Special Guest
Bill Pollak
Scott MacKenzie

What's in This Episode?

In this conversation with Industrial Talk’s Scott MacKenzie, Accruent President Bill Pollak explains how Fortive’s Facility & Asset Lifecycle Group helps organizations effectively manage their facilities and assets.  

Specifically, he explains how Gordian, ServiceChannel, and Accruent’s complementary solutions each help with a different part of the asset lifecycle, with:  

  • Gordian helping organizations assess the condition of the buildings and assets so they can develop capital
  • ServiceChannel providing work order management software for retail, restaurant, grocery, and convenience stores.
  • Accruent providing work order and facility management software for manufacturing, offices, hospitals, and retail.

Join the conversation.  

Full transcript:

Welcome to the Industrial Talk podcast with Scott MacKenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting-edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's get

her I once again, thank you very much for joining Industrial Talk. Thank you for your continued support of a platform that celebrates industry professionals all around the world because you are bold. Yes, I say it all the time. You're brave, you're daring greatly. You are changing lives and you are changing the world. We're at Accruent Insights, as you can tell by the buzz buzz in the background. We are in Nashville, Tennessee, Gaylord. It's the Gaylord Hotel, which happens to be a small state, because stay 51 I guess, if you ever want to come to a place that will dazzle you come to this one, because it will dazzle you Hot Seat Bill Pollack, he is the Group President Facilities and Asset Lifecycle Group at a crude. Let's get cracking. Bill, how're you doing?

I'm great. How are you today?

Good all the people standing around.

It's great to sit you. Scott, I thought it was you know,

what he cares about me? Just Scott, the guy that carries a six pack of beer for whatever reason, right? So you having a good conference? This is interesting.

Yeah, it's great. It's so terrific to be in a place with five or 600 people who care about the same things that we care about. And you get to engage in the dialogue with them and hear what their issues are, what their problems and concerns are, it's great.

But the reality is, is that this is the first time in four years, right?

So we've been doing it on Zoom, which is very unsatisfactory, sub optimal, let's just say. And so just having people instead of little tiny squares on Zoom, actually having full body seeing everybody is fantastic.

And having this conversation around. Real problems. Zack, Hey, what are we? There's so much happening within the world of asset management. It's just a tons of stuff. It's in flux, don't care. It's impacting everything. But to be able to have that real conversation in person. Now over a drink, maybe or whatever. It's priceless. absolutely priceless. Before we get into the conversation, give the listeners a little background on who Bill is.

So I am as you say, I'm the President of Facility and Asset Lifecycle and the Group President for our parent company board of where we've taken three of our businesses. So Accruent is one, Gordian and Service Channel, we've taken those three and put them together as a facility and asset lifecycle group. And so we are three, basically software data and services companies that are focused around facilities from construction, through disposition, and the assets that are inside of those facilities and how we manage.

So I can't help but we're here at the Gaylord. And, and all I can see is just how, how do they manage? How do they identify the assets? How do they? I mean, it's yeah, you got the H back yard and it's big, it's important. It's Yes, I got it. And we're, we're pulling data off of it. And we're doing everything but it's just, it's, it's like the pvc piping, you got so many little things that are so important that you have to manage. When you say you're part of this, this group you identified three, take us through that again, what are the three?

So you got three companies Gaudium, which has been around for about 30 years. It's in, it's in really the front end of the process, the pre-construction world. So Gordian is all about facility, assessment, asset, assessment condition assessment, it's what shape is this building in? Does it need a new roof? When does it need a new roof? What shape are the bathrooms and or the kitchens or the boiler or the aircon?

So these are existing properties?

Usually, usually existing properties, could be commercial could be higher ed could be government buildings, what have we got? What do we need to do? And on the on the list of what do we need to do? What do we need to do right now? Versus what could we put off a few years? And what will it all cost? And so Gordian helps to create that capital plan to figure out what needs to get done and when Gordian owns. Database RS means data, which for people in the construction industry, widely known, the leading construction cost data database in North America, so can estimate the cost of doing the work of renovating the kitchen, redoing the roots of putting on a new extension if you need more space. So Gordian is helping to create that capital budget that capital plan

Go ahead,

and then helps, in many cases to find the contractors to do the work. And so

see, here's the challenge. And it was a problem. I was, I was doing a project, I was building a facility. And what I was dealing with what I was challenged with, was that the costs were so dynamic, like maybe last week, I could find a welder for x this week, because Chevron had something going on down, there's and now all of its x plus,

right. So when it comes to procurement, that's a huge problem. You want to hire a contractor and the prices keep changing. One of the things Gordian pioneered was a system of procurement called job order contracting. And think of job order contracting as an umbrella contract. Where a contractor says, Look, I'll do all the work you want me to do, at at a set, set prices, price is determined through the Gordian dataset. So yes, steel prices may go up or down. That's what happens copper pipe prices might go up or down. But we control through Gordian how much that contractor is going to get paid to do that work. And you can almost in a sense, lock it in. And for a period of time you which might be years, it might be up to $1 limit, you have a contractor who's there ready to do the work that's particularly attractive and government contract. Yes, many of Guardians contractors or state and local government, schools, public hospitals, which really need to, to abide by public procurement law, and really liked the idea of locking in longer term contracts, and having longer term relations with their contractors. I like that. So So that's Gaudium. Think of that, as the front end of it.

