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SMS Assist: Cloud-Based Platform Outsources FM Services for Multisite Properties
Chicago — May 19, 2016 — SMS Assist has come up with a cloud-based approach to facility management outsourcing that it says reduces work-ticket costs, improves response time and service quality, and provides both facility managers and service providers with access to big-data analytics.
Unlike many large outsourcing firms, SMS Assist focuses on smaller properties that are spread out geographically. Rather than hire staff to perform work in the 45 facility services that it provides, the company relies on its Affiliate Network of more than 20,000 subcontractors to handle everything from HVAC service to grounds care. And unlike pure aggregators, it offers a proprietary, cloud-based technology platform that facility managers use to issue work tickets, track work status, and grade completed work, among other things, and that service providers use for everything from tracking employee performance to getting paid for jobs.
The company operates in all 48 states and in every zip code, says Matt Renner, chief revenue officer. The company currently has more than 75 clients with a total of more than 120,000 locations.
To create a work ticket, a customer logs into a Web-based portal or calls the SMS call center. A series of customized question determine if work really needs to be done; if so, a customer-defined workflow advances the work ticket, taking into account factors like levels of approval and number of bidders required. On the job site, a technician for a service affiliate takes a picture of the work to be done, gets an OK to proceed, and then takes another picture after the job is finished. Those pictures are reviewed by SMS subject matter experts to determine if the work was done correctly.
Renner says the SMS model drives cost out of the system because of the density of customers it has within individual zip codes. Using the SMS technology platform, Renner says, gives service affiliates more customers in a concentrated area, reducing drive time for staff and increasing revenue. As a result, the service affiliates are willing to charge less per job.
What’s more, the affiliates are paid 15 days after the picture of the finished job is submitted, so the service providers don’t have to invoice individual customers or worry about when they’ll get paid.
Another benefit for facility managers, Renner says, is access to big data analytics. He cites one customer — a national quick-serve restaurant chain — that wanted data to help develop a capital budget for HVAC equipment. SMS Assist provided such information as which units were the oldest, which were out of warranty, which had had the most money spent on them, and which had and hadn’t received preventive maintenance.
For more information on SMS Assist, go to www.smsassist.com.