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Responding to the diversity and different models within the FM Sector

Since its inception over a decade ago, Ostara Systems has pursued the ideology of creating an FM system who’s underlying strength is its flexibility. Ostara now boasts a wide-ranging portfolio of clients, from Hawthorn Leisure Ltd, a growing pub chain, and Whitbread in the hospitality sector, to Santander and Yorkshire Building Society in the banking sector and Primark and Lloyds Pharmacy within the retail sector. This article explains the challenges that were faced in each sector, and how Ostara’s CAFM software evolved to meet those challenges.

Turning first to hospitality, one of the greatest challenges facing companies is financial control. Due to the highly competitive nature of the industry, clients in the hospitality business find themselves in need of far stricter financial controls than their colleagues in other sectors. Taking Hawthorn Leisure as an example, a year into the partnership Hawthorn elected to bring its maintenance management in-house, having previously used an outsourced agent. The Ostara CAFM software enabled Hawthorn to move their maintenance processes to a fully electronic and more automated platform, eliminating the need for paper filing as invoices are submitted and verified electronically. The availability of the Ostara Mobile App, with its offline functionality, meant that the client was only charged for exactly the amount of time that a contractor was on site. Coupled with Ostara’s ability to set bespoke authorisation rules, Hawthorn have been able to maintain a close control of their maintenance spend. Following sustained growth and profitability, Hawthorn Leisure was purchased by NewRiver REIT plc, bringing the total number of pubs to approximately 600.

In terms of the banking sector, Santander have provided Ostara with a number of interesting challenges. To allow Ostara to work with Santander and others within the financial sector, it first needed to become FSQS certified. This certification requires compliance with a multitude of stringent safety and financial requirements. While entering into a five-year partnership with Ostara, Santander also reviewed its single source contractor model, to allow them the benefits of single source, as well as the control and the benefits the Ostara CAFM system could provide. These key benefits were: independence, transparency, cost control and asset management. Ostara established a dedicated helpdesk to coordinate all workplace services and maintenance activities across the Santander estate, which included retail, data centres and head office buildings. The system facilitates Santander’s monitoring of their comprehensive contract, with its elements of volume, cost limit, inclusions and exclusions. Working alongside Santander and their contractor, ISS, Ostara have been able to provide visibility and a platform for them to evolve to a full asset management solution.

In the retail sector, Primark has partnered with Ostara to create a system and processes that will allow them to control maintenance activities across 12 different countries. Beginning with stores in the UK, the system was rolled out initially to only manage maintenance, but is now used by other departments such as security and visual merchandising to facilitate their activities. Primark have been keen to continue to roll out the Ostara System to further stores throughout Europe and the USA, where the system now works in 12 different countries, in 9 different languages with multiple currencies and multiple time zones. In addition to the geographic diversity, the software also allows Primark to manage their varying models by country, which includes single source and multiple trade specific sub- contractor models.

A requirement across all sectors is asset management and legislative compliance, and Ostara have developed a system which automates this complex process. Ostara’s CAFM solution allows a client to upload its entire asset database into the system, or to asset tag their estate asset by asset by using the Ostara Mobile App. The level of detail captured in Ostara provides data on asset performance, and the ability to predict future replacement based on age, spend and condition. The asset management and compliance solution offered by Ostara was key to Whitbread Plc choosing Ostara as its CAFM provider. Whitbread are now able to move to a full asset management process to assist in the management of their warranty and compliance, in addition to the ability to make repair or replace decisions in real time. They were able to asset tag a significant quantity of assets, using existing sub-contractor resources, who used the Ostara Mobile App whilst already on site performing planned maintenance. Legislative compliance driven at both asset and building level is fully managed within the Ostara system, as certificates are uploaded into the system and dates for future visits are automatically calculated. The level of compliance can be seen at all times via Ostara’s powerful reporting tools.

The experiences of Ostara can be seen as an example of the challenges faced by CAFM providers in today’s economy. The ever-growing importance of financial control and the flexibility needed to keep up with the diverse demands of today’s market, the growing globalisation of corporations, asset management and legal compliance must all be integrated and be at the forefront of CAFM software if providers wish to continue to be relevant within the industry.

For more information visit www.ostarasystems.com, email info@ostarasystems.com or call 0844 880 2582.


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