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The North-West University (NWU) is a multi-campus university with a footprint across two provinces in South Africa. The Mahikeng and Potchefstroom Campuses are situated in the North-West Province and the Vanderbijlpark Campus is in Gauteng. The head offices of the university are located on the Potchefstroom campus. The university has close to 65 000 students across three campuses which include over 1000 buildings, 40 000 spaces and more than 1000 reservable venues.

The Challenge

As part of the Facilities Strategic Optimisation Project (FSOP), the NWU had a clear objective of creating and improving the governance, delivery model, processes, and procedures associated with the Facilities functional area, taking into account the DHET 17 Elements of the Macro Infrastructure Framework (MIF) in order to deliver a service in support of the NWU’s business and digital strategies.

The Solution

The NWU realised a clear need for an Integrated Workplace Management Solution (IWMS) tool which would assist in achieving the above objective.

After thorough Request for Information (RFI) and Request for Proposal (RFP) phases, Cohesive was identified as the vendor of choice due to their vast experience in providing market-leading solutions within the Facilities & Asset Management industry, their deep understanding of the university’s requirements within the higher-education sector, and their vast experience in implementing the Planon IWMS solution which satisfied 12 of the 17 DHET Elements of the MIF by itself. This decision was supported by Cohesive’s unique ability to leverage international experience whilst ensuring local delivery.

The IWMS functional scope for NWU included Asset and Maintenance Management, Space and Workplace Services Management (specifically the Reservation Management), Capital Project Management and Contract Management.

The Results

The end result of this project is a first for the Higher Educational Sector.

The system provides a platform (desktop and mobile) for the university staff to create service requests for any facility related issue that requires attention by the Facilities Management department. The service request is automatically routed to the correct responsible party based on the information provided in the service request. The work order process enables the allocation of technical resources to attend to the problem and the requestor can monitor at any time the progress on the work. The system provides the ability to manage Planned Maintenance more effectively based on the predefined maintenance schedules.

Maintenance backlogs are visible and can be acted on in a more effective manner.

The integration to the financial system enables the cost tracking of maintenance work performed which provides extensive visibility for cost control and future budgeting.

This aspect of the project is known to be a world-first for Planon given the large amount of data involved to proactively reserve venues (approx. 50 000 Reservation Orders). The combination of Reservation and Space Management provides source data for HEMIS reporting.

One of the major success factors of the project was that emphasis was placed on change management where functional area experts and change champions from the user base were used to promote the system at NWU. This was supported by a well formulated training strategy. This exercise proved incredibly effective as the number of user uncertainties were identified and address ahead of the Go-Live date which was an eye-opening result for Cohesive who witnessed the importance of effective Change Management on a large-scale project.

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