For the last three years, NELSON — a global design, architecture and space management firm — has provided architectural and design services to Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, a Massachusetts-based drug manufacturing company.
Ironwood was growing, so it needed clear insight into available square footage and proper space utilization.
Therefore, about a year ago, Catherine Harnist, Project Manager at NELSON, asked the facilities director at Ironwood how the company was managing occupancy and space use.
The Old Space Management Process
Harnist learned Ironwood tracked occupancy and space utilization manually with hard copies of floorplans. After reviewing Ironwood’s objectives, she recommended the pharmaceutical company collaborate with NELSON to optimize their practices.
Digging deeper, Harnist realized the full extent of Ironwood’s space management challenges:
- All floorplans were saved as PDFs which were printed and distributed to the facilities team. Any changes were written directly on the paper, so team members couldn’t be confident they had the latest version of the floorplan.
- When an employee was off-boarded, there was no way to automatically mark their workspace as vacant in the HR database, so it would still appear on the floorplan as occupied.
- The facilities team couldn’t accurately determine space utilization or occupancy without visiting the space in person.
After seeing the tedious and labor-intensive procedures Ironwood underwent each time there was a small change to the workspace, Harnist suggested Ironwood invest in the iOFFICE integrated workplace management system (IWMS).
Ironwood’s facilities director appreciated the simplicity of the iOFFICE solution and the ability to enter data from the PDF floorplans into an easily accessible cloud database. And because the IWMS is SaaS, it was easy to implement and navigate.
One of the biggest challenges the Ironwood facilities team faced was getting buy-in from other departments. In pharmaceutical companies, the focus is not on HR but rather quickly and efficiently generating products. As a result, it was difficult to get support for implementation.
But once the IWMS was functioning and other departments could see accurate, up-to-date, real-time data, they recognized how HR efficiency and proper space utilization impacted the bottom line and operations as a whole. Additionally, other business groups are beginning to use the IWMS for their data needs.
Before implementing iOFFICE’s IWMS, Ironwood struggled with the accuracy of its data. All information was entered into the database manually, increasing the risk of human error. Without accurate data, Ironwood couldn’t make confident decisions about how to better utilize their space. For example, the finance department is now generating reports via the IWMS instead of creating them manually.
Following implementation of the IWMS, Brian Cooperman, Strategic Manager of Information Services at NELSON, worked with Ironwood’s IT team and the iOFFICE team to configure a handshake single sign-on (SSO) between Ironwood and iOFFICE. Together, Ironwood, NELSON and iOFFICE established an SSO that integrated with Ironwood’s existing authentication system.
Any Ironwood employee with access to the company’s network could now quickly access the IWMS to get the data they needed. Employees no longer had to waste time trying to find a facilities team member to get floorplans.
Ironwood’s Future with iOFFICE
In the future, Ironwood plans to leverage the full feature set of the Move Management module — particularly the centralized request queue and online move request capability. Ironwood also plans to set up a data feed that will automatically update the information in the IWMS.
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