 The facilities management system behind the scenes needs to be fast, secure and easy to reference. It has to ensure that all requests input into the system are addressed quickly and that only approved workers carry out approved work.

The solution

 The Meadowhall Property Services team has used work order management software from SoftSols Group since 1998. Jon comments: “We have a good relationship with the SoftSols team and when we started looking to upgrade the system we saw that moving to their latest software, Agility was a natural progression.”

Agility is a comprehensive, browser-based maintenance management solution. It allows simple tracking of all reactive maintenance work across the Meadowhall site. The system allows the team to prioritise and schedule repairs and requests into weekly rotas for the maintenance team and the reporting tools ensure that KPIs are monitored and attained.

Agility’s flexible design meant that changes could be easily introduced to address Meadowhall’s specific facilities management requirements. These included simple but substantial tasks such as listing every asset, including the walls, carpets and all electrical / mechanical items in every room of the 1.5 million sq ft building.

Retailers and Meadowhall staff now have one point of contact to request work and communicate with the maintenance team. The software is easy to use and agile allowing each level of the organization to see a personalized interface which addresses their system needs.

Agility also provides a structure for the planned maintenance of the equipment and fabric of the Meadowhall site. Jobs logged through the helpdesk are listed chronologically and given a number and a priority status.

“As soon as a job is logged it is our responsibility,” said Jon, “The clock is ticking. We have customers to support and service level agreements (SLAs) to meet. Agility offers us a clear overview of our workload and performance.”

In addition to the basic functions, best practice solutions such as keeping users informed of work status through email messages and a wealth of graphical Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) have been adopted.

The benefits

Agility provides the Meadowhall team with an overview of all the logged work orders, repairs and requests, giving a history of the maintenance carried out to all assets within the site.

“Agility holds valuable information about the building’s maintenance history but, in addition, it gives an important insight into the performance and value of the on-site maintenance team. With a clear overview of the work, we are also able to manage and assess third party work carried out throughout the centre.”

Agility can be configured to log any information and the Meadowhall team has used the statistics gathered as input for its ISO 18001 Occupational Health & Safety Compliance accreditation.

Agility is also a powerful performance and workload management tool. Reports and statistics can quickly be extracted to demonstrate the value of the in-house maintenance team to the business.

“Agility is now the backbone of our maintenance work management and helps us ensure that, once work orders are logged, the only people who have to worry about maintenance are my team and me.”

“When things are going well visitors and retailers don’t think about the maintenance that’s required to keep a centre the size of Meadowhall running smoothly – that’s the way we aim to keep it.”

Next steps

 “Our new Facilities Director has taken on Agility and really likes it. He’s keen to push forward and develop the way we use it further, ensuring that the Meadowhall retailers and owners (British Land) can see what great work the Property Services team do and how we ensure Meadowhall continues to provide a first class shopping experience.”