Regional Supermarket Chain Focuses on Vendor Management

Configurability Saves Time & Money

A regional supermarket chain with over 330 locations in 19 states maintains its stores with a network of over 1,600 vendors.  The company was previously using a legacy facilities management product that afforded the company very little flexibility.  As their Senior Manager for Enterprise Service Management put it, “It was a walled-off garden.  We were stuck to their roadmap.  Since Nuvolo is built on the NOW platform, we can now easily make changes to workflows, add fields and functions, and when groups ask for specific reports, we can say ‘yes’ to pretty much everyone.”

In a recent example of Nuvolo’s flexibility, the Manager noted the effort to integrate Nuvolo with the company’s new ERP product.

“If we were still using our legacy system, we would’ve had to pay our old vendor enormous amounts of money for a custom development effort.  With Nuvolo, we simply made some adjustments to the data output on our own.  That was huge for us.”

Configurability is not only a significant element of the Nuvolo solution for application administrators but also for one of the company’s Senior Facility Engineers responsible for 70 stores.  “The UI can be customized for each individual, which is great,” he explained.  “The dispatcher doesn’t need to see everything a billing manager sees, so their screen can be customized to show, say, calls in progress, those that need an estimate, or those ready for billing.  Warranty information for the asset and ETA of the vendor are also available to those who need it. We can take any of those buckets – and many others – and give them to the right people that need to see them.”

Easing the Compliance Burden

Like all grocery stores, the company deploys and maintains countless refrigeration units, which subjects them to strict EPA 608 refrigerant regulations, as well as state rules.  To comply, vendor technicians must meticulously record refrigerant usage for each asset, and provide that data to EPA and state regulators, like the California Resource Board, when requested.  As the company’s Senior Engineer explained,

“Using our previous product, the refrigerant and work-order modules were separate, so paper was involved, and data needed to be manually keyed in, which could take days or weeks.  If we were asked to produce refrigerant reports, it could take forever to pull that information together.  With Nuvolo, it’s a click of the mouse.”

Preventative maintenance for all assets is scheduled in advance for each, and work orders are automatically generated and assigned.  Corrective maintenance issues are reported by store managers via a mobile or computer-based portal, and “triaged” quickly by a facilities manager.  “We could auto-assign those,” noted the Facilities Engineer, “but we don’t want work orders created by store managers directly, and Nuvolo lets us build the workflow to accommodate that to our needs.”  Using the Nuvolo system, the company is managing 3,000 to 4,000 work orders weekly. Vendor technicians receive the work orders on their Nuvolo mobile device app, and since most of the company’s assets are bar-coded, use their mobile device to scan the asset before servicing it, reducing data input time and subsequent errors.

Greatly Increased Vendor Transparency

Notably, greatly improved vendor transparency resulting from Nuvolo’s deployment has yielded significant financial savings.  Explains the Facilities Engineer,

“It’s now easy for us to identify vendor over-charges.  Using geofencing, for example, we can see when a vendor was on-site and starting a service call, so if they started billing from the time they left the office or their home, they’re double-dipping by charging us their trip fee as well as their hourly service rate.  I’d estimate we’re saving $300 a week in over-charges for my stores, and that adds up.  Projecting that $300 per week cost savings across all the company’s stores yields annual savings of over $70,000.”