A team of half a dozen employees is responsible for all landscaping as well as the maintenance of the island’s vehicles, irrigation and other equipment. Since the eco-friendly island includes nearly 180 acres, traveling from job to job took a great deal of time.
“Before UpKeep, I’d have to visit each location on the island by golf cart or using other equipment,” said Gil South, landscape manager on Governors Island. “The island is pretty big, so it could take me 10 minutes to get from one side to the other.” The distance was contributing to wasted time in simply communicating with the staff. They needed to find a better way.
Governors Island started looking for an easy-to-use system with a friendly, mobile interface that could not only improve communication but also help the team organize and track critical cost and labor data. After using the free version of UpKeep for a few months, Governors Island implemented this computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). Because the maintenance crew was always moving at a fast pace, it was critical that the selected application was intuitive and easy to use, even for team members that were not particularly technology savvy.
After the first year of usage, the team has realized significant time savings and has greater insight into how its resources are being spent, which has helped prioritize work and future planning. It has also helped the team communicate with the management of Governors Island in terms of the amount of labor it takes to care for different areas of the property.
By tracking the time of all the team members, Governors Island could see how time was being spent throughout the day and within each of its maintenance and landscaping categories very easily.
“Before I was doing that by hand,” Gil said. “It was very time-consuming on my part and took me away from my other duties. I needed to log everything in a spreadsheet from paper time reports.” UpKeep allowed streamlining and automating this task, which freed Gil up to focus on higher priorities during his day.
This information was important because it helped the supervisors see if the team was stretched too thin, could take on additional duties, or required additional staff. “It helped start the conversation on how much manpower we really needed,” Gil said. “I can easily show that we need more labor in these particular areas now. UpKeep helps me justify these requests. This will become even more important as we grow.”
Prior to UpKeep, Gil would physically visit different stations on the island to review the day’s work plan. It was time-consuming and inefficient.
“Now, I can send a crew out and use the platform itself to explain work,” Gil said. “They can take it away from there. In addition, they can send me pictures and updates on UpKeep so it’s consolidated our communication.”
Each morning, the staff knows what their daily tasks look like from the beginning, which allows them to collect all the tools and supplies needed for the day. “They know what they are getting into for the day,” Gil said. “If they can bring the right tools the first time, they won’t have to waste time coming back for something like a shovel or more string for the weed whacker. They can see they will be string trimming for four hours so they’ll grab enough string and fuel for the whole time.”
These little efficiencies added up quickly. In the beginning, the total amount of time actually working on jobs was about four hours of an eight-hour work day. That number has already jumped to five or six hours per day.
“We already lose some time taking the ferry back and forth to the island, getting organized, and providing lunch and breaks,” Gil said. “Reducing that wasted travel time and gaining an hour or two a day is pretty substantial for us.”
Throughout the day, the maintenance crew can be interrupted with various emergency requests or even other projects that are not directly related to their typical responsibilities. UpKeep has allowed the team to show the time and labor costs of these interruptions and other projects.
“We get pulled off a lot of things, so now we can track those interruptions,” Gil explained. “If one of our guys is out on the mower, and we have an emergency that requires a forklift right away, we can show the cost of that for our team.”
The team also can get sidetracked with projects that may seem like small jobs, but end up costing a great deal of labor. “We used to do a lot of fence on the island,” Gil said. “With UpKeep, we were able to show that we were installing fences about 20% of our time, which isn’t part of our primary job responsibilities.”
A third example involved an area on the island that was under construction for about a year, which meant the mowing crews could not address growth for a long period of time. “The amount of time that we logged trying to get that space back to normal was just monumental,” Gil said. “It far exceeded what I would have thought it would have taken, but UpKeep showed that we had guys there every day for the last three months. It shows how much work there is to do and helps the bosses understand what’s required for any particular task.”
Although it wasn’t an obvious need at the beginning, UpKeep has helped Governors Island better track the equipment and vehicles used on the island. “I guess a hidden benefit was being able to check vehicles in and out easily,” South said. “A lot of our assets are moving around the island.”
Governors Island has started barcoding its assets so that they can be scanned quickly, easily and accurately. As a result, they can always see the asset location and the team member that has checked it out through UpWork.
“We also do a lot of maintenance on equipment like our mowers so it’s easy for me just to scan it without looking up the serial number,” South said.
One of the biggest things that the team at Governors Island appreciates about UpWork is the ability to show and share a job well done.
“We love getting through the week and making the island look presentable for the public,” Gil said. “UpKeep helps us manage our routine and track everything so we know exactly what has gotten done. It just feels really good to close out a five-hour job or even a 20-hour, multi-day job, and know that all the important information is logged. We know it’s all in UpKeep and ready for the next time you need to use, service or maintain that piece of equipment.”