East Carolina University Works Smarter with Flex Asset Manager
Photos courtesy of ECU News Services
East Carolina University’s Parking and Transportation department doesn’t just handle permits and enforcement on campus – they also manage the repair and replacement of all their parking assets. “We do not rely on Facility Services for repair of sign posts, signs, parking stops, or any asset you can think of that is applicable to parking,” explained Joshua Rossnagel, Operations Manager for ECU Parking and Transportation. While there are plenty of advantages to having control over all areas of its department, there are also some challenges in managing parking assets serving 35,000 students, faculty, and staff across 1,400 acres of campus.
“About ten years ago we were using the University’s paper work order system, and it was getting to the point where we couldn’t track our inventory well, we couldn’t price things out, and we couldn’t assign work orders efficiently,” Rossnagel said. They needed to find a way to work smarter, not harder. “And that’s when we realized that T2 Flex actually has a very robust Asset Manager built in as one of the modules.”
From the ground up ECU Parking and Transportation inserted all its assets into Flex Asset Manager – including signs, barricades, vehicles, parking lots, and more – and tied them to asset categories. This has enabled them to manage their inventory in incredible depth, including where an asset was ordered, its cost, and the quantity in stock.
ECU then began to create work orders tied to those assets so they could track how much work is done on a specific parking lot or asset category and how much was spent, allowing them to create yearly budgeting reports. “I can go in and see that certain parking lots are up for surfacing and last time it cost this much, and I can use that as an estimate to build out cost for the next year’s budget,” Rossnagel explained.
Flex Asset Manager also enabled ECU to generate asset schedules, where certain work orders are automatically scheduled to repeat on a yearly, monthly, or even weekly basis. For example, ECU has a series of work orders scheduled every week to collect, inspect, and maintain its Luke II pay stations on campus. “Without me having to go into the system at all, those automatically come up every Tuesday and Thursday. It gets generated, it goes to my staff who can see it on the open work order list, they can complete the work, and they track it that way,” Rossnagel said.
In the past ten years, ECU Parking and Transportation has completed over 27,000 work orders using Flex Asset Manager.
One of the greatest benefits they have seen since implementing Asset Manager is the ability to support decision making with data. Using custom reports created using Crystal Reports, Rossnagel and team can pull detailed information like work orders completed by asset category with a date range, for example. This enables them to make informed decisions, such as repaving or resurfacing a parking lot instead of continuing to make repairs. “It helps a lot to be able to bring that report to the higher-ups – especially in a university setting – and to be able to show a cost savings, because that’s what drives everything,” Rossnagel stated.
This data can be used to support staffing and hiring decisions as well. “I recently just used that to justify a new position, which is actually really hard to do in our climate right now. But because I was able to show that I have more work orders to complete than I have time to complete them, and able to show that in graph form, I was actually able to get them to create a new position and I was able to hire another staff member,” Rossnagel said.
Additionally, Rossnagel explained that Asset Manager is great for tracking changes on campus, whether for internal reference or for fighting appeals. “I can’t count how many times over the years where we would have our appeals board come to us and say that somebody said this sign wasn’t here or a parking lot wasn’t labeled properly. I can just go back into our system and say, no, actually at this time it was.”
Flex Asset Manager has also helped with PCI compliance on campus. When the university requested daily inspections of the point-of-sale on its pay stations, the Parking and Transportation team was able to generate an automated report that emails the PCI office confirmation that the inspection work orders are being completed daily. “Without the system, that would have been a really terrible process, but having it automated within the system is much better,” Rossnagel stated.
Rossnagel is excited to implement T2’s Field Services App, a mobile application that works in conjunction with Flex Asset Manager. Work orders set up in Flex can be sent to maintenance staff in the field via their mobile phone, where they can then confirm completion of the task and add notes or photos. “Basically, it’ll do all the work for us – it’ll assign it to the person, it’ll assign a time and date and what work needs to be completed, and pretty much remove the step of us having to come in each day and input the work orders manually.”