What do staplers, projectors, building issues and IT requests have in common? They’re all under close management by Reba Fritz at Good Shepherd Catholic School & Parish in Orlando, Florida.
Fritz is Director of Office & Facilities Development there, overseeing a team of 10 non-academic employees. She refers to her team as the worker bees, serving 100+ clients who are the teachers, teaching assistants, parish and office staff that support Good Shepherd’s mission.
Like many non-profits, Good Shepherd’s IT department can’t even be counted with whole numbers; Fritz has exactly one part-time person on staff. Staff size wasn’t as much of an issue as the office location of this employee: he performed all of his duties off-site, making issue management especially challenging.
Fritz said they tried spreadsheets, but that didn’t work very well. By the time they started looking for an issue tracking system, Fritz says there was “no accountability, lack of organization, no feedback and no inventory control, which, consequently led to no cost control.”
Disney-Sized Benefits Packed into a Budget-Friendly Product
Fortunately Good Shepherd’s IT person also worked full-time at Disney, so he had exposure to the best IT tools money could buy.
“Disney’s IT department is top-of-the-line. They’re a big company with a lot of money. We’re a little school that does not have a lot of money,” says Fritz. Despite their limited budget, Good Shepherd wasn’t willing to skimp on features. Using Disney’s tracking system as a baseline, they identified the list of features their tracking tool needed to adequately support Good Shepherd’s operations.
The original goal was to find a system that would help Good Shepherd handle the problems, and categorize requests according to priority and location. And Fritz says she wanted a system that would let her track what problems were being worked on.
Issuetrak Bubbles to Top as Best Fit, Most Appealing
Good Shepherd’s IT person researched different solutions online, and found Issuetrak to be the “best fit and most appealing.” “Two reasons why it bubbled to the top,” says Fritz, “price, and it allowed us to organize our work by issue and location.”
“Two reasons why it bubbled to the top,” says Fritz, “price, and it allowed us to organize our work by issue and location.”
She sold Good Shepherd’s leadership team on Issuetrak by showing them how much money they’d save. “I pointed out that managing issues is a big part of the IT position. Having a system in place would eliminate this burden and cost. If the system worked, I could go with a part-time versus a full-time person, so it was definitely worth trying.”
It Takes Time to Change Old Habits…
The evaluation criteria derived from base lining Disney’s system made for an easy decision to buy. Issuetrak had everything Good Shepherd needed — and it didn’t bust their budget — so they went straight to purchase without a trial evaluation or in-depth lab testing. “We just went for the gusto and hoped it worked,” says Fritz.
“The hardest part [during implementation] was teaching, training and making people remember to use the system.” At first, people would catch Fritz on campus and say “I have this problem,” or “I need this.” She would gently remind them to use Issuetrak, because “then everyone would know what’s going on.”
When she finally got everyone to say “okay, we’ll use it,” Fritz says everybody loved it!
Beyond IT, Issuetrak Helps Manage Assets and Bring Much-Needed Visibility
After using Issuetrak for about one year, Fritz realized it could make life a whole lot easier in other areas.
She started first by tracking media and maintenance requests. “Think about all the equipment used in a classroom setting: projectors, screens, TVs. If equipment needs to be fixed or returned, Issuetrak gives us the traceability we need.”
Fritz even uses Issuetrak to track staples and other office supplies. “Before Issuetrak, people would just come and get staples. All of a sudden there wouldn’t be any left. Now we know where they go.”
Issuetrak helps keeps inventory in check, and Fritz uses the information to better manage and forecast supplies.
Tracking building maintenance requests became more efficient, too. Requests for maintenance (e.g., bathroom repairs) used to be hand-written, and even though Fritz had overall responsibility for this function, she had no visibility into these problems. With Issuetrak, Fritz can now prioritize and manage her facility manager’s jobs.
Proven Cost-Saver, Forecasting Tool
“Issuetrak has proven to be a cost saver with inventory,” says Fritz. We can now forecast our office supply usage more accurately and budget accordingly. It also eliminates time spent researching and/or remembering issues, raising our productivity immensely.”
Fritz likes that she can find out what the oldest issues are, and the status of each. “With Issuetrak’s supervisor rights, I can look at the past, see what I’ve got to do now, and get help planning my future. It just makes my whole life easier, and I like my life to be easy.”
Reflecting back, Fritz says she couldn’t believe it when she first saw Issuetrak. “I felt like, this is candy from heaven coming down! It was so wonderful.” Since then, Issuetrak has brought organization, accountability and cost control to Good Shepherd’s modest Catholic school.