This past year has brought tremendous challenges to facility managers worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic required a prepared response in order to ensure a safe and clean environment for healthcare workers, maintain and secure unused buildings or guarantee the proper use of essential facilities amidst the transition to remote and homeworking.
There’s no doubt that this response was backed by the hard work and dedication of maintenance and facility management professionals, which played a key role in the fight against this global crisis.
In 2021, the focus lies on ensuring a successful return to a new normal, which means facility managers are once again, right at the centre of the action.
To thank these professionals and help them ensure a safe return, Infraspeak created the Invisible Heroes 2021 campaign, launched on World FM Day (12 May 2021). Under this campaign, Infraspeak proposed to offer two years of its intelligent maintenance management platform (IMMP) for free, to four organisations in the Culture, Education, Healthcare and Hospitality areas.
Over a month later, the campaign has closed and all the applicants have been reviewed, and it’s time to (proudly) present the four winners.
Meet the organisations getting 2 years of Infraspeak, free of charge.
NOVA School of Science and Technology
NOVA School of Science and Technology is one of the units of the NOVA University Lisbon. Its campus is the largest in Europe and consists of several school buildings, as well as laboratories, social and administrative buildings and green spaces.
Its Technical Support Division (DAT, which is in charge of ensuring the healthiness and maintenance of all infrastructures and equipment in the campus, consists of 26 people, including operational technicians, technical assistants and senior technicians.
Every day, this team manages maintenance requests coming from over 9000 students and researchers, 200 employees and 430 teaching staff, through each internal department’s secretariat.
All maintenance requests are managed with an internal platform and Excel files, which makes it harder to keep track of all activity (past, current or planned). The pandemic and the new processes it forced upon the operation made the process even harder. As Ernesto Santos (General Operational Manager) tells us, “all the processes were deeply changed by the pandemic, both operationally and strategically”.
“We’ve had a lot of trouble sticking to remote work,for instance. We all had to be present in person because we didn’t have the right tools to manage all the work being carried out remotely”.
In addition, the lack of historical records means that information is constantly lost. “At the moment, every time a team member leaves, they take part of our knowledge of the infrastructures and equipment with them. The same happens when external teams rotate. Investing in a platform like Infraspeak is undoubtedly a plus for this institution.”
For these reasons, Ernesto Santos decided to apply NOVA School of Science and Technology to Infraspeak’s Invisible Heroes campaign. Since he already knows the platform’s capabilities due to past work experiences, Ernesto adds that “it was a need that we were already aware of. It will be fundamental for us to tackle the challenges we always do, but now with more focus, more efficiency and more organisation. We have the highest of expectations regarding the usefulness of this platform, based on what we already know about it and all its potential”.
Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza
Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza, located by the Playa d’en Bossa, is one of the most famous hotels in the Balearic Islands. Part of Palladium Hotels Group, this is one of the first Hard Rock Hotels in Europe. It has around 500 bedrooms, a large outdoor space where live concerts are held, and hundreds of equipment to be maintained.
The hotel’s internal maintenance team (usually consisting of 25 people, including managers, technicians and assistants) ensures that everything is functional and that guests have the best experience possible during their stay. However, that’s no easy task when obsolete software, phone calls and paper sheets are your main ways to communicate with the team.
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a radical change to their processes, a reduction of the team (which now consists of 18 people), and the adaptation to a string of new safety and preventive measures. Once bursting with life and tourists, Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza got its activity reduced to a mínimum for months on end.
This unexpected scenario and the additional complexity have increased a need that the team had already felt even before the pandemic: to adopt a management platform that would allow them to inventory equipment, manage work orders and material stocks, improve communication between the team and other departments, and ensuring that the operation is as efficient as possible.
The answer came through Infraspeak’s Invisible Heroes campaign, to which Angel Fernandez, Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza’s second maintenance manager applied on behalf of the hotel.
São Félix Hotel Hillside & Nature
São Félix Hotel Hillside & Nature is a hotel unit built at the top of the S. Félix Hill, an integral part of the Costa Verde (“Green Coast”) region in the North of Portugal.
The hotel’s maintenance and housekeeping teams consist of around 10 people, who plan and execute preventive and corrective maintenance tasks, and ensure the proper cleaning of the hotel’s spaces. These teams are supported by external suppliers, some of which are Infraspeak users as well.
Communication between these teams (as well as between the teams and the reception) is done via WhatsApp, which leaves too much room for errors, lapses and loss of information. In order to find a solution that would allow for a more efficient communication, but also to inventory equipment, plan maintenance schedules, manage external maintenance suppliers and even control maintenance spending Nuno Félix (administrator) decided to apply to Infraspeak’s Invisible Heroes campaign on behalf of the hotel.
The pandemic has deeply impacted the hotel’s day to day, forcing them to implement more time-consuming and expensive maintenance and hygiene procedures, but it also affected demand, given the sudden decline in national and international tourism. But the administration saw this as an opportunity to “reevaluate procedures and to restructure and modernise their operation”, making it “more efficient, sustainable and profitable”.
Getting access to Infraspeak is a big step in the hotel’s “digital modernisation plan”, this time in the Maintenance Management area, which poses more and more challenges to their ability to communicate and organise information. “We’re sure that we’ll be much better prepared for maintaining our equipment”, says Nuno.
Enviro by Vatika Group
Enviro is a company under the Indian group Vatika, with over 22 years of experience in facilities management services. They’re responsible for maintaining over 115 institutions in multiple fields, including 10 schools and 4 hospitals.
In the last few months, Enviro’s main challenge lies precisely in managing these facilities and ensuring that all their users are safe, with a team that’s been reduced due to the impact of the pandemic – especially in a country going through an emergency situation.
According to Enviro’s CEO, Ajay Kumar Singh, Enviro India has established a close partnership with municipal authorities to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The company’s workers have been given housing close to their work locations in order to minimise travelling during lockdown, and to keep contact with people outside the team to a minimum.
Considering the company’s large area of operation, its fast response to the challenges posed by the pandemic and the social context India is going through at this particular time, Infraspeak believes Vatika is a rightful winner of the Invisible Heroes campaign.
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