By Riana Upton

When Lemont-based commercial contractor Englewood Construction, Inc. began getting requests from clients to oversee buildings after construction, they saw a golden opportunity to increase sales and client satisfaction.

For 30 years, Englewood Construction, Inc. has been known for their data-driven innovations and commitment to exceeding their clients’ project expectations. Their services range from pre-construction to general contracting and construction management to design/build and turnkey. Specializing in retail, restaurant, shopping center, office and industrial construction, they’ve built freestanding (ground up) projects for brands such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, DSW and TGI Fridays. They’ve also followed national retailers like Macy’s, GAP, Ann Taylor and Chico’s to complete their tenant improvement work. Today, Englewood has a national qualified subcontractor base that exceeds 20,000 subcontractors and suppliers and properties across the United States.

Englewood’s facilities management division grew out of client requests for help in managing equipment and systems, and overseeing repair costs after buildings were constructed. Working in the same project management portal as the other divisions, Englewood’s facilities management team soon discovered that its needs were quickly outgrowing the software. It was not created with facilities management in mind and did not adapt well to the new job duties. Hoping to find a facilities management software that was easy to use and could adapt to the emergent needs of their company, they set off to search for the perfect solution in a sea of software.

Englewood needed a program that was better suited to handle preventative maintenance schedules and work order requests. Since clients would be using the software, it was paramount that it would allow unlimited users and be easy to teach to clients of all skill levels. Management from afar was also a necessity. Englewood needed something that could keep them up to date whether they were in the office or out in the field. Fortunately for them, Facilities Management eXpress (FMX), a cloud-based facilities management application, had all of their requirements covered.

“I found a website that compared several different project management systems and I narrowed it down from 10 to three. We had those three come in for a demonstration, and FMX was the clear winner, hands down,” shares Corey Achino, project manager at Englewood.

Because FMX is cloud-based, Englewood is able to manage numerous locations remotely. Using a Web-based workflow management system allows staff to do their jobs easily and with greater control over their time. “It is a great system and very functional for facilities management,” says Achino, “All of our information for 25 locations is at the click of a button, from cost reporting to work history to blueprints for each store. We can access this information anywhere in the world, which is a huge help for us, given the nature of our business and the amount of time on the road.”

In less than three months, Englewood recovered the cost of Facilities Management eXpress. Just after one year of using FMX, they reported time savings of more than 50 percent, which allowed them to take on 30 percent more stores with no additional facility management staff.

Robust reporting features, a must for any facilities management software, allow Englewood to utilize the data tracked in FMX to give advice to clients and pinpoint areas of improvement. “This software also tracks when a request was put in, when it was answered, our response time, when the ticket was closed out and when it was invoiced,” comments Englewood’s Director of Operations, Chuck Taylor. “This is terrific data to help us evaluate the performance of our team, and advise clients like shopping center operations staff on the level of facility management service that is best for them.” Since implementing FMX, Englewood’s work order response time has dwindled to just four hours, which has increased client satisfaction and freed up time to dedicate to additional projects.

Not only were Englewood’s internal processes streamlined, they soon learned that having a reliable facilities management system in place was an effective selling point with clients. In a recent post on their blog titled, “More Reasons Why It Pays To Work With A Tech-Savvy Commercial Contractor,” Taylor writes, “The right technology choice impacts everyone involved in the project … our facilities management software is incredibly user-friendly. When clients like retail and restaurant managers enter our Facilities Management portal, it’s a one-touch step to put in a service request, whether it’s for emergency, scheduled or preventative construction maintenance.”

Clients also enjoy the transparency FMX provides. “The system tracks the maintenance work done at any given facility, which can be very insightful,” shares Taylor, “From the client standpoint, facility owners can track the number of service calls being made for a given property. A large number of calls may tell them they have a team member calling in maintenance for every little thing, or it could indicate the facility is in need of additional attention.”

Another advantage of Facilities Management eXpress is its ability to be customized to fit a business’s unique needs. “Adaptability is one of the most important things we look for in a software partner,” writes Taylor. “Right now, we’re working with software companies to integrate new commercial construction technologies, such as BIM and laser scanning, into our existing platforms. Our clients are looking for those services on their more sophisticated construction projects, and it’s up to us to evolve our systems and processes to meet those changing expectations.”

Facilities Management eXpress works with each customer one-on-one to learn how each’s business works and how FMX can provide them with the best value. They offer unlimited customer support and are constantly releasing software enhancements inspired by requests from their users. “Every business uses our software a little differently,” says FMX Founder, Brian Gregory. “Englewood needed FMX to handle their outsourcing, overseeing of processes and invoicing for third party repairs and maintenance. We were able to work with them, understand their workflow, and implement this into their personal FMX site.”

Facilities Management eXpress has been rapidly gaining traction in the facilities management software realm since 2012. Based in Columbus, Ohio, this cloud-based software enables facilities managers to more efficiently and effectively track work orders, schedule resources and plan maintenance. Centered around a calendar interface, users get instant visibility into requests, events and assets. Its user friendliness has made FMX a popular choice in industries with staff at all technology skill levels. Facilities Management eXpress services a variety of markets such as property management, industrial manufacturing, K-12 education, religious organizations, government organizations and fast casual restaurants. Their customers include national brands such as Nike, Taco Bell, AVON and Wendy’s.

With the thousands of software solutions out there, finding the right one can be a daunting task. What’s most important is that the software solution will be just that — a solution. It needs to be simple enough to motivate staff and clients to use it, not ignore it. Driven by increasing return on investment and client happiness, Englewood continues to use Facilities Management eXpress as a part of its everyday processes. As Taylor phrases it, “Just as each tool in a toolbox has a specific purpose, it’s important for contractors to find and use the software component that’s ‘best of breed’ for the task at hand. After all, you can beat a nail with a screwdriver, but you’re better off using a hammer.”

Riana Upton is the Assistant Marketing Director at Facilities Management eXpress.