Manukau Institute of Technology builds 30-year strategic view of asset portfolio in two years
Established in 1970, Manukau Institute of Technology is one of the largest providers of technical, vocational and professional education in New Zealand. Over 14,000 students study at MIT each year across nine campuses within the greater Auckland region. MIT rely on the Pulse facility management software to manage their day-to-day asset management requirements and Sapphire is providing data-driven insights with its robust analytics and modelling capabilities.
Like most tertiary education providers, Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) have thousands of assets that need to be monitored each year. For Kim Smith, Facility Manager , this was a cumbersome process for her team of two to manage, with little to no consistency to the way data was captured or maintained.
“Everything we did was very manual. Information was in people’s heads or in spreadsheets and not in a single place. And the information that we did have varied across the different sources. We had spreadsheets of data, from individual chairs right through to the roofs on individual buildings and no understanding of what that information was telling us.”
Without a single view of their information, or an analytics platform to help them make data-driven decisions, Kim’s team wasn’t able to show the risk of deferring maintenance works or the true budget required. Instead, budgets were often allocated to where someone thought it should go, not necessarily where it was needed.
Not being able to easily access the information meant sharing information between departments or to the senior management team took time. Finding, consolidating and displaying the information in a meaningful way took a lot longer than it should have. They knew they had the information, but accessing it wasn’t easy.
Building the foundation
MIT first became a Zuuse partner in 2017 when they purchased the Pulse facility management software (then called BEIMS) and Sapphire asset lifecycle platform.
This was the first step in MIT’s journey to having a strategic asset lifecycle view across their entire portfolio. As Kim puts it, this was the start of “building the house”.
“You have to put the foundation in first. It’s important to have really good quality data, and a good data structure, from the outset; without it you can’t actually do anything. It’s very unsexy, it takes time, it takes time to mature, but you won’t see any outcomes without it”.
The initial data they had was audited and mapped using the National Asset Management Support (NAMS) methodology, a condition rating was assigned to each data point, and it was all then uploaded into Pulse.
Once MIT had a solid and structured base of data, they were able to move into the next phase of their journey. Using Sapphire, they were able to consolidate their asset information, allowing them to identify anomalies in the data and interrogate what the data was telling them.
Some of the initial observations and gaps in the data were:
- Paint records: the recorded information came in at double the annual renewal budget. Using that information, they could question why they were painting certain assets like the ceilings so often.
- Teaching spaces: highlighted that the dollar value per square metre was incorrect
- Asset renewal: exposed assets whose data had not been updated following the works in previous years
Sapphire helped build an initial picture of their asset portfolio and to identify information gaps that needed more investigation. The validation process of the data is an ongoing project, allowing the data to continuously mature and improve the organisation’s confidence in the story they’re seeing.
Putting on the roof
For Kim, the final phase is where the magic happens. With the continual evolution and maturity of the data and Sapphire’s long-term forecasting (modelling) capabilities, she is able to take a more proactive and advanced view of her portfolio. Rather than relying on point-in-time analysis, her team will be able to predict what’s going to happen, whether next month or next year, and take steps to mitigate those risks now.
As a tertiary education provider, MIT regularly reports to their governing body and the new NZIST (the amalgamation of all Technology Institutes in New Zealand as of April 2020). The information available in Sapphire and Pulse has helped MIT benchmark against its colleagues, using data such as square meterage per teaching space and ongoing maintenance costs to build a clearer picture about the future. They’ve also been able to clearly demonstrate deferred maintenance programs (and the risk of taking that approach) and compare and align annual renewal budgets with asset renewal cycles.
Looking to the future
While Kim always had ongoing support from her management team, being able to show the strategic view is building excitement within the team and showing the true power of the platform.
“FM is all about invisible assets so it’s been hard to show what we’ve been working on. But we’re at the stage now where people are getting really excited – it’s real asset lifecycle management. The data Skyline and modelling we can do in Sapphire are really going to give us the ROI and the information we need to deliver a proactive asset lifecycle program.”
By partnering with Zuuse, Kim and MIT have been able to move from inconsistent data held in spreadsheets to building a 30-year view across their asset portfolio in just two years. It’s also helped collaboration between different departments within MIT.
Each department is responsible for its own renewals budget and needed a tool to model their data. Working with Zuuse, Kim has been able to build an individual skyline for the IT, FM, and management teams, empowering them to build accurate models and use the data to inform their long-term decisions.
MIT now has a solid base and the right structure in place to feel confident in the story their data is telling them. Kim acknowledges the validation process will continue for the next couple of years but recognises Sapphire has put MIT in a great position within the tertiary education space in New Zealand and is helping to build data confidence.