Best On Campus

— November 01, 2007

WINNER
Procter & Gamble
CONSUMER GOODS GIANT INVESTS IN IMPROVED COMMUNICATIONS.
Procter & Gamble, one of the world's largest manufacturers of consumer goods, maintains vast manufacturing plants throughout the United States. To maximize efficiency and productivity, it is essential that plant managers and operators stay in contact in order to iron out wrinkles that may tie up operations. But since many plants sprawl over several acres, communication can be a challenge.

P&G had been using a walkie-talkie system to facilitate communication among plant personnel. But the handhelds weren't secure - officials feared confidential conversations could be overheard by outsiders - and transmission could be spotty as users roamed the facility. The devices also had limited functionality.

Chris Horn, a technical specialist for P&G, was the key decision-maker in deploying a wireless telephony solution from SpectraLink, which was recently acquired by Polycom.

"P&G's business keeps getting bigger and bigger, but we're expected to deliver more with less," Horn says. "Polycom delivered a product that we needed. We tested other devices, but Polycom seemed to be the best for us - best product, best price point." ROI was achieved in approximately three months.

The solution features rugged SpectraLink 8030 and i640 wireless VoIP handsets with push-to-talk functionality, which help plant operators and managers stay in touch as they conduct their daily business. The durable devices have survived 40-foot drops and are so rugged that some plant staff refer to them as "tanks."

At first, only 20 employees tested out the new system, but the solution was so successful that more than 200 phones have been deployed over a year and a half. "The nice thing about this product is that it's easy for the operators to use," says Horn. "There was a short ramp-up period. And the solution worked so well that it's being deployed corporately within other areas of P&G."

Horn specifically wanted a solution that required minimal operator training. Plant operators reported that the plug-and-play handsets were as straightforward to use as a cordless telephone at home.

As a result of the SpectraLink/ Polycom solution, plant staff deal with less email and voicemail, since they can be reached directly, and resolve problems more quickly. There's also the increased security of using a handset instead of a walkietalkie. Horn worked with I.T. manager James Evans to integrate the solution with Intech Studio's PUMA product, a tool for the manufacturingvertical that alerts operators if there is a problem with a machine. Perhaps the biggest perk for operators is easier contact with the outside world. Operators generally work 12- hour shifts and were hard to reach on the plant floor. Now, they can stay in touch with loved ones during the day.

"As far as value creation, the solution is leading to [increased] productivity in the workplace," says Horn. "It's an enabler. It's making communication better and allowing us to deliver our business cheaper, faster and better." --JESSICA BINNS

 

>HONORABLE MENTION
IUPUI
Midwestern college JumpStarts $360,000 in potential savings.
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) sought an update to its antiquated facilities management system. It adopted a new mobile work request system that is the result of a partnership between JumpStart Wireless - a carrier- and deviceagnostic data exchange software provider - and the Asset Solutions division of MAXIMUS, a systems, operations and consulting firm. IUPUI was already using MAXIMUS' FacilityFocus enterprise asset management software, so adding a mobility capability with MobileFM Instant was the next logical step.

IUPUI wanted a solution that would eliminate transposition and clerical errors and reduce its reliance on paper versions of job requests.The bottom line: workers should spend more time finishing jobs and less time completing paperwork. Russ Woodard, maintenance project manager for IUPUI's Campus Facility Services department, helped implement the solution. "MobileFM Instant offered us the best opportunity, at our campus, for real-time data exchange at a price we could afford," he says. And the department may realize potential annual savings of $360,000.

The solution features Motorola i615 devices on the Sprint Nextel network. "The really amazing thing about the training was how well it went," Woodard recalls. "Even technicians considered 'technologically challenged' were able to pick up on it."

As can be the case with new technology deployments, there have been a few glitches, but Woodard says JumpStart and MAXIMUS are working hard to resolve them. Technicians are using the software differently than the developers envisioned, he explains. "The more our workers use the software, the more they think of things that will enhance it."

SOLUTION: MAXIMUS FacilityFocus and MobileFM Instant; Motorola i615 devices; Sprint Nextel network

>HONORABLE MENTION
Clemson University
Mobile solution doubles technicians' productivity.
It's difficult for facilities management (FM) staff to do their jobs when they spend a significant portion of each day on hold with the help desk, trying to locate job ticket details. This was the case at Clemson University. The school's 90 FM staff also wasted time picking up assignments in person and traveling to stores to order parts.

When the number of trouble tickets began growing by about 18 percent each quarter, Clemson decided it was time to revamp its approach. The FM department chose a service and repair application from Vettro 360 - a mobile-on-demand applications provider - that was loaded onto Nextel's Motorola i355 handsets.

"Vettro offered to provide customizations specific to our requirements at no additional cost at the time," says Bill Hughes, director of maintenance management. "No other vendor...gave us the option to customize a field service application without a steep fee." The solution was integrated with Datastream d7i. Clemson staff liked the solution's user-friendly interface and online/offline capability.

There was only one hitch. Because Vettro's team initially didn't comprehend the popularity of wireless devices among Clemson students and Tigers sports fans, it was puzzled by reports of service outages. "The timing of outages coincided with football season," says JiYoung Kim, VP of marketing for Vettro 360."We completely underestimated the burden of traffic on the network." Luckily, that hiccup was quickly resolved.

Technicians have doubled their productivity and can now view detailed job information, eliminating the frequent help desk calls. Each part needed for a job is scanned, and its assigned job code ensures that departments are billed timely and accurately.

SOLUTION:Vettro 360; Motorola i355 handsets from Nextel; Datastream d7i

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