Property experts delivering services backed by next-gen technologies
RFM Group are property experts that consult, build, manage and maintain all types of property throughout the UK. Headquartered in Leeds with offices in London and Edinburgh, the business operates across the commercial, retail, educational, healthcare, and residential sectors – specialising in Fit-Out and FF&E (Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment), Facilities Management (FM), Building Repair and Mechanical and Electrical. The company’s recognised industry-leading experts deliver connected property services, backed by next-generation technologies that guarantee compliance, safety, on-time delivery, and effective cost-management across all projects.
Using legacy systems to record FM entries for growing customer base
FM is one of the priority business areas of the RFM Group. As the company’s customer base in FM grew exponentially, it became increasingly complicated to maintain a manual database with thousands of service entries. Keeping information up to date in spreadsheets and attempting to produce comprehensive reports from it for informed decision making proved to be a logistical nightmare. To drive efficiency and productivity within the FM department, and offer enhanced customer experience to its customers, RFM Group decided to migrate away from outdated systems and methods such as Excel spreadsheets to a comprehensive digital solution.
Deploying CAFM Explorer to better manage FM operations for customers
In 2016, RFM Group implemented Idox’s CAFM Explorer to streamline and efficiently administer FM operations for its diverse range of customers. CAFM Explorer is a reliable, all-in-one facilities management solution that helps streamline FM tasks. It empowers facilities managers with the tools to proactively monitor and manage all tasks related to maintenance, compliance, and safety across an estate.
By enabling complete visibility of all assets, costs, and risks, the CAFM system helps managers to pre-empt issues on-site, streamline and automate task allocation, simplify reporting, and deliver enhanced insight to help customers unlock significant productivity gains. According to Nik Ashworth, FM Director at RFM Group, “The systems that were previously in place within our FM department were inadequate and time-consuming for executing work orders, invoicing customers, or updating tasks. Whereas now, that can all be done by CAFM Explorer based on pre-set information and data. Moreover, we’ve got two helpdesk operatives and some back-office staff that help collect quotations, purchase orders, work orders, and other functions, so as the CAFM solution is laid out clearly and intuitively, this streamlines help desk processes and procedures for staff – which has proved very useful.”
RFM Group uses CAFM Explorer for primary delivery of FM services to its clients – from soft services, which include cleaning, security, landscaping, and waste management to hard FM services such as plumbing, lighting, mechanical, electrical, and more. Nik continues, “Almost all our clients operate their contracts on CAFM Explorer. While some choose to have their own portals, others prefer us to provide monthly dashboard reports relevant to their contracts to benchmark performance. The software has also proved to be a great way to identify gaps in contract data because it cannot generate dashboard reports without applying accurate and up-to-date data.”
RFM Group utilises several modules of the CAFM system including planned preventative maintenance (PPM), help desk, and asset register to manage facilities for its customers. “One of our clients offers services in the local community to vulnerable people, both young and old. They’ve got an estate of eight sites – all of which must meet regulatory compliance requirements, including DBS checks for engineers. The help desk module of the CAFM system has shown to be very effective for them, particularly as we have matched that to an out-of-hours facility to create a seamless function. Of late, they’ve also shown interest in our asset management module. So, we’ve started to incorporate the lifecycle condition of their equipment within our monthly PPM reports for each of the sites. We’re working with them to provide an accurate budgetary lifecycle costing that they need to consider within their budget for the year ahead. This includes replacement of boilers, chillers, and air handling units that are nearing the end of life and need timely maintenance but can be expensive,” Nik explains.
Improved customer satisfaction by offering customised FM solutions
CAFM Explorer helps RFM Group put together tailored dashboard reports for its clients with weekly and monthly updates to measure KPIs and SLAs – saving the company’s administrators a considerable amount of time. Nik says, “Being able to tailor the modules as per client requirements is what we consider one of the most valuable product benefits of the CAFM system. We like the way relevant modules are set out; customising the modules based on user needs helps us deploy the product as a bespoke solution to our clients.”
One of RFM Group’s customers that works within the Ministry of Defence had an asset management system in place already. But when the company introduced CAFM Explorer to them, they decided to scrap the old system and install the CAFM software because they believed the product could deliver what they wanted. “CAFM Explorer helped our client integrate dashboard reports and all other data into the portal – which they couldn’t get from their existing software. Post implementation, they started to migrate more services into the CAFM solution.” Now, along with air conditioning and radar installations, RFM Group also oversees the client’s generators, electrical testing, fire alarms, smoke alarms, etc. which are business-critical statutory requirements.
The company heavily relies on the PPM module of the CAFM system which coordinates maintenance alerts, auto-assigns tasks based on insights, generates work schedules, and tracks activity against SLAs. “The PPM module enables us to generate quotations from base information held on the system, facilitates the renewal of annual purchase order with specialist contractors, and helps us formalise the annual review of each contract against specific KPIs and SLAs”, Nik adds.
Talking about the working relationship with Idox, Nik says, “Part of our ISO requirements as a business is to make sure people are performance-managed and adequately trained for the role that they carry out. With Idox, we’ve had regular training sessions for our staff over the years – including two new members who were trained in October 2021.” Training and development go a long way in keeping employees up to date with new technology updates and evolving FM needs – helping organisations accomplish tasks efficiently and in the most productive way in a fast paced and ever-changing business landscape.
Commenting on the rapidly evolving world around us, Nik reveals that the RFM Group’s supply chain was affected by the COVID situation. “A lot of good contractors that we worked closely with have unfortunately ceased trading – causing resilience issues in our supply chain. But having the CAFM system helped us manage the supply chain more effectively, per site – allowing us to tailor services according to the business demands of each site and each client.”
Now, as the world slowly recovers from the post-pandemic period and properties start to be fully utilised again, RFM Group is considering migrating CAFM Explorer to the cloud environment. “Looking at business projections for the next year, we see some solid growth opportunities and I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to take the platform to the cloud, tweak and enhance our offerings and deliver better FM services to our clients,” Nik concludes.