-Lane Ledohowski, VP Construction and Facilities Manager
Canad Inns, the largest hospitality chain in Manitoba, operates 11 destination centers across the province and one located in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Serving over 9 million visitors each year, these centers act as entertainment hubs for their respective communities. Each center features hotel accommodations, banquet services and conference rooms, while most also have popular bars and nightclubs. By partnering with public sector entities, Canad Inns is able to expand their operations to include restaurants, the Regent Casino in Winnipeg and several prominent convention/ entertainment centers in Brandon and Grand Forks. Three maintenance departments work together to cover their large-scale operations; Entertainment Technologies, Painting and Corporate Maintenance. Coordinating these services over multiple facilities is a demanding and vast process, requiring quick response times and a highly skilled staff. This demand speaks to the importance of a reliable and robust maintenance system to ensure quality control over their operations.
Before implementing a CMMS, Canad Inns had several maintenance challenges to overcome. Lane Ledohowski, VP of Construction and Facilities Manager for the organization, spoke of their Hippo experience. “Records and work orders were hard copy only.” Lane explained, “Tracking and maintaining order over work requests was virtually impossible. It was an archaic system.” The lack of an electronic system made their processes more complicated, both in terms of tracking work orders and in reporting timely and accurate data. Upper management knew that determining equipment repair costs, tracking labor expenditures, and monitoring workflow were crucial operations required by any CMMS that they chose. Their large and varied maintenance team also added an extra layer of complexity, as the system needed to respond to various users with specific user permissions.
Although Canad Inns experienced maintenance challenges prior to using a CMMS, implementation of such a system wasn’t in motion until a Hippo rep reached out to them directly. Hippo’s timing couldn’t have been better as some initial steps had already been taken by the organization to determine their CMMS needs. “We looked into some other systems but never got past the demo because they were too complex to corporately manage. Based on the research, we determined that Hippo was the best choice to go with.” Lane explained. Canad Inns decided that the scale they now operated on needed a centralized maintenance system and with an affordable and simple option presented to them the timing was right make their maintenance move.
The data integration process was slow and steady as Hippo and Canad Inns worked together to import each facility’s equipment, asset and user lists. Development of the Hippo Mobile App was underway, but not yet launched to clients, making closing out work orders in the field more challenging for maintenance techs. “As in any new system that is brought into an environment, there will be push back. The largest challenge was the ability to close out work orders on the go.” said Lane. Both organizations were able to grow together, with Hippo increasing in size, scope and functionality while being able respond to Canad Inns’ needs as they arose. “At the beginning there was only so much time and help available, now if there are any questions about the system, everyone at Hippo is really great to work with and takes care of challenges quickly.”
With initial growing pains out of the way and a fully functioning CMMS in place, Canad Inns realized efficiencies in the maintenance department that it never had in the past. The results were impressive and highly beneficial. With a more transparent system, all departments and higher ups are able to understand the scope of the organization and the various complexities that it holds. Lane went on to explain, “When we started to streamline a work order system it was very good at providing us with an archive that was transferable to different people hopping onto the system.” Hippo’s reporting feature also provided transparency for the organization. “The labor reports to figure out where people were at was remarkable. Tracking has given us the ability to understand what’s happening on the property level. Determining repair costs on specific pieces of equipment gave us a better handle on when it was an appropriate time to replace equipment.”
Although field mobility was an issue when Hippo first came on board, the team worked diligently to get the Hippo Mobile App up and running quickly. Today, Canad Inns has benefited greatly from the app, basing their entire maintenance structure on the ability to perform status updates to work orders on the go. “We have implemented a corporate maintenance team and are utilizing Hippo a little differently with an onsite and corporate team. (The) onsite Hippo team is for submitting and tracking work orders. It makes sure we have coverage across facilities.” Lane explained. The onsite team contains their Entertainment Technologies and Painting divisions while their Corporate Maintenance team acts as the hub of the operation. Comparing maintenance activities and benchmarking processes between each facility has allowed Canad Inns to maintain quality control across all buildings. “It can be challenging to be in all 15 facilities, so having the ability to compare against each other is fantastic.”
Adding to the long list of benefits provided by Hippo, Lane was adamant that the Hippo Advanced Dash has allowed the system to be accessible to a variety of stakeholders in the organization, from maintenance techs to managers. “Any ability to transfer info to folks that allows them to understand the building better, is a benefit. Being able to plot equipment on various places in the hotel makes things more efficient. It’s no longer a matter of running around and looking for it. You know where everything is.”
When asked what advice Lane would give to an organization looking for a CMMS, he responded, “Utilize the hotel maintenance management software that will work for you, that is user friendly and that can be understood by a variety of people from a variety of cultures.” These simple words are ones that Hippo continues to base its product development and intuitive interface design. By continuously striving for rich features and keeping the client in mind, Hippo has proudly served this hospitality giant for the past four years and hopes that the next four will see even more growth and innovation as the last.