By Facility Executive Staff
From the May/June 2016 Issue
Founded in 2002, maintenance and repair operations at this fitness company was an ad-hoc system varying by individual studio. In 2015, the head of its facility management department implemented a service automation platform that unifies all locations.
Brian Peoples, facilities director, discusses the changes brought about by adopting a tool to automate services.
Please give an overview of CorePower Yoga’s business and the facilities involved in this project.
CorePower Yoga combines an intensely physical workout, rooted in the mindfulness of yoga. Through a variety of yoga classes, including Yoga Sculpt (yoga with weights) and new Core Cardio Circuit classes, the company provides a highly intense and incredibly mindful form of fitness. Most classes are heated, and can range from about 85° to 105°F with up to 35% humidity. We currently have 150 studios with plans to add 20 more locations in 2016. Continued growth is expected in 2017 and beyond. Our studios are an average of 5,000 square feet and accommodate hundreds of students per day per location.
What is the timeline of this project? What aspects of the facilities and the operations have been impacted by implementing service automation?
I joined CorePower Yoga in December 2014, so you might say the project timeline started then. As a fast growing company, we were struggling with a number of growing pains in terms of facilities operations. The most important issue: we had a highly decentralized work order process for facilities maintenance and repairs. Most commonly, it consisted of studio managers or other employees sending e-mail work order requests to the local general contractor. At one point, CorePower Yoga was relying on a directory of about 60 to 70 service providers across all trades who were on call as needed.
Visibility was a big problem; there was no ability for anyone to track the progress of work orders in terms of case resolution or even costs. The invoicing system was ad hoc and was pen-and-paper based, which led to long lags in processing invoices and getting payments out to service providers. There were even instances when we were processing redundant invoices, which led to overpayment or double payment.
Generally, the lack of an automated work order system and electronic invoicing led to very limited visibility and control of facilities maintenance and repair processes.
What were the motivating factors for you to pursue this project?
The key motivating factor for us as the facilities management team was to gain better visibility and control of our operations and to implement proven, technology enabled practices. The first step was to centralize the facilities work order process through me and my team. We wanted to improve the ability to track progress and to accelerate the time-to-resolution of open work orders.
We also sought to streamline the number of our general contractors and service providers to a more manageable number of industry leading firms with nationwide reach. There were two benefits we saw with this strategy. One, we believed we’d get better service overall by going to this model. Two, we would be able to improve the invoicing and payment process, which would improve operational efficiency while also reducing costs.
Finally, another motivation was to get better key performance metrics that we could use to hold ourselves and our service providers more accountable through data and other business intelligence.
How did you research the options available in the market? And how did you arrive at the final decision?
Company leadership understood the need for a centralized tracking system, so it was not difficult to get approval. They did ask me to look into several other systems, and I found those did not have the same capabilities as the ServiceChannel offering we ultimately chose.
I had experienced the benefits of using ServiceChannel Service Automation at several other companies I had worked at before joining CorePower Yoga. So I knew firsthand how using service automation could improve operational efficiencies as well as provide other benefits such as digital invoicing and payment plus real-time data and insights.
We decided on a phased implementation for ServiceChannel, starting with the core Service Automation platform. This [Software as a service (SaaS) platform] gave us the ability to manage all work orders from start to finish using any web-enabled or mobile device. We also gained access to ServiceChannel’s standard analytics tools that gave us, for the first time, a historical, current, and predictive view of business operations across all of our sites.
How has the automation platform impacted how you and your staff do you work? What have the results been?
The benefits of using ServiceChannel after we went live in March 2015 were both immediate and impactful. Many of these benefits were those we had anticipated, such as gaining better visibility into overall maintenance and repair spending. Another benefit for us is being able to implement a systematic, “bundled services” approach for non-emergency work orders, which further enhanced our efficiency and reduced case resolution times. Of course, by centralizing invoicing and payment electronically, we eliminated redundant payments and sped up processing dramatically.
And there were other benefits that we had not anticipated. For example, using the data that the ServiceChannel platform was generating for us—such as the percentage of spend by trade, spending by location, and the types of frequently occurring or recurring work orders—we were able to inform our site design and construction teams on ways to improve new studio design and construction plans.
We are also using the data to have more informed discussions with other functions in the company such as finance as part of the budget and planning cycle.
To train staff was fairly smooth. I would say that 90% of the staff picked it up pretty quickly.
One of the advantages of using an analytics rich platform like ServiceChannel is that we’re able to quantify our results in a pretty straightforward way. One significant result has been our ability to reduce facilities related spending per studio by almost half. One way we have achieved this is by reducing the average invoice amount per work order by more than 15%.
Cost savings is only one benefit for moving to an electronic invoicing and payment system. Time savings is the other, where we have slashed the invoice and payment processing cycle from more than two days to less than two hours. This is important considering we process almost 98% of facilities maintenance and repair invoices through the ServiceChannel platform.
Any other comments on this project or lessons learned? What’s next?
Going forward, we are planning to layer on more functionality by adding new modules to the ServiceChannel platform. We’re looking at several options such as the Asset Manager for better tracking and managing our facilities equipment. We are also looking to revamp our enterprise mobility functions by giving employees access to the ServiceChannel Mobile App so they could initiate work orders remotely. We also plan to arm our service providers with mobile capabilities, such as checking into a site using GPS.
In general, I have equated the benefits of using ServiceChannel as being “self-evident” in that we have now a completely modernized facilities management practice at CorePower Yoga. This helps our studios focus on better serving our members instead of managing contractors and service providers.
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