See that, that that, by the way, prices never go down. Go ahead,

prices never go. That's actually not true. But that's okay. On my project, they go up and down. But having built whatever you're going to build having done the capital work, now you need to maintain it. And so service channel, within the retail restaurant, grocery and convenience store industries, service channel is the leading provider of what's called Work Order management software. So that's the software that the store manager says, hey, look, the lights in the parking lot need to be replaced, can key in into the software, I need to replace the software or and replace the lightbulbs or something more serious. The refrigerator number 32 just broke. I need a refrigerator guy to come in and fix that refrigerator. It all goes into the work order system, work order system dispatches an electrician, refrigeration guy, whatever party third party got it who comes in fixes the problem, the billing all runs through this system. And you the store owner can track well, how often did that refrigerator break? Or, you know, when's the last time this provider came in did work and where they were their bills fair. And you can derive a lot of information by ganging together all of your work orders into a single system, managing your providers. So we help you make sure that you're getting the best plumber in the area, the best electrician in the area, the best landscaper in the area? How do you do that? We have a data set of about 70,000 providers, and we watch every piece of work they do. Do they show up quickly? Can they do their bills all within the norms that we want them to fall into? Do they get a good rating, we ask for a rating on all of the work they do from the from the store. And so we can see over time, who's doing a good job who shows up quickly. Speed is often as important as price. Again, think about that refrigerator, if you don't get their refrigerator fixed quickly. You're throwing away the milk. You're throwing away the ice cream. Well, grocers don't want to do that. So speed matters. Obviously, cost control does matter. But it's not always the most important thing. quality of work. Did they fix it the first time? Or do we have to call them back to fix it again? Rework is something we watch.

Do you have contractors that say, oh, yeah, that's that's

my contract. Say I have enough work. Thank you. I don't need to work for Walmart. Not many, but some. Yeah. Most of them are willing to get they liked the idea of regular work from chain multistore chains that can throw them a lot of work since great. So that's service general and then accrual provides similar work order management type software, for manufacturing for offices. For hospitals. Healthcare is a big field for us. Some retail and so we're in that we're also tracking store leases. So if you think about a store that might have 1000 Some are a chain that might have 1000 stores all leased, the terms of those leases are all different. And so they've got to track all those leases, they got to make monthly payments to the landlord. And they've got to make sure that if something breaks in one of those stores, what was it my responsibility to fix it? Or is it the landlord's responsibility to fix it, and they want to keep careful track of those costs. So we're helping on that level, we have a workplace management software. So particularly now we're in this world where people don't just have an office where they come in, and they put the family photos in, and that's their office every day, five days a week, people are reserving a desk for Tuesdays and Thursdays. And they need a conference room on Friday for a team meeting. And we are in the business of selling software that helps people manage their space, who needs what desk, we need to what conference, or do they need food, do they need AV support? What do they need? And then with all of that data, we can see who's doing what we can help. The real estate, the director of real estate for for an institution say, Do I really need all this space? Maybe I can get away with half the space. And that's about cost management. That's huge. That's huge. And then the third area that we're the another area that we're focused on is energy. So monitoring energy consumption. We have a grocer in the United Kingdom, that's using our software that manage when they turn on and off the air conditioning. Well, it turns out that in in the UK, and I think everywhere, you can buy electrical power a lot cheaper at five in the morning, than a two in the tariffs, right? Like yeah, but uh, you know, it is it's variable pricing. So we can work with them to say, well, we're going to cool your stores early. And then we're going to shut it off for a little while when it's expensive. And then we'll turn it back on as it begins to warm up. And we can manage all that. And this grocer saving millions of dollars, just by managing and monitoring their energy consumption. And that's also part of, of managing the built environment, managing space.

What about a scenario like this, you brought it up. So I'm a retailer. And I'm leasing all of these properties all over the United States, like they're all over one of the areas that I am the landlord, and I am the Lisi, right. You will also work with the LISI as well as the landlord right in both sides of that. We can you can, and I want to, I want to have some sort of visibility, visibility into my my businesses that are all being leased all around some visibility, that creates a common picture that we

can help you put together a real estate view of all of your property, whether you're a landlord, or you're a store owner, who's who's got 50 landlords, because I've got 50 stores. Either way, we can pull together that picture for you, that says, well, here's what's happening, here's what it's costing you, here's how your energy consumption is working. Here's how your floorspace is being used.

