It’s hard to overstate the demands on modern facilities management providers. Under growing pressure to drive efficiencies, push sustainability and maximise asset performance, embracing technology has become more and more pivotal to the work FMs do every day.
An organisation that vividly understands this need is Dexterra. With 90 years’ experience in 11 of Canada’s 13 provinces – managing and maintaining over 50 million square feet of space for clients in defense & security, healthcare, education, retail, social housing and beyond – Dexterra is a true leader in the delivery of fully integrated FM solutions, driven by the technology harnessed throughout their sites.
That is where MRI Software and our MRI Evolution platform enter the frame. Dexterra has worked with us for the past six years, utilising our CAFM technology to provide the most complete support to their clients possible. Through this, they consistently meet the ever-growing demands facing the industry and go above-and-beyond for their clients.
To hone in on how Dexterra is achieving this, here we will focus on one of their most prominent P3 sites: The Forensics Services & Coroner’s Complex in Toronto, Ontario. Discover how CAFM sits at the heart of their successful management of this critical building, and hear from two of their key team members – Craig Francis (Facility General Manager) and James Quinn (Facility Maintenance & Operations Manager) – on how Concept keeps them at peak performance.
The Forensics Services & Coroners Complex: A Background
The Forensics Services & Coroner’s Complex is one of Toronto’s most prevalent government buildings. As well as housing the Office of the Chief Coroner, the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service and the Centre of Forensic Sciences in the same facility, the building is the reporting command centre for any emergency in Ontario, be it a flood, earthquake or missing person.
In addition, the centre:
- Accommodates over 2,500 autopsies per year
- Handles over 15,000 forensic science cases per year
- Houses 2 courtrooms for inquests for the Chief Coroner’s office
- Asset Management
- Plant Operations & Maintenance
- Fabric Maintenance & Repair
- Energy Management
- Facility Cleaning & Grounds Maintenance
- Customer Care
- Space Planning
- Housekeeping & Food Service
- Environmental Services
- Materials & Logistics
With this in mind, it’s impossible to downplay how important it is that all 652,000 square feet of the building are performing as they should at all times. That makes the work of Dexterra’s team all the more vital, as they are responsible for the site’s hard and soft services.
Furthermore, as a P3 (Public Private Partnerships) project, every aspect of managing and maintaining the centre is underpinned by significant penalties if SLAs are not met. These penalties would be taken out of Dexterra’s service payment, and this covers everything from salaries and subcontractor fees to the costs of equipment and software.
As Craig Francis points out: “A potentially big pitfall with P3 is that everything is governed by financial penalties.”
“Without a good CAFM, there is no way you can keep a handle on the number of calls coming in or the number of PPMs that needs to be completed, and under a P3 any failure to manage these means you’re going to be paying out more money.”
Yet, despite the immense responsibility and risk attached to managing every facet of a building like this, the Dexterra team is consistently rising to the challenge and exceeding expectations. This is evidenced by the project achieving both the Universal and National Green Earth Awards from BOMA Canada in 2020.
At the centre of this success is Dexterra’s MRI Evolution platform, which has empowered their whole team to control every aspect of the site with effortless efficiency.
“MRI Evolution plays such an important role in our ability to manage assets and report in a credible fashion to our clients,” says Craig.
“In fact, the contract with the Forensics Complex specified that a CAFM system must be present and used, which is an indication of how central it is to our account’s overall success.”
CAFM: Total Control for FM Providers
It’s central to everything. Everything we touch, MRI Evolution has an impact on.
– Craig Francis
So, how does a CAFM solution like MRI Evolution enable organisations to meet the ever-increasing duties associated with a full-service FM offering? Let’s break down what the system achieves for Dexterra and the benefits this brings.
Asset Management & Maintenance
Ensuring all assets at The Forensics Services & Coroner’s Complex are properly tracked and maintained is a crucial element of the project. Establishing effective PPM and PDM schedules to maximise their lifecycles is vital to keeping costs down, while never allowing performance to drop due to the presence of suboptimal or broken assets.
