Evolving the conversation from the basement to the boardroom; Modern facilities and asset management

Johannesburg, 06 Oct 2017
Read time 3min 00sec
Barry Diedericks, Softworx EAM Subject Matter Expert.
Barry Diedericks, Softworx EAM Subject Matter Expert.

In the facilities management (FM) industry, listening to the client plays a critical role in ensuring the delivery of a flexible solution. Understanding the client's requirements is the first step to tailoring an FM solution that meets their needs, while delivering measurable results and reliable monitoring and reporting. To achieve this, the right technology and software must be utilised, ensuring modern and agile service delivery.

When the Sunbird Facilities Management division was established in 2016, it required a 'greenfields' Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) solution. With no legacy system in place, Sunbird conducted research to find a software solution that would offer the flexibility and agility that Sunbird believed was severely lacking across the entire FM industry.

Rowland Gurnell, Sunbird.
Rowland Gurnell, Sunbird.

"The ability to deliver swift and tractable solutions was the greatest requirement for this EAM implementation," confirms Barry Diedericks, EAM Subject Matter Expert at Softworx, an Infor partner. "As such, developing a Computer-Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) system was essential to managing the complex requirements of Sunbird's diverse portfolio of clients in Southern and East Africa, across English, French and Portuguese-speaking countries."

As a tech-forward company, Sunbird constantly challenges the status quo with the question: is this the latest and greatest solution that can meet our and our client's requirements? According to Rowland Gurnell, Managing Director: Facilities Management at Sunbird, this includes finding solutions that can operate at the speed at which assets change, companies evolve and issues arise. "If we visit a client today and they require a view of their assets tomorrow, we can do it. We can manoeuvre as and when the client needs it. Despite the fact that each site is unique, we can take over a portfolio seamlessly, offering full call centre capabilities within a day, and subsequently build the rest of the details in."

Paul Jansen, Sunbird.
Paul Jansen, Sunbird.

The flexible EAM solution means the FM system can be enhanced to meet every client's unique requirements, from call-logging and building maintenance to full asset management. "We don't follow a one-size-fits-all approach with our clients," says Sunbird Commercial Director: Facilities Management, Paul Jansen. "With EAM Plus we set up Service Level Agreements (SLAs) specific to them. We tailor our FM solution to the needs of the client."

In a competitive FM environment, auditability and traceability are crucial to meeting client demands. Kobie Jooste, Systems Manager: Facilities Management at Sunbird confirms that the ability to interface with other intelligent infrastructure ensures comprehensive reporting and tracking, with automated functionality decreasing the risk of human error, and significantly decreasing the manual workload.

With mobile accessibility and EAM's multi-language, multi-currency capabilities, the business manages its client's sites in different countries, in real time, within the same system. Infor EAM also enables Sunbird to ring-fence contractors and suppliers to its clients, based on geographic regions, their knowledge of the client's needs, and service warranties. Service work orders are tracked and documented via the EAM Contractors' Portal, and SLAs measured in Infor EAM for full auditability.

"Facilities management used to be a janitorial function, but the focus and conversation has evolved from the basement to the boardroom. Companies need to know what and where their assets are. If you haven't captured it and you can't see it, you don't know what you have," concludes Gurnell. "Harnessing business asset profitably is now a strategic focus."


Softworx was founded in 1995 as Baan South Africa. In December 2000, it became a member of the EOH Group and in 2011 it was appointed as the only Infor Gold Channel Partner in Sub-Saharan Africa. Softworx was then appointed as Infor Master Partner in 2014, one of only a few worldwide.

The company focuses on providing the right solutions to its customers. It delivers enterprise applications, enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, and drives extended best of breed solutions including; supply chain planning, extended warehouse management, asset maintenance, product life cycle management, information management (BI, data warehousing and analytics), and enterprise performance management (financial planning, forecasting, budgeting, consolidation and governance).

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The Sunbird Group is a multi-disciplinary service provider, operating across East and Southern Africa. Its platform provides essential non-core services to businesses across the region. Its unique skill is to combine the services it provides into a tailored solution for you. It is committed to the region and its evolution as a major hub for business. Its expert team applies developed market knowledge to these emerging economies, combining its skills and corporate expertise with years of on the ground know-how. It believes in making business simple for its clients.

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