Industrial and Manufacturing Higher Education Municipalities

Case Study

A new director ushers in a different mind set: an open door policy and a facilities automation system that offers unprecedented efficiencies throughout the Facilities Department, and a new sense of worker ownership for 90 worker/craftsmen."

Focus on

Higher Education


Canisius College

Customer Profile

Founded by the Jesuits in 1870, Canisius College is located in Western New York and has approximately 5,000 students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Its Facilities Department of 100 staff members manages 25 buildings, 25 residences, and all of the College's grounds, equipment, and vehicle fleet.


Canisius' Facilities Maintenance Department had always run its operations using a number of paper-based procedures. Essentially, a work order would be generated by phone, or entered directly onto a faxed 3-part carbon copy form, which would be reviewed, and once approved, dispatched. Meanwhile, the forms would be collected and entered into a legacy DOS-based system. A combination of form pile-ups and system inadequacies prevented facilities management from retrieving even the most basic statistics about work order progress or productivity. There was no centralized way of knowing what work had been completed, nor what was still pending.

When Ed Cogan, the new Director of Facilities, joined Canisius College in 2004, automating the College's Facilities operations processes became a key priority. "It was clear that I needed to eliminate the paper-based inefficiencies, better track maintenance activities, and compile productivity indicators to improve process management," said Cogan.

With a facilities management background extending over 25 years, Cogan also new precisely what he wanted in a new system, so much so that he made a list of all the necessary features. Nineteen bulleted points described in exacting detail what his requirements were. The Campus Facilities Manager from the eRPortal Software Group met all nineteen of these requirements.


Web-based Requisitioning and Assignment
eRPortal's Facilities Manager was the first of a two-phase implementation at the Canisius Facilities Department. A primary advantage of eRPortal's web-enabled design is that it leverages the workstation hardware already on the Canisius Campus.

A work order request can be generated from any web browser on campus by a customer (faculty or staff) directly from the College's Home Page. The request, entered via an easy-to-use web application, captures detailed information about the required work, is dispatched in seconds and electronically delivered to Facilities, where it is assigned to a worker/craftsman. From this point forward, eRPortal provides full tracking capability of all information relative to that work order.

Work Order Completion
Canisius' customized Remote Work Order Completion Module is designed to extend the loop of the automated work order. A worker/craftsman from any browser on campus logs into the system and reports on the work order, including his or her hours, procedure notes, and date of completion. Once the work order is logged in as complete, an automatic customer survey is emailed to the customer. This closes the work order loop.

"I came into this project with very high expectations," said Ed Cogan, "and they've been exceeded. We're seeing timesavings and efficiency improvements in many areas and we've eliminated some procedures altogether."

eRPortal was also very well received at Canisius. Ed Cogan credits the software's ease of use and its flexibility as the primary factors.

Ease of Use
eRPortal is designed with an acute awareness of the fact that many different types of users, with varying levels of computer literacy will access the system. We address this need for simplicity by enabling screens and menus to be customized - in some cases a user "login home page" can have only one or two functions. It ensures that most users can learn eRPortal in only a few hours.

"We've been very happy with how reliable and user-friendly eRPortal is," said Claudia Hojnacki, Facilities Office Manager. This ease-of-use has created a sense of confidence and support for the system throughout the department."

The response from Canisius Customers, including faculty and staff, has also been very positive. At the same time, a staff of 90 worker/craftsmen is using eRPortal Remote Work Order Completion Module to log their time and work progress. "The staff is thrilled about this, and in our mind, eRPortal is providing a sense of ownership and commitment to the maintenance process, "added Claudia.

The eRPortal Team
A team of sales and technical staff has been dedicated to providing the best software solution available for Canisius. "From the minute you engage with eRPortal Software, you know you are not dealing with a one-size-fits-all software giant," said Ed Cogan. "They worked diligently to understand our needs, and have been extremely responsive. We are made to feel like Canisius is their only customer and that's great customer service," he added.

Contact For information on this Case Study, please contact eRPortal.