TRS was established in 1980 as an industrial refrigeration engineering company providing an installation and reactive service to a diverse client base. Working in environments such as hospitals, pharmaceutical and manufacturing gave the business a flexible and adaptive skill set. A changing economic climate and the erosion of the traditional client base prompted the management team to investigate the feasibility of expanding into different markets and expanding the skill base within the business.

TRS provides a comprehensive range of client services, from tailored planned maintenance solutions to construction and electrical installations. The securing of maintenance contracts with key clients is at the heart of its growth strategy.

Throughout 2008, the company looked at how its infrastructure could be developed to support this strategy more effectively, and decided to invest in an up-to-the-minute CAFM software package that would underpin its growth plans and answer the increasingly exacting challenges of the bidding process for major maintenance contracts.

“Our primary aim was to secure important new agreements and we quickly identified that a good CAFM package should be a central part of our bids,” explains operational director John Kilgannon. “It would enable us to present a bid that was forward-thinking as well as helping us to migrate smaller customers up to our growing range of maintenance services.”

Initially, TRS considered Concept™ SQL Lite, FSI’s entry-level CAFM package. But while early discussions took place, FSI was also preparing to launch Concept Evolution™, its next-generation fully web-enabled platform.

With a standard web browser interface, Concept Evolution™ has been designed to give a single, holistic view of maintenance and facilities management activity across the organisation. Its centralised approach to data and process management means that critical operational data can be made available to any authorised user, wherever they are in the location. As John explains, it became clear Concept Evolution™ would meet the specific needs of the business.

“I’d previously worked with a major facilities provider, so I already knew the Concept™ platform pretty well,” he says. “We needed a package that would respond well to our bespoke research and development requirements and when we saw Concept Evolution™ in action in October 2008, we quickly agreed to be one of its early adopters.”

“The challenges we faced in implementing Concept Evolution™ were the same as for any business installing a CAFM platform,” says John. “We wanted to be able to track activity on a piece of kit and report on it in a timely manner. Some of our internal users have been wary to begin with - they can see the benefits of the whole idea, but some of the nuts and bolts are less clear. Our help desk has maintained close dialogue with FSI, and that’s a key part of the R&D process. We went into the implementation with our eyes wide open and it’s been a positive learning process for all of us.”

As John explains, TRS is currently using Concept Evolution™ to manage the maintenance contracts for just a handful of key clients in the business. “We’re not yet using it to its full capability,” he says. “When we installed the system in February 2009, we decided to keep it isolated on one PC. The company moved to new premises in January 2010 and Concept Evolution™ formed part of an upgrade to the company hard and software capability. We have added to the capability with remote hosting as part of our disaster recovery planning for the business.”

TRS is using the PPM module for asset maintenance, as well as the help desk module. John says that in the near future, having secured a number of reasonably valuable projects, the company is also likely to consider investing in the project-planning module.

“Like most projects of this kind, you have happy days to start with, followed by some struggles!” he continues. “The main thing is that the system is now helping our organisation to understand how clients run their business, and that knowledge is coming through now.”

The Benefits
One of the major benefits for TRS has been the visibility that Concept Evolution™ delivers, often allowing the company to provide clients with a better understanding of their own plant and estates.

“We’re talking with one major client about back-to-back loading assets and that is difficult because often they don’t know what their own assets are!” says John. “We need to show them what they’ve got, and Concept Evolution™ will help us do this. It’s allowing us to go back to clients, often with some surprising information about what they’ve got, and that gives us greater visibility as their maintenance service provider.

“Concept Evolution™ has already helped to raise our profile with our clients,” he adds. “As a maintenance business, we are still small and growing, and we have to be seen to be providing a certain level of service - and at the same time demonstrate how we are operating our business.”

As TRS prepares to roll Concept Evolution™ out across its network, John says the company will continue to work closely with FSI to tailor the system to meet its clients’ evolving needs. “We’re compiling an issues log,” he says. “This isn’t necessarily things that are wrong with the system, and it certainly isn’t added to every day - it’s more the result of dialogues we have with our client about what they are looking for from us. They will ask if we can do something, and we take that back to FSI.”

Apart from client relationship benefits, John says the new system is also helping TRS to boost productivity, speeding up service response times and helping the company to control costs.

“We need to factor our investment in the system into the business as we move to our new premises, and that will be when we achieve payback,” he says. “That will be more than achievable. Now that we have Concept Evolution™ in place as our CAFM platform, we’ve got to move it on and realise the financial benefit. There’s more work to be done, but it’s already giving us a good pipeline into the market.”