“MRI’s platform is incredibly powerful – we rely on this not only for tracking the lifecycle of assets and understanding the equipment, but over time we get a stronger understanding of how particular assets function long term,” says James Quinn.
“At any time I can pull a trend on an asset and know every incident relating to the asset, so we can mitigate risk and reduce downtime by planning and scheduling resources to manage that issue.”
By seamlessly allowing the Dexterra team to automatically plan PPMs and PDMs and instantly distribute tasks to their relevant engineers, this maintenance management software enables them to work at peak efficiency, and make strategically-driven decisions over whether the costs of maintaining an asset are less than the cost of replacing it outright.
The significance of effective asset maintenance was key to Dexterra’s decision to introduce a BIM modelling system. Thanks to MRI Evolution’s versatility in integrating third-party software, the MRI Canada team was able to embed the BIM software (provided by Planit Measuring) into the system.
This has been incredibly useful for Dexterra, as now their engineers can visually identify any asset across their facilities with total ease. This ensures any issues are swiftly located and resolved – nothing ever gets missed.
This is further enhanced by MRI Evolution’s barcode scanning tool. Whenever an engineer has a task to perform, they will scan the barcode of an asset or room number using their MRI Evolution Go application on their smartphone. Not only does this demonstrate to Dexterra’s management team and their client that an engineer turned up and resolved the issue, but they can build a complete history of that asset’s lifecycle.
Through this history, Dexterra can understand the performance of every asset at a granular level. With this data, they can determine if PPM schedules need to be modified, and identify any common trends in faults or issues with an asset.
“MRI Evolution Go was involved in the ongoing platform of BIM modelling in the system. As soon as the modelling was done, it was like an airplane landing,” says James.
“MRI took traction immediately and rectified all asset tags so that it spoke hand-in-hand with our operations – the history behind each asset, their identification number – they brought that all together, so we can quickly find an asset and completely understand it and what has happened with it.”
MRI is very good at implementing various software and techniques into the system to find solutions that work for us.
Energy Management & Smart Buildings
One of Dexterra’s core focuses is sustainability. Everything from the products their cleaners use to how they handle waste is rooted in being as green as possible.
This extends to how they employ their CAFM system. Dexterra utilises MRI Evolution’s Energy Management modules to push conservation across their sites, and develop smarter, more sustainable buildings.
Responding to the fact that the modern workplace is increasingly flexible, from how many people are on-site at any given time to the different hours people work, Dexterra will soon incorporate energy management software and sensors into MRI Evolution.
Through this, sensors and the IoT will be able to identify when spaces are either occupied or vacant, and respond accordingly with regards to lighting, heating, ventilation and more. This will enhance energy-efficiency at times where occupancy is low, while also ensuring that spaces provide maximum comfort for employees when they are present.
“The normal unoccupied/occupied core hours of a building has changed. We have to adapt to a smarter system to support the functionality of these buildings moving forward,” says James.
“Working with MRI, we want to be able to pursue the future of BIM modelling and how it helps you understand every aspect of a building and the assets within it, and tie this into the development of modern, smart buildings.”
Dexterra also relies on their CAFM solution in how they manage projects across their site. Be it routine cleaning or maintenance work to larger developments involving subcontractors, MRI Evolution offers total reassurance that everything is under control.
“By being able to monitor all tasks on a dashboard, it prevents any failures,” says James.
“It prevents any task going unnoticed. It helps us understand why any tasks are taking long to complete, so we can determine ways to fast-track these. It enabled us to fine tune the system in relation to failed tasks and classify tasks by their importance.”
Craig continues: “We have monitors in the offices of every supervisor and manager on site. At a glance, everyone can see what’s going on with the tasks they are responsible for on the dashboard. I can look at overall performance across all sections at a glance, and that was a neat innovation MRI introduced to us.”
Across all their sites, Dexterra is responsible for tens of thousands of assets and enormous inventories. Ensuring the team is fully aware of what is in their inventories, what has been taken out of inventory day-to-day and when it needs replenishing, is essential for buildings running seamlessly.
