REAL LIFE STORIES INTECHNOLOGY
Facilities manager needed broad shoulders to win over colleagues
Andrew Foyle is an affable Yorkshire chap and walking around InTechnology’s head quarters in Harrogate he’s clearly a popular team member. Everyone we see has a cheery ‘hello’ for him so it’s hard to imagine that just three years ago he was the most unpopular person in the company.
InTechnology is one of the world’s leading providers of Managed IT Services with a focus on managing client data, networks and voice requirements. In the UK alone the company employs 250 people across six sites and has an impressive client list that includes fast food giant McDonald’s, Skybet, several key government departments and the CBI to name just a few.
Foyle joined the company’s facilities department in 2008 and immediately began making a range of changes that were necessary in order to keep the business on the right side of the law and to significantly improve the company’s green credentials.
He is now Facilities Team Leader and heads a hard working and dedicated team of 2 who look after everything from air conditioning and lighting through to buying equipment and overseeing health & safety issues. To summarise he says they are responsible for ‘making sure everyone is happy’ but somewhat ironically when he started at the firm a lot of his colleagues were far from happy.
Foyle explains: “I joined the company following a period of rapid growth but a lot of the company’s systems and procedures had not kept pace. There was a sense of complacency and this was one of the reasons the job was created. A lot of the problems were basic but could have had disastrous consequences. For example there were chemicals being kept in unlocked cupboards, lots of clutter everywhere and a major lack of signage throughout the buildings.
“In addition there were all types of faults such as doors hanging on damaged hinges and loose floor tiles. These types of things are simple to fix and can prevent accidents and compensation claims but for whatever reason they’d been ignored.”
The management team at InTechnology certainly took Foyle’s concerns very seriously and immediately gave him their full support to make sure things were brought up to scratch.
He continues: “My first six months in the job were very difficult. I’d ruffled a lot of feathers because a lot of people were initially against the changes and generally those people who are unhappy shout louder than those that are happy.
“I could have walked away but I have broad shoulders and knew the changes I was making were for the best so I stuck with it. InTechnology’s Board of Directors have been fantastic and I’ve always had their support. Gradually the entire team began to see the benefits of what was happening and came on-side but you never forget how sensitive people can be to change!”
Today the directors of InTechnology see the facilities department as a major success story that has gone from a bottleneck in the business to a proactive department that now brings money in and regularly spends money to save money.
Backing up the servers for so many well-known names is a big responsibility – what steps do you take to keep everything safe?
All our servers are stored in locked cages in very secure rooms and there’s CCTV everywhere. We have a state of the art automated fire suppression system that can suffocate a fire in just four seconds by reducing oxygen in the room. Finally servers have to be stored at between 21 and 24 degrees so we have a cooling system running constantly that’s supported by back-up power supplies in case of power cuts.
Doesn’t this result in a substantial energy bill?
Even though all our systems and servers are running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year we are continually working to reduce our electricity bills and looking at new initiatives. For example we’ve recently signed up to EnerNOC, which takes us off the National Grid by using our own on-site generators.
How else are you looking to reduce this cost?
Occupancy lighting is something that we’re hoping to invest in this year. We want to change every light in the Data Centre, where our servers are stored, which will cost between £50,000 and £60,000. Lighting also emits heat so it should also reduce our cooling bill and we would expect this investment to pay for itself in just over 12 months.
You must have a hefty security bill as well then?
As technology evolves so does our security bill. We’re just awaiting delivery of an innovative ‘mantrap’ system which puts two doors at the entrance to secure areas. The inner door won’t open until the outer door is closed and if it senses more than one person going through at a time it locks both doors. It will also use the latest fingerprint technology to allow access.
Has the recession reduced your facilities budgets?
It has to an extent but at the same time we have to carry on investing in certain areas, such as security, technology and our green credentials, in order to stay ahead of our competitors.
When it comes to your green credentials what else do you do to reduce your carbon footprint?
As well as our long term strategies we have a wide range of systems in place that are basic but effective. For example setting up recycling stations, with different bins for various types of waste is quick and easy or reducing the volume of waste by flat-packing and compressing it is another simple way to manage waste effectively.
When you are reviewing suppliers do you consider the company’s green credentials?
Yes, it sends out a positive message if we use green suppliers. Whenever you are buying anything you can always find cheaper suppliers but it’s important to look at the bigger picture.
And looking to the future what further changes do you think could make InTechnology greener?
We’re looking at the possibility of installing ambient lighting around work stations which illuminate as it gets dark outside and will reduce the number of lights we need on during the day. We’re also conscious of the fact that we exhaust a lot of hot air to keep certain parts of our buildings cool, but then spend money heating other areas so we’re looking at the possibility of reusing hot air – watch this space!
Maintaining a good health and safety record is another big issue for businesses. Have you introduced any new procedures recently to reduce the chances of accidents or injuries?
Often simple things can make big differences. In this business we’re continually moving computer equipment around so we’ve recently bought trolleys that are specifically designed for monitors and hard drives which saves people having to carry heavy equipment. We’ve also worked hard to create box based storage systems which reduces clutter and the amount of loose items on shelves and in cupboards.
If you could invent one piece of equipment to make your job easier, what would it be?
A shelter where you could hide to get five minutes of peace and quiet!!