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Corralling Inventory, Work Orders and Directories at ABB



WEBSITE www.abb.com

INDUSTRY Automation/Digital Technologies

SQ. FT. 402,000

HEADQUARTERS Zurich, Switzerland

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ABB's Goal


With such a large, global operation, ABB needed to be able to track occupancy levels and inventory needs without relying on guesswork.

ABB Testimonials

With iOFFICE, everything is standardized, transparent and uniform."

The Problem


With no employee directory or clear system for tracking inventory needs and occupancy levels, a facilities manager in Houston knew something needed to change.

The Action


ABB chose the iOFFICE IWMS because it could solve all five of the key challenges the company was facing.



Streamlined services and better information has helped save ABB time and money.

The Future


Houston-based Facilities Manager Luis Prado hopes other ABB office locations will embrace iOFFICE.

iOFFICE IWMS Helps ABB Standardize and Simplify

ABB is a Switzerland-based global corporation with a history spanning more than 120 years. Its success has been driven particularly by a strong focus on research and development. The company maintains seven corporate research centers around the globe, and the resulting R&D investment has yielded significant returns on their record of innovation. Many of today’s most critical technologies were developed or commercialized by ABB. ABB is the world’s largest supplier of industrial motors and drivers, the largest provider of generators to the wind industry and the largest supplier of power grids.


In late 2011, Houston-based Facilities Manager Luis Prado was charged with managing five U.S.-based facilities of ABB’s global operations, among the 150 locations across the country. His work experience and early background in the U.S. military taught him a lot about standardizing technologies and processes and the efficiencies that standardization could bring to a huge global organization. One of the first things Luis realized early on was that he had no clear way to track occupancy levels in each of his facilities. In the existing environment, he could not easily pull the numbers he needed. Ordering telephone lines, phones, physical infrastructure and office equipment for his sites without the exact number of current employees was like guesswork, based on disparate spreadsheets, outdated data and a patchwork of processes. Additionally, there was no current employee directory, no consistent approach to work order systems, inventory, updated floor plans or employee tracking.


Luis decided to propose some changes. He began looking around at what other companies were doing, and recalled his experience with iOFFICE. He looked at all the options in the marketplace and invited several contenders to make presentations to his boss and other key decision makers. iOFFICE was the only system that came close to covering their needs with a single, ready-to-use interface.

ABB chose iOFFICE for its holistic approach that addressed five key challenges:

  • Occupancy metrics. iOFFICE offered a tool to track employee numbers quickly, accurately and in real time.
  • Work Order systems. Standardizing and stabilizing the work order process was easy with iOFFICE. Everything is managed under the same system, it’s all transparent, the documentation that used to take hours or days now takes minutes to present.
  • Asset inventory. Understanding inventory was previously a mystery. With iOFFICE, this function is easy to manage and track.
  • Maintenance. Equipment in need of repair, replacement or decommissioning is always on the FM’s radar. The iOFFICE module makes this headache go away for good.
  • Moves, adds and changes. Also known as “churn,” this impacts office space management and planning. With iOFFICE, the complexity is reduced with the introduction of an employee directory so that Luis can track accurate headcount in real time to implement required changes.

ABB deployed the iOFFICE platform, a cloud-based, single point of access with multiple functions and support tools for integrated workplace management services. The process was completed by 2013, and implementation began.


  • At ABB, the iOFFICE conversion took about four months to go live.

    • The ABB/iOFFICE project teams had to gather decades of data, office designs, site drawings and employee information and enter it all into the new system.
    • The Houston facilities had no consistent employee directory, so the data was not current and headcounts were inaccurate.
    • With the new iOFFICE system, this information is now at everyone’s fingertips and is easily tracked and updated.

This is all no longer an exercise in complexity. I don’t have to actively corral the process manually to get results. iOFFICE is really on the cutting edge; it just makes sense.


According to Prado, the way ABB manages IWMS in its Houston facilities has changed dramatically. “Time saved through a real-time directory, work order simplification and asset inventory process optimization is all empowering and revolutionizing the way we manage facilities,” he says.

Processes that used to take hours or days to fix now take minutes to initiate and include the billing history for each asset, plus the detailed repair records and any other relevant data. The iOFFICE system also requires little or no internal IT support. Since the cloud-based software is managed by iOFFICE on its own servers, ABB does not require localized IT support for the tool. In the event ABB has technical issues, they are resolved quickly.


Prado hopes other ABB offices across the United States will embrace the iOFFICE solution, especially when they witness how effective it has been to corral disparate systems and information under a single online application.