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14/03/2016
Success Story

Keep track of everything with the workforce management system from ALBA Facility Solutions

ALBA Facility Solutions GmbH manages and administers residential, business and special real estate throughout Germany. Using an integrated workforce management system, between 2,500 and 5,000 orders are processed each month for various major customers – almost entirely without paper!

By definition, the task of a workforce management system is to deploy personnel resources in an intelligent manner. This should ensure that the right employees with the appropriate qualifications are available at the right time and in the right place. In view of the many stakeholder groups, achieving this ideal presented a particular challenge at ALBA Facility Solutions GmbH. In addition to meeting the needs of customers, the company also has to coordinate external service providers and internal employees accordingly. A workplace management system therefore must be capable of dealing with a high level of complexity. ALBA Facility Solutions GmbH has successfully mastered this and many other challenges together with PROMOS, creating a structured and user-oriented solution. The ALBA Facility Solutions GmbH workforce management system is based on two pillars. The first is the company’s SAP® system and the second is easysquare mobile. Let us take a direct look at the system as it is used in practice.  


When matters are pressing, things need to move fast!  


If damage to a property is discovered, this can be reported directly to ALBLA Facility Solutions GmbH by e-mail, phone, fax or another customer interface. The customer service employee at ALBA now opens the service module in SAP® and can record the damage there. The customer contracts and all master data for the tenant and the managed properties are already stored in the customer contract module in SAP® (see Figure 1). All the ALBA employee has to do is compare the defect reporter’s contact and property data and update it if necessary. In the next step, the service centre employee selects the property or building component-related damage symptom from a catalogue of suggestions on a fast entry screen. Let us assume, for example, that the heating is broken. The intelligent workforce management system decides independently that the company can repair this damage itself and does not need to commission a third-party service provider. The responsible team of technicians is also suggested automatically. In addition, a short text can be maintained for the damage, such as “Radiator doesn’t warm up”, “House caretaker has the key for the cellar” or “Tenant is hard of hearing”. The technician then knows precisely what to do. Finally, a processing period is specified in accordance with the service level agreement (SLA) agreed with the customer. The data recorded in the scope of the defect report is retained throughout the entire process and thus serves as a starting point for all the subsequent steps.

Figure 1: Integrated platform based on SAP® technology.

In the starting blocks: commissioning and scheduling the employees  


As all the data has already been transferred, all the service centre employee needs to do to create the order is to check the details entered. The system checks whether there is a customer contract for placing the order. Only then can the order be placed. The service centre employee does not need to know the details of the contract for this. The system automatically applies the stored service level of the relevant contract item.  


Once all of this has been completed, the service centre employee still needs to schedule the relevant technician to repair the heating. The employee uses the SAP® MRS planning board for this resource planning. The service centre employee assigns the heating repair order to the ALBA heating engineer Mr Happy and reserves a corresponding time window for him. The system issues a warning if the engineer may have been commissioned twice. Once the MRP is complete, the task is automatically sent to Mr Happy’s mobile terminal device via an OPSL interface. So now we can follow the tracks of the actual core business at ALBA Facility Solutions GmbH.

MRS-Plantafel in SAP zur Planung und Disposition der Mitarbeiter im Außendienst
Figure 2: The MRS planning board allows orders to be planned effectively and transferred to the employee via mobile device.

Out and about with the ALBA Facility Solutions service technicians  


At the start of his working day, Mr Happy from ALBA Facility Solutions GmbH takes a look at the easysquare mobile app on his smartphone to gain an overview of the upcoming tasks for the day. Here, among other tasks, he finds the heating damage to be processed, including the address, tenant data and a description of the damage. He decides to take care of this job first. On arriving at the site, Mr Happy discovers that there is air in the radiator and resolves the problem. The tenant then informs him that the light switch in the bedroom is broken and the tap in the bathroom drips. Mr Happy is able to repair the tap immediately and enters this additional service in the digital form in the easysquare mobile app. However, only an electrician can fix the light switch, so Mr Happy records the damage in the easysquare mobile app. The tenant then accepts the service performed by Mr Happy by means of a digital signature. The log can then be sent to ALBA Facility Solutions’ SAP® system. Mr Happy can now take care of his remaining tasks while ALBA Facility Solutions GmbH starts the invoicing process.  


Billing  


Once the service performed has been released by means of an individual release strategy, billing of the service performed is taken care of using the billing module in SAP® (see Figure 1). Here, the available information from the customer contract, defect report and technician’s service feedback is brought together and the billing is performed automatically. Depending on the contractual arrangement, services can be billed at a flat-rate based on unit price agreements or in accordance with the actual outlay. The invoice is then sent to the customer via the customer portal.

Informationstechnologie und Immobilien (IT&I) Ausgabe Nr. 31 / April 2021

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And what about involving external suppliers?  


In the scope of defect recording, ALBA Facility Management Solutions GmbH’s workforce management system may specify an external provider to remedy the defect. In this case, just as for an internal service, an order is generated that is then transmitted directly to the service provider in question via the easysquare supplier portal. The supplier can accept the order, perform the service in accordance with the stored supplier contracts and then report back that he has done so. Once the ALBA Facility Solutions GmbH employee releases the service, billing can then be performed via the portal. This allows the best possible integration of external service providers.  


Quality with honours  


The workforce management system constitutes an integrated, future-oriented solution that meets the requirements of ALBA Facility Solutions GmbH. In 2015, the launch of the system received an internal award for the best process innovation. The success factors were multitude. The close networking of all business processes and parties involved is now mapped in a central system. This allows end-to-end, standardised reporting to all stakeholder groups and thus extremely high transparency. Another benefit of the solution is that employees are intuitively guided through the process with pre-set entry screens, clear work orders and high usability. Overall, process efficiency has been significantly increased and, at the same time, considerable cost savings achieved.

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