SCUHS Breaks Out of the Mold
Southern California University of Health Sciences (SCUHS) Deploys TeamDynamix Enterprise Service Management across Campus: Addressing IT, Facilities, and Marketing on One Platform
“Today the support wing of SCUHS is significantly better off with TeamDynamix functioning as our Help Desk.”
– C.W.J. “Joe” Eggleston, Executive Director of Auxiliary Operations and Physical Plant
For more than a hundred years, Southern California University of Health Sciences (SCUHS) has prepared students for successful careers in patient care. The school is located about 20 miles southeast of Los Angeles in Whittier, CA. It offers programs in chiropractic care, acupuncture, and Oriental medicine, as well as a newly launched physician assistant program.
For the last 10 years, C.W.J. “Joe” Eggleston has served as Executive Director of Auxiliary Operations and Physical Plant at SCU, providing the campus with maintenance and construction services. During most of that time, communicating service requests at SCU was haphazard at best. “Requests were passed along through e-mail, post-it notes, or a tug-on-a-sleeve in a hallway,” says Eggleston.
At some point, the Physical Plant department started using a freeware system it found on the Internet. “It wasn’t even remotely set up for Physical Plant or IT,” says Eduardo “Eddie” Barrios, Physical Plant Supervisor. “There was no quality control, no reliable reporting, and no accountability. It was terribly inefficient.”
Even with that system, service projects were still assigned haphazardly. “It was a system in which the squeaky wheel got the grease,” Eggleston adds. As a result, SCU Physical Plant turned to TeamDynamix. TeamDynamix provides a cloud-based service platform built specifically for Higher Education, which means it can work for service management across the entire campus.
“Today the support wing of SCU is significantly better off with TeamDynamix functioning as our Help Desk. But what makes SCU support service stronger,” says Eggleston, “isn’t just utilizing TeamDynamix, it’s the manner in which we implemented and customized the system to best suit our unique needs.” According to Eggleston, SCU customized TeamDynamix in three significant areas:
• Universal Service Strategy: Three different departments at SCU—IT, Physical Plant or Facilities, and Marketing—are all using the same system and same processes for operation. “I can’t imagine three more different departments,” says Eggleston, “but at SCU these three departments are intricately linked and able to function together easily and efficiently as the result of TeamDynamix. Without that engine, we wouldn’t have the communication, accountability, or efficiency within these departments that we have today.”
• No “Other” Policy: From the beginning, Eggleston was determined to institute a strict no “Other” category. “By eliminating the dreaded ‘other’ category,” he says, “we were able to create a robust set of categories to help users find the correct category.”
Eggleston says people are naturally inclined to click “Other” when requesting a service, instead of looking at the available services and choosing the one that best fits their needs. “We spent a great deal of time looking at every ticket request over the past few years to create categories,” says Eggleston. “By forcing users to tell us specifically what they need, we are better able to get their request taken care of more quickly.”
The positive result of doing this thorough up-front work, he says, is there hasn’t been any need to “augment the Physical Plant offerings either through necessity or request.”
• iPad Initiative: Trying to blend a paper-based department into a heavily computerized ticket system—particularly with a group that wasn’t particularly tech-savvy—was quite a gamble, says Eggleston.
“Whereas IT departments are used to working at desks with computers,” he says, “our department is comprised of mainly mechanics—each with his own unique specialty, such as electrical, carpentry, and painting—and janitors who are out in the field on mobile electric carts. So we had to find an easy device for them to operate, and one that was also very mobile.”
To meet that need, Eggleston and his team chose iPads, which they mounted on the carts. “We made these iPads an extension of the cart. They’re viewed as another tool that is part of any standard maintenance operation,” he says.
The iPads run the mobile version of TeamDynamix on the carts. “The mobile version is a little more streamlined and simplistic,” says Barrios, “as compared to the full version of TeamDynamix which can be a little cumbersome if your hands are dirty or you’re out in the field.”
With the iPad and TeamDynamix platform at their fingertips, mechanics are able to be fairly autonomous. “They can handle their tasks throughout the day without having to go back to a physical warehouse,” says Barrios, “and they handle those tasks more quickly and efficiently.”
That helps in complex as well as simple situations. “For example,” Eggleston adds, “let’s say someone wants their office repainted. That’s a simple enough request, but it does need a couple of approvals before it can happen. In the past, there was a Byzantine and complicated process for getting those approvals. We would lose a lot of time trying to get everybody on the same page.”
Now someone can request that their office get repainted and within a couple of hours (or sooner) those approvals are signed off on, and the assigned mechanic is ready to get started. “All that can happen in a matter of a day,” says Eggleston, “as opposed to the five days it would often take before TeamDynamix. We can use the tools and staff that we have much more efficiently. In fact, we can do a lot more with less.”
FASTER RESPONSE AND ENHANCED SERVICE
The end result has been overwhelmingly positive. “Today, with TeamDynamix powering our Help Desk, things are going great at SCU Physical Plant,” says Eggleston. “TeamDynamix allows us flexibility of workflow based on individual staff or in some cases team skill-sets. This is a feature that we definitely did not have previously. It also has helped us to drastically improve response time, and ultimately improve customer service. We are held accountable for the requests that come into this system, so nothing falls through the cracks, and our managers have a much clearer view of our activities.”
As far as advice for other physical plant managers, facilities managers or maintenance managers who are considering making a transition to service management software, Eggleston has this bit of advice. “Be open to change,” he says, “and to the excitement and creativity that an engine like TeamDynamix can offer a department. Have a little bit of fun with it. You can end up with a much more robust system.”
“In the end,” says Eggleston, “with TeamDynamix, we’ve managed to break Physical Plant out of its traditional mold and modernize the manner in which we conduct business and provide enhanced services.”