Founded in 2014, Universal FM provides a comprehensive range of high-quality facility management services to clients across Australia. This variety of services covers:
- Asset Management
- Operational Services
- Workplace Management
- Technology Platforms
- Compliance & Risk Management
- Financial Services
After initially acquiring a CAFM system that didn’t meet their requirements and was consistently overlooked in favour of working manually through spreadsheets, the Universal team approached FSI about implementing Concept Evolution following a roadshow demonstration and personal demo.
“What we found is that when you go out and try to sell yourself to clients, the first thing they ask is what system do you use. With Concept, everything is so much better, so much more organised, and we feel comfortable with it,” says John Gerschwitz, General Manager at Universal FM and Chairman of the South Australia Branch Committee of The Facility Managers Association (FMA).
“We had a demo online, and I remember saying “When can we start?” It was exactly what we were looking for.”
After determining that none of the other CAFM systems they were looking at delivered the truly end-to-end solution they required, Universal introduced the core Concept Evolution platform in May 2018.
From the outset, it was clear this had the foundations of a strong relationship, as the values emphasised by the Universal team closely aligned with those held by FSI:
“We want to be safe. We want to be cutting-edge. We want to be fair. We want to be flexible. And we want to do a good job in a simple manner,” says John.
Our team, led by Region Manager FSI APAC Nick Suthers, worked closely with John and his team to overcome the challenges of implementing Concept and understanding its capabilities. Alongside the base Concept Evolution system, Universal also acquired the following modules:
This module enables Universal to notify their team of issues and tasks automatically and efficiently, enhancing their day-to-day productivity.
Through this, Universal can easily track and report on work completed by contractors and get a better handle on invoice management.
“Some of our resources were slack in sending us invoices, and it meant that we could never be certain that work had been done. Since Concept, we know when work is done and when a job is closed clearly,” says John.
This gives Universal greater oversight of their Service Level Agreements, ensuring work is completed in accordance with these terms and that they achieve total compliance.
Within Concept, Universal can seamlessly create and distribute reports for their clients and internal teams, all custom-built in accordance with the information they’re expected to deliver. This was especially true for their financial reports, which were adapted by the FSI team to produce the data they needed to import into their dedicated financial system.
“On top of the base Concept package, FSI customised a number of reports and workflows for us. This has adapted the system as much as possible to meet our requirements,” says John.
“They have bent over backwards to try and help us use the base system to get what we need from it.”
Universal employs Workflow Lite to create bespoke workflows that automatically distribute tasks to the relevant engineers through texts and emails for maximum productivity.
Any initial challenges with harnessing the Concept platform were addressed over time by regular support calls from the FSI team and the delivery of training sessions.
Following this, Universal today feel they have a much greater understanding of the system than when it was first introduced, and are looking forward to expanding its capabilities as they move forward.
“The FSI team has been exceptional. They’ve really supported us – any concerns we can give them a call, and they present us with options based on their understanding. They’ve held our hand all the way through,” says John.
“Now that more members of our team understand the system better, they’re like a dog with a bone.”
Nick Suthers echoed this emphasis on support: “Rather than just give Universal the system and letting their team get frustrated if they can’t use it, whenever they need an hour of our guys’ time, we’re happy to give them it.”
Through this backing and Universal’s growing confidence in harnessing the Concept platform, the Universal team have been able to streamline how they manage their tasks and PPMs, as well as how they track completed jobs and invoices, and the way they report these back to their clients. Overall, it has upped organisation and increased efficiency throughout their business.
Furthermore, working with a globally-recognised team like FSI has lended credibility when Universal pitches for further contracts:
“I fully believe we’ve won contracts by having Concept in place,” says John.
“One of the first things that our new clients ask us is about the system we use. We show them some examples and that helps to secure their contracts.”
Looking towards the future, the Universal team is very interested in growing their Concept Evolution platform to further enhance the work they do every day. FSI GO’s workforce applications are high on their radar, to support and empower their mobile engineers.
In addition, conversations have been held between Universal and FSI about introducing both the Purchase Orders and Sales Invoicing modules as well for greater control over the financial side of the business.
Whatever the future holds, Universal is in no doubt that they will continue to work with FSI and Concept as they enter the next chapter for their company, and their team is delighted at the partnership that has formed between both sides since it began back in 2018.
“The flexibility of FSI has been very good. Even though we’re only a small company right now, their support makes you feel like you’re important to them,” says John.
“Once we expand in the new year, I see FSI becoming even more critical for us in managing all work allocated to us.”
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