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TECHNOLOGY TOOLBOX
From Site Selection magazine, January 2010
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Facilitating Manufacturing

American Industries uses an integrated workplace
management system to manage its vast portfolio.

TECHNOLOGY TOOLBOX
Labinal, part of the French Safran Group, is one of American Industries’ industrial tenants in Chihuahua, Mexico.
by JOHN W. McCURRY
E

l Paso-based American Industries bills itself as "Mexico's Leading Manufacturing Facilitator." It operates more than 9 million sq. ft. (836,100 sq. m.) of industrial space, including eight industrial parks in major Mexican manufacturing centers such as Chihuahua, Monterrey and Juarez. From these platforms, companies involved in industries including aerospace, automotive, electronics and medical products serve U.S. customers.

AI offers both build-to-suit and existing facility options for its clients. Notable amongsome 50 manufacturing clients leasing AI space are Cessna, Labinal, Lear and Goodyear. Mexican President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa was on hand last May when two Cessna plants in AI buildings were officially opened in Chihuahua. Those plants will eventually employ more than 500.

Maintaining such a vast industrial portfolio requires a robust facilities management system, and AI has used Web-based Bricsnet Enterprise, an integrated workplace management system, for the past four years, utilizing six of the available modules. Gonzalo Galicia, who manages the program for AI, says it has been a big time saver.

"In the past, we had all of our information on hard discs on one computer here, one computer there," Galicia says. "We didn't have the information all in one place. Now, we are able to centralize information into one system. It allows us to keep track of our leases with updated information, which is very important for us."

Galicia says Bricsnet offers great flexibility and ease of use. He keeps track of a wide assortment of crucial information related to property management, construction and environmental reporting. Bricsnet's Projects module allows him to keep track of the progress of projects in buildings, including logging of change orders, engineering reports and letters of intent.

"What is important is that Bricsnet gives us a tool that provides us with alerts as we reach critical dates on a building project," Galicia says. "For example, when we approach a final occupancy date for a building, it automatically sends us an alert."

Modules and Sub-Modules

Bricsnet's Lease module allows AI to keep track of lease contracts of its tenants, which normally range from five to seven years. The Maintenance module is used to track work orders and requests. Asset managers at AI's client companies have access to this module and can keep track of all maintenance issues.

AI also uses the Transactions module, which includes a checklist for issues related to the purchase of real estate.

Bricsnet, based in San Francisco, has been in the workplace management arena for more than 20 years.

Dave Karpook, Bricsnet's vice president of product marketing, says the company's client list includes most industries, public-sector entities such as the State of Virginia and large retailers. Bricsnet will soon release the latest update of Bricsnet Enterprise, which will add several capabilities including the capability to schedule conference rooms and a sub-module for project close-out activities. The update also adds partnerships with two firms: VFA, a facilities capital planning and management software company, and Seregon, a mobile application specialist.

The VFA partnership adds a building condition assessment component. The partnership with Seregon adds mobile interaction capabilities allowing managers to send work orders to technicians in the field via a Blackberry.


Story in Pictures

The Bricsnet Enterprise Projects module allows users to keep track of construction progress.

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