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Tucson Federal Credit Union Facilities Management Case Study

About Tucson Federal Credit Union (TFCU)

In 1937 a group of teachers with a vision came together to form a financial cooperative to serve the needs of Tucson’s school employees and their families. Volunteers ran the credit union until 1941 when the first full time employee was hired to operate out of the basement of Tucson High School. Much has changed since this humble beginning. In 2006, TFCU became a “Community Chartered” credit union, thus broadening its customer base beyond Tucson Unified School District and University of Arizona students, faculty and staff, to include other community members in Pima County. Today, TFCU has grown to more than 49,000 members, $353 million in assets, and eight locations.

Facilities Management Challenges

To help maintain, manage and track their growing portfolio of facilities and physical assets, in the fall of 2014 TFCU embarked on a search for facilities management software. At that time, their IT department had set up a special email address for staff to report facility issues. Just keeping track of all the emails was tough enough, but they also needed tools for defining, prioritizing, and assigning the jobs to their maintenance staff and outside contractors. In addition to handling the influx of facility maintenance issues, their goal was to get in front of as many issues as possible with a preventive maintenance program. Coming from emails and spreadsheets, finding a system that was easy to use, and that wouldn’t bust the budget, were key selection criteria.

The eSSETS Solution

“We evaluated several options,” said Facilities Supervisor David Prather, “and found eSSETS to provide the depth of functions we needed, yet it seemed very user-friendly and affordable. We wanted a ticketing system, kind of like the help desk system used by our IT folks, but the facilities staff are not computer people, so ease of use was critical. Myself and our facilities team are hands-on workers. We could not be chained to our desks and be out fixing things at the same time, so mobile access was another critical feature. We needed access from our iPhones when we were on the move. Finally, we have our own maintenance activities to worry about, so we wanted a web-based system where the vendor handles ongoing maintenance and support of the software. eSSETS was the clear winner.”

David explained that getting preventive maintenance defined, scheduled and under control has been a major accomplishment. He says that receiving PM due notifications via email and having them go directly to each user’s work queue (called ToDoQ in eSSETS) has improved efficiency. Managers and other staff at each facility login to the SmartQ* request portal to report issues. David’s ToDoQ shows all PM’s due and open service requests so he can assign and prioritize work for himself, his staff and his contractors. He monitors the age of requests. When a job appears to be getting stale, he goes into the job, and sends a status update notification to the staff member to determine why. David also uses the eSSETS Dashboard to get a graphical view of the relative workload of his staff, and the work distribution across their eight locations.

Day in the Life

For David, as is the case for many facility managers, the workday starts early. At 6:30am he’s checking “SmartQ” for any incoming requests that need to be analyzed, prioritized and assigned. A quick scan of the “Elapsed Days” column on the ToDoQ* list triggers status update requests on older jobs to assignees. The Service Request (Work Order) itself provides the ideal communication method because all relevant information provides context for the communication: Who asked for it, when did they ask, where is it, what is it, who’s assigned, what have we done so far, how much have we spent…answers to these questions help move the issue along towards final resolution. David appreciates that he can get all of this information, and more, from his iPhone while in the field.

Implementation, Training, Support, Software Updates

The eSSETS team helped with the implementation phase by setting up “Places” (buildings, rooms, etc.) and providing guidance on setting up major building related assets. Numerous remote training sessions, included as part of the annual subscription fees, were conducted via web-conferencing for the facilities team and for management staff who submit facility requests. David reports that support has been responsive, and that there have been no significant service outages since starting with eSSETS in June of 2015. He also appreciates that each of the five software release updates they’ve received since starting have included numerous improvements, and required little more than reading the “release notes” to learn what’s new.

What’s Next

TFCU has accumulated lots of information about the larger building related equipment such as RTU’s, furnaces, air handlers and condensing units. David is looking forward to adding the next level of physical assets, such as breakroom and restroom equipment, to get in closer sync with accounting, and generally moving toward more comprehensive asset management. 


Overall, the implementation of eSSETS facility management system has saved a lot of time, certainly multiple hours per week, helping the department stay organized and on top of all tasks. For TFCU’s facilities management team, the ability to better track all requests and more efficiently handle preventative maintenance scheduling, all at a low cost, with great support, and frequent software enhancements, has reinforced their decision to go with eSSETS. Certainly,  some challenges still exist, but David is working with the eSSETS team to identify and implement further refinements. “The close working relationship makes a big difference,” according to David. As TFCU continues to unlock the potential of their new cloud-based maintenance software, certainly more benefits will accrue.

To learn more about the features and innovations within eSSETS cloud-based facility management please request a free consultation.

*SmartQ and ToDoQ are trademarks of eSSETS.