Vertex Pharmaceuticals Streamlines Facilities Management with Nuvolo

Vertex Pharmaceuticals employs over 2,000 people working to improve the lives of patients afflicted with serious diseases.  As part of that effort, they operate 8,000 corporate assets, everything from air handlers to sophisticated pharmaceutical manufacturing equipment. Before Nuvolo, Vertex used a hodgepodge of products to manage its facilities operations, including a homegrown ticketing system, Maximo, and iOffice.  As their facilities operation matured, their solution requirements expanded, prompting them to evaluate multiple alternatives, including Accruent, FM Systems, IBM Maximo and Primavera.  But as a ServiceNow user, the eventual choice was obvious, as explained by their Sr. Director of Corporate Real Estate and Facility Operations,

“Nuvolo more than met all our requirements, including the flexibility and scalability we needed.  And it can seem like a small thing, but Nuvolo gave everyone a single place to go for all IT and Facilities requests. A great thing.”

Improving Technician Efficiency

“First and foremost, we’ve improved technician efficiency,” explained the Director.  “Say we had 20 PMs to be completed by the end of the month.  Before Nuvolo, we’d just hand those off to a technician and make sure they completed them by the end of the month.  Now that we have much better analytical tools and business rules around this, we’re able to schedule those out in a more granular fashion, so we know what that technician’s actual availability is.  So, if correctives come up, we can fill in those gaps in their PM schedule.”

The Director is also excited about how Nuvolo’s mobile capability has changed the way his team operates,

“Our technicians complete rounds by trade, be it electrical, mechanical or plumbing.  Previously, those rounds were being done on a paper-based system and went into a binder.  Eventually a work order was opened if something was wrong.  Now with the mobile deployment, work orders can be opened on the fly.  Among other benefits, this has allowed us to do better trending, so if we’re seeing the same thing day after day, or if ranges are going high or low, we can get much better insight.”

With reliable information, the Director can now begin benchmarking the performance of his team, “In world class organizations, you see technician wrench time about 60%.  We were nowhere near that. Nuvolo allows us to do better scheduling around the location of the asset, or different shifts, to get a lot more efficient.  By integrating our spare parts and tools into the process, when a PM comes up, now the technician already knows what they need to have, and they’re not running back and forth 5 different times to a maintenance cage to get the tools they need.  We’ve definitely streamlined that process.”

Information = Visibility = Intelligent Decision-Making

Vertex identifies “visibility” as perhaps the most important of several benefits resulting from their Nuvolo deployment.  Explains the Director, “After just a few months, we’d already seen marked improvement by creating a much more transparent environment for how our resources are being allocated.  Where we didn’t have great visibility before, we now not only see how many tickets are being completed, but also how much time is being spent on turning a wrench vs filling out paperwork.  This has really helped us resource-load better than before.”

The improved visibility and quick access to information also enables much more intelligent decision-making, according to the Director.  “Some of our equipment can run as high as $750,000, so how we manage it is very important.  We can now tell how much money we’re spending to maintain it.  So, if we have assets beyond their useful life and we’re spending too much maintaining them, we can make an informed replacement decision.  Easily creating reports and graphs can show us if we have a problematic asset, and that is a real value.”

The access to information Nuvolo has given Vertex has enhanced its teams’ outsource/insource decision-making as well. “Another great thing is that we’re getting a really good sense for the utilization of our technicians, and also getting a good sense for what we’re doing in-house and what we’re doing with 3rd party providers.  We know how much we’re spending, for example, for electrical and HVAC work, and we can evaluate if there’s any of that work we can pull back in-house,” according to the Director.

“One of my goals was to be a more data-driven organization, and we’re already seeing the fruits of that with the Nuvolo system by identifying low-hanging fruit,” added the Director.  “As an example, if we have a service contract on a piece of laboratory equipment, and we realize the utilization of it is not very high, we can identify that and make the shifts around our maintenance strategy. Another area is appropriately assigning work to the right skill level.  Now we can intelligently move low-value work to lower cost resources. We don’t want to be paying a $50/hour electrician to change a light bulb when we have people that are paid half that who can do it.  With this greatly improved information access, we’ve also been able to focus our efforts on the most critical pieces of equipment, and been able to improve how we track service contracts and warranties so we’re not paying for work that, essentially, we’ve already paid for.”

The ServiceNow Connection

The tight coupling with ServiceNow has been a real key to Vertex’s overall success with Nuvolo. “The stuff we needed in Nuvolo, like pulling in employee data, locations, and cost center data was already built into ServiceNow, so we were able to roll that right over into the Nuvolo product,” noted the Director.  “The end-user experience is also very important to us.  If people can’t find what they’re looking for and can’t report a problem on the system, they pick up the phone, and that’s not efficient.  Our people had about 2 years of operating within the ServiceNow platform for IT, and now they go to the exact same place; instead of an IT request, they put in a facilities request.  For the end-user, it’s really 100% transparent, which means it’s really efficient for my team.”