I don't think that that's as vital. It's very, I mean, this is radically important. Yeah. And it's,

and this is part of the changing world. I mean, honestly, I think, yeah, it's not that this wasn't true 20 years ago. But now you have the tools, and you have databases, and you have an ability to access data in very interesting creative ways. And now today, we're getting to AI. And this is what I think is so exciting, because the ability to use AI to predict what's going to happen to predict how much will need to get spent in a particular store, or to predict when that refrigeration units gonna break before it does. And to take action. You have a lot of manufacturers out there who talk about, oh, we have sensors on our equipment, right. And we'll give you a screen you can look at, and I hear from store owners and they all say I don't have enough people to look at all those screens, or too many screens. And, and I don't have trained people who know what to do when something goes wrong on that screen. We're coming to a world now where the software will just do it for you

see, and it took from my perspective, the world I want to live in, which is I think it is is I I have a business, I'm neck deep and all of the challenges that I have with business and there's some ways of being able to automate that whatever that is. And to be able to provide these these predictive models so that I know that I'm operating my business whatever it is as efficiently as possible. And then when something is getting ready to fail, whatever I sweat the asset, get ready to fail and then be able to go alright, I call an out a maintenance professional and and bring that screwdriver, that seal and it's out here on this thing And, and from a safety perspective, make sure that you disconnect this, this this,

oh, I think it's more sophisticated than that. I think you want software while you're sleeping at night, to call Fred, the technician and to know, it's Fred and not Joe, because Fred has a particular skill that's necessary. But whatever the thing is, is going to break. You want Fred to be able to come in and fix whatever needs to be fixed. While he's fixing it, you want him to have access to the drawings of that refrigerator unit and the compressor. So that doesn't, he doesn't put his screwdriver on the wrong place, so that he actually fixes it correctly. So you want those drawings to be immediately available to Fred, when he shows up? You actually also want his on his phone when he gave him a map. If you've ever been in a large supermarket, there could be 100 refrigerator units, which 1am I fixing? So you want them to have a map that says, Oh, yes, this one. So he goes to the right one, then you want the drawings to come up that are relevant, that are adequately Yeah. And that are exactly accurate. So it's, it's as build or as modify? Yes, I'll tell you what, I have what I need. And then when he's done, you want to track? Did it stay fixed? Did it did it? Did he do the job that we paid him to do?

It's, it's like, you know, we, we talked about SAS, right. But the thing was, SAS is like it, these upgrades or these updates just happen magically, I don't even see him. I'm not trying, you know, it's all great. The same thing can exist with an asset, it's just all of a sudden, I didn't even know the light was out. It

got fixed. It just got fixed. Whenever they came in, came in, it'd be an internal technician, it could be an outside electrician, whatever the right person got called. And they showed up and they did the thing. And we got a report the next day saying, Yep, they fixed it, and then a bill and it gets trapped in your billing system. That's all important. All of that is going to happen without human intervention. That's where we're going.

That's exactly correct. And I'm all for it. What do you think of a situation where I have my refrigerator at home, I've got my oven I've got and their smart devices, and then all of a sudden, knock, knock, knock. I get a technician at the door saying, Hey, your refrigerators, the compressors getting ready to up. You know, Where were your air conditioning?

It's not crazy. It's not not in the residential business. So I'm sure there were some issues around that

there is what you know, it's getting to that point, and I'm like, Hey, have at it. I don't want to wake up and have my refrigerator or just with

ramen. It's not crazy to think that your oven is going to call a technician and say, You got to come out and fix me. That's not we're not actually so far away from that seems crazy. But no, if you know, why not? But why not? I mean, we're now in a world where if you have a Tesla or any other electric car, Tesla will come out to your house to fix your car spot and plugging diagnostics and fix it right in your driveway. was not true. A few years ago?

It's exciting times. Yeah,

no, it's it is there's a lot happening.

I'm all jacked about it. I mean, and you're at that. I mean, let's just be honest here. Your business is in a way of being able to data's everything, you can at least begin to see the data and see the trends and you and you can cross pollinate, you could you could do certain things with it,

that that's what's going to separate companies that's got the data and you can do things with it. That's right.

Awesome. So how do we get a hold of

how do we get a hold of Bill dot Pollack at a current.com

I have a conversation with this guy. He doesn't disappoint. He's got a nice beard. And all beard guys got to stick together because that are nice, guys. All right, we're gonna close it out. We're gonna wrap it up on the other side don't want to have all the contact information for Bill out on Industrial Talk. So fear not reach out to him. He will not disappoint you. He needs to Sherpa. So reach out to him. All right, we will be right back.

You're listening to the Industrial Talk Podcast Network.

All right. His name is Bill Bill Pollack, Group President, Facility and Asset Lifecycle Group and President of Accruent. And again, as you can tell, we were on site Accruent Insights. And I'm telling you right now, you need to put that on your, your bucket list to attend next year, excellent organization, excellent opportunity to connect with individuals that are looking for solutions, but really, truly want to collaborate and collaborate in such a way that really helps everybody out. So I was I was very impressed with the event, to say the least. Great group of people and by the way, bills stat card out there on LinkedIn is chock full of great stuff. So reach out to him Do not hesitate. All right, we're going to have more coming from this particular conferences, user conference. It's going to be just swimming in great content and great insights people, be brave, dare greatly hang out with Bill and you're going to change the world. We're gonna have another great conversation shortly. So stay tuned.