How Mobile apps make emergency and fire certifications work seamlessly at Westfield

Delivering Technicians with Enterprise Mobility reduced reporting and repairing of emergency assets times by 83% and delivered Westfield with greater insights into their assets.

Overview

Westfield operate Australia’s premier retail shopping centres. These centres are frequented by thousands of people every single day. Their safety is of paramount importance to Westfield. Government regulated building standards are policed and strictly adhered to, ensuring safe buildings for occupants.

Westfield are required by law to ensure fire and emergency exit assets are regularly maintained and functioning in the case of an emergency. In the case of an injury or death at their centres, Westfield will be required by a Coroner to prove all measures were taken to ensure these assets were in working condition at the time of the incident.

Working with their contractors and third-parties such as electrical maintenance companies - Technicians inspect and report on the status of each emergency lighting asset within a Shopping Centre, located both in common public areas and in tenant occupied areas of the premises. This is a Government requirement and certifications are required every 6 months to ensure compliance to the regulations.

Challenge

These inspections are labour intensive and require technicians to visually inspect and report on the status of each asset. Assets are items such as Emergency Exit Signs, Emergency LED lights and florescent lights found in car parks.

The results of these inspections are recorded on hardcopy by on-site technicians. With over 50,000 assets in Westfields Centres alone, inspections generally take a number of days to complete a single inspection report. Current internal systems used by Westfield Contractors are labour intensive and heavily revolve around modifications and macros created in Microsoft Excel. Reporting involves manually transferring the hard copy data provided by the technician to these templates. Standard reporting preparation times are as long as 8 – 12 hours per report.

These reports are forwarded to Shopping Centres and include itemised costs for repairs, identification of failed assets and the certifier’s comments. The nature of the Retail business demands the customer experience is constantly evolving. In a typical year, many Shopping Centre organisations such as Westfield will undertake major renovations across many centres. This creates the ongoing need to continually maintain and update the database of assets as assets will be demolished and installed in bulk. A system, which would allow an on-site technician to correctly update the database in one place and across the board of the system, was required. Reports generated from the Microsoft Excel desktop application created restrictions in terms of what the client was provided. Giving Westfield insight into trends and patterns – including what portion of repair costs were approved by Shopping Centre Managers, or a visual tool to identify patterns in failures for certain manufacturer products (eg. Exit Light Signs) was also extremely difficult to uncover within the Microsoft Excel reports. Clients demand and expect visibility to comprehensive information today. Many organisations are now realizing insights and reporting capabilities are crucial for client retention and the customer experience.

Solution

Arcade dev house worked closely with Westfield and their Contractors to digitally transform how Emergency Lighting Inspections and Reporting are conducted. Automation was the key technology driving this transformation with the specific requirement to reduce costs, improve efficiency and ensure data integrity and accuracy. Arcade dev house developed a solution which included a cloud-based interface for Contractor Managers to review historical reporting, administer clients and manage inspections across their team. Implementing a Mobile solution which was deployed to Android and iOS allowed contractor field technicians to quickly report on each asset status as they walk through the Centres. This would be instantly available back at head-office in real-time.

Automating the creation of reports delivered significant benefits in time saving across both organisations. Turnaround times dropped by 83%, and reporting time was reduced from 8-12 hours to 1-2 hours.

The customer experience was also transformed, giving Westfield access to this application from anywhere on any device, Centre Management and Westfield Management now had access to a business tool which allowed them visibility to historical reporting of assets, and exporting functionality gave them the ability to undertake further analysis and make strategic decisions. Management are now able to run reports and determine how many assets of a particular manufacturer and model are marked as “failed” across their entire portfolio of Shopping Centres, and can negotiate cheaper procurement costs based on their “newfound” larger buying power.