University Identifies $500,000+ Savings From e-Business Transformation

Minneapolis, MN January 25, 2001 - By transforming its facilities operations into an e-business, the University of Minnesota has already identified more than $500,000 annual savings from the implementation of a new enterprise facilities management system and expects major additional cost improvements, according to Cheryl Coryea, Chief Financial Officer for Facilities. Limitations in the flexibility of the legacy system forced the continuation of a number of inefficient practices such as re-keying of payroll information in several systems and duplicating preventive maintenance plans for similar equipment located in different areas of the campus. The implementation of FAMIS Enterprise Facilities Management Suite, from Prism Computer Corporation, Irvine CA (, made it possible to revamp 15 business processes to dramatically improve the efficiency of facilities management and other departments. For example, the ability to enter time from the field at a single point and electronically feed all other process steps saved $105,000 per year while the use of a central planning model for planning preventive maintenance work orders saved $125,000.

The University of Minnesota, with its four campuses, is one of the most comprehensive universities in the country and ranks among the most prestigious institutions in the United States. It is both a state land-grant university, with a strong tradition of education and public service, and a major research institution, with scholars of national and international reputation. The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities is a classic Big Ten campus located in the heart of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. The largest of the four campuses, with over 45,000 students currently enrolled, it is made up of 19 colleges and offers 161 bachelor's degrees, 218 master's degrees, 114 doctoral degrees, and 5 professional degrees. The Twin Cities campus is one of the largest facilities of any type in the United States with about 20,000,000 square feet. The facilities management department spends approximately $35 million per year in maintaining and managing existing buildings and oversees the delivery of nearly $800 million in new construction and renovation projects.

The facilities management organization previously used a maintenance system that had become outdated over the years, Coryea said. "The technology was based on an outdated database architecture that was difficult to upgrade and required a high level of attention simply to maintain the existing functionality," she said. "The old software required that we go through 16 separate steps simply to get labor reporting all the way from the origination point through to the final payroll process so that people could get paid. As the need to make a large expenditure to upgrade the system for Year 2000 compliance loomed, we made the decision instead to start over from scratch."

Coryea said that the primary criteria used in selecting the replacement system were an open architecture that would interface with the University's other systems, flexibility that would make it possible to upgrade business processes and substantially improved reporting capabilities to provide decision support information. "We selected FAMIS because it provides the most open and flexible architecture of the systems that we viewed. Their strong support for Oracle database technology made it relatively easy to interface with our existing applications and take advantage of the latest decision support technology. Besides handling all aspects of corrective and preventive maintenance out of the box, FAMIS provided the flexibility we needed to make dramatic improvements in our business processes." 

The new software provided an electronic time gathering form that feeds employee time information into job costing, invoicing, payroll, financial accounting and other applications. The 16 steps that were previously required to move time sheet information through the organization were reduced to a single step. This approach eliminated a considerable amount of data entry time, made it possible to move one data entry clerk and one supervisor to other positions, providing $105,000 in annual savings. Business process improvements were also made in the area of accounts payable and related accounting entries that made it possible to handle a larger volume of vendor invoices with less accounting time and provide additional savings by reducing the need for processing general ledger entries. This saved an additional $30,000. Other business process changes that resulted in substantial savings include: centralized planning for standard equipment--$300,000; streamlined MRO functions-estimated $50,000 annually; work scheduling and lookup--$36,000 annually; reduced software maintenance cost--$40,000 annually.

"We are also planning many other process improvements such as creating an interface to our building automation systems so that we can automatically generate a work order if, for example, an alarm shows that a heating system is not working properly. All in all, we believe that long-term we have the opportunity to save between 7% and 10% a year from our total annual maintenance budget, something on the order of $2 million per year." 

Prism Computer Corporation, headquartered in Irvine, California, is the developer of FAMIS, a 100% Internet enabled, world-class Enterprise Facilities Management system. Founded in 1982, Prism provides software products and services to help organizations effectively and efficiently maintain and operate facilities assets, manage space, and control capital projects. For more information please visit or call 1-800-774-7622.

Prism Computer Corporation

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