Again, a CAFM solution is crucial to tracking this immense amount of information and guaranteeing that inventories are well-stocked at all times. As well as contain all of this data and any movement of inventory, the system automatically sends a report to the finance team, so they are aware of what’s changed and any orders they need to make.
“If inventory management had to be done manually, it would mean increasing staff and taking more time, which translates to higher costs. At the very basic level, MRI Evolution is a powerful cost-saving tool,” says Craig.
“As multiple different sites utilise this united system, it prevents procuring any equipment on a site which others have demonstrated isn’t effective, and if a site needs a particular asset in a hurry, we can send a replacement if another site has it in their inventory, rather than go out and buy a new one, which may take more time than required,” James adds.
Reporting & Client Relationships
As noted earlier, the penalties associated with a P3 project such as The Forensics Services & Coroner’s Complex place a major priority on the strength of Dexterra’s reporting. As a self-reporting organisation, MRI Evolution’s “Audit Now” module automatically generates custom-made reports for Dexterra and their clients’ requirements, providing a huge boost to their productivity and credibility.
“By enrolling every moveable component of the site into the system, every department head is able to capture all necessary pieces of information for their reporting,” says James.
Craig continues: “If we were to just type something up on a piece of paper saying we had no failures this month, the government would never accept that as a credible way to report.”
“Having access to these automated, customized reports lends credibility to what we do here. That credibility translates into cost savings, as it means we don’t need to worry about penalties.”
Indeed, thanks to the strength of Dexterra’s CAFM solution, they have been able to reduce their SLA chargebacks of this site to around zero, making it one of the only buildings in all of Canada to hold this distinction and saving Dexterra thousands of dollars each month.
In addition, MRI Evolution comprehensively tracks all client calls or complaints that Dexterra receives, so tasks can be created to resolve the issue as swiftly as required, and then automatically send out a transaction survey to their client to rate their satisfaction with how the rectification was handled.
Through this information stored on their CAFM system, Dexterra can pull out satisfaction trends in a single-click, and proactively course-correct if trends start to decline.
Dexterra & MRI: A True Partnership
While the CAFM system Dexterra employs is all-encompassing in how they manage their wide range of projects, it would not be nearly as effective without the incredible relationship between both their team and our team at MRI Canada.
“When I talk to JB (Jon) Benjamin at MRI Canada, it is not a typical vendor-client relationship – it’s more of a partnership,” says Craig.
“For example, Jon and his team were the ones that introduced the BIM modelling system to us because they saw the value it could bring to our operations. We looked at it, we also saw the value, and we executed it.”
“It’s not a situation where a vendor is trying to increase their sales as the only goal – that is not the relationship we have with Jon. He presents things to us, and they always carry value. We truly appreciate that, as it’s not always easy to track the latest developments in the CAFM industry when you’re working day-to-day. To have a partner adding this value through this is a breath of fresh air.”
“The engagement with MRI Canada is very enlightening,” James echoes.
“We believe that there is a strong voice behind MRI in Canada. They quickly rectify any issues we encounter and allow us to voice our unique service requirements, and build their platforms for us so we can utilise them in-line with our needs.”
Having a strong bond between a CAFM provider and those using it every day is essential to getting the absolute most out of this technology. It is something we delighted to share with the team at Dexterra, enabling them to realise the full potential of their platform.
A Future Crafted by CAFM
With their eyes firmly focused on expanding their reach across Canada and entering new industries, Dexterra certainly considers MRI Evolution central to fulfilling these ambitions:
“By partnering with MRI Canada and growing this relationship over time, we have been able to extract more and more out of MRI Evolution than when we first started,” says Craig.
“I don’t see it going anywhere – every single site we’ve acquired uses MRI Evolution, even legacy sites where we’ve been able to integrate their existing systems into MRI Evolution.”
We are excited to support Dexterra towards their goals moving forward, and to continue to work closely with their team to enhance and evolve that CAFM solution to continue to deliver the FM services that keep them at the forefront of FM in Canada.
Learn more about MRI Evolution.