Kicking a goal: upgrading the MCG
In a state of almost constant renewal since it was built in the 19th century, the MCG needed a decidedly 21st century software upgrade for its FM functions.
To legions of sports fans, it’s simply known as the ‘G’. The mighty Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is not only the largest cricket stadium in the world, but also the largest sporting stadium in the southern hemisphere.
With a capacity of just over 100,000 spectators and action lit by the tallest light towers of any sporting venue, it contains
over 195,000 square metres of buildings. There are approximately 100 full-time and 1000 casual event employees and over 100 executive suites. It’s estimated that more than 3.5 million people visit the ‘G’ every year.
The original MCG was built in 1853 and it has been in a state of almost constant renewal throughout its history. And what a glorious history – it has hosted a summer Olympic Games and a Commonwealth Games. It’s home to the AFL (Australian Football League) grand final and innumerable other sporting fixtures.
But it’s not just about sport. The MCG has hosted papal and royal visits and housed US marines, the US Airforce and the Royal Australian Air Force during World War II. It has also held open days, charity events and dinners, and been a concert venue for international icons such as Michael Jackson, Madonna and the Rolling Stones.
As the MCG has grown and developed, its systems have needed to keep pace. With a requirement to replace an outmoded application, the MCG researched the market for some considerable months, before identifying a solution that was the best fit for its needs.
Greg Wiggill, the enterprise applications and technology support manager at the MCG, says there was a need to get a solution that could be used “straight out of the box”.
“We wanted something that we didn’t need to customise, but still gave us the functionality that we needed, yet with the flexibility to adapt to our future requirements.”
The ultimate goal for the MCG team was a single application that could handle the full life cycle of service calls to reduce breakdowns and service costs, while minimising wait times and optimising service operation and performance.
Having selected and implemented the new software, the MCG began migrating large volumes of data from the old system. Data held in the previous MMS (Maintenance Management System) included historic works maintenance orders and the details of over 8000 assets. These are used to plan and manage the venue’s 10-year asset replacement strategy, enabling it to accurately forecast its asset replacement funding requirements. Migration was completed over the course of a weekend and the new software was fully functional and ready to go for the Monday morning.
The MCG was keen for the new FM software to be deeply embedded within the organisation, integrated with its purchase order system, iPOS, and its financial system, Sun Financials. The FM software provider completed the integration work enabling a complete record of all the costs around each event to be accessible through it. As a result of the integration, data now only needs to be entered once, reducing duplication and error, saving time and increasing financial control and transparency.
MEETING THE CHALLENGES OF A DIVERSE VENUE
One of the main challenges for the MCG was the contrast in workload between the hundreds of event days held throughout the year and non-event days.
During event days, between 50 and 100 work requests can be logged from over 200 operatives including MCG staff and external contractors, compared to around 20 requests on a non-event day. This is now managed within the new FM software system, QFM from Service Works Global, which enables the calls to be managed by the in-house team on non-event days and by a specialist third party service desk on busy event days.
In addition to streamlining work requests, the rate of first time fixes has also been improved. The software manages resources, so jobs can be allocated to operatives with the required skillset, and by using GPS (global positioning system) tracking the service desk can see who is geographically closest in order to reduce travel times. Operatives can access real-time information about the job via a mobile app, allowing the work to be completed more efficiently and with fewer return visits.
“We have the technology and we want to use it to maximum effect in order to optimise our service delivery and visitor experience,” says Wiggill.
The venue has also changed the way it manages lost property. Previously lost property records were kept in a handwritten book, or on a loose piece of paper. Now visitors who report lost property are recorded on the system, as are the items that have been found.
To cope with the sheer volume of items, they are categorised as green (one month old), orange (two months old) and red (three months or more, meaning that the items are ready for disposal). Each member of the events team receives a daily automated report to allow the lost property to be efficiently organised. After just a few weeks of implementing this functionality, 400 pieces of lost property were returned to 152 owners.
Incidents are reported directly through the new FM software, using an intuitive pictorial interface. They are then linked to a specific event for effective reporting. The software handles everything from recording the incident, cause and type of injury and conditions pertaining at the time, through to witness statements.
In the event that an asset was involved in the incident, this information is stored against the asset, so that follow-up action can be taken. Safety officers are immediately notified by the system that an incident has occurred so they can attend the scene, and appropriate staff are notified of any remedial work needed. The reports are displayed as a dashboard, which allows the MCG easy access to information for trend analysis.
Looking forward, the MCG plans to continue enhancing the ground’s management through (BMS) building management system integration, which will see the venue move away from preventative maintenance to a predictive maintenance model, which will be more suited to the venue’s stop/start nature.
This article also appears in the December/January issue of Facility Management magazine.
Images courtesy MCG.