The Huis van de Stad (Town Hall), situated in Gouda’s Spoorzone, houses various municipal services. The Service Desk is located on the sixth floor of this modern town hall. This department supports the 600 to 700 users of the Huis van de Stad and manages all IT-related issues for municipal staff working in Waddinxveen and Zuidplas.
Modern town hall, modern organization on supported by ICT
Co-ordinator of the Service Desk, Cornelis Bruinsma: ‘The focus of the services provided by the Service Desk are IT-related. Users report to us if they can’t log in to the network or if a printer isn’t working, but also if someone needs a new phone.’ In order to handle all issues properly, the TopDesk facilities software is used.
When the Huis van de Stad opened in 2012, a number of bicycles were purchased. Users of the Huis van de Stad can borrow these bikes to go to meetings in the town. The Service Desk became responsible for co-ordinating the use of these bikes.
Cornelis Bruinsma: ‘Anyone who had booked a bike could collect and return the bicycle key from us on the sixth floor. However, it was often the case that one of the staff had to work overtime because a bike still hadn’t been returned by 5.00pm. This was not an ideal situation for either users or staff, and yes, we IT people were keen to automate this process.’
Bike bookings via TopDesk linked to KeyConductor
Together with colleague Rick Nieuweveen, Cornelis Bruinsma brainstormed on how he could automate the issue and return of bicycle keys. ‘Rick and I spent an awful lot of lunch breaks discussing ideas on how we could improve this process. Rick explored how it might be possible to use the TopDesk package for the bookings, and eventually all we needed was the smart key cabinet.’
‘‘In 2014, I went to the Facilities Trade Fair where I found several companies offering key management solutions. We immediately hit it off with CaptureTech. They contributed ideas and their KeyConductor really appealed to us.’ Bruinsma listed the wishes and requirements which the solution had to fulfil and invited the selected companies to come up with a proposal. Bruinsma: ‘After an extensive selection procedure, CaptureTech’s KeyConductor was chosen.’
Computerized bike bookings
What Bruinsma and Nieuweveen had thought up in theory now had to be implemented in practice. Bruinsma: ‘CaptureTech was very co-operative in developing the link between the KeyConductor and the TopDesk software. Rick Nieuweveen was given great support, and in a relatively short time, he had sorted the link.’
Through the link, staff can book one of the twelve bikes via their TopDesk environment. Quarter of an hour before the booked time, the user receives an email saying that the bike is now ready for collection. The bike can be collected until a quarter of an hour after the booked start time. The user can only access the KeyConductor with his smartcard and remove the bicycle key during that half-hour. The smartcard is also used to enter the building, log in to the computer and to be able to print.
Fifteen minutes before the bike is due to be returned, the user receives an email requesting him/her to return the bike on time. If a bike is not returned on time for the next user, the system can use a spare bike. This process is also fully automated.
Clear business case
During the first month that the system was in use, the KeyConductor was on the sixth floor. This made it possible to explain the system to the users and get direct feedback about the user-friendliness of the system.
After this trial period, the system was moved to the bike sheds. Now users no longer have to come to the sixth floor to collect or return a bicycle key, which saves them a lot of time. This solution also saves time for the Service Desk, because staff don’t have to wait until all the bicycle keys have been returned.
Bruinsma: ‘The business case here is all about saving time. Because our staff don’t need to wait and because the collection and return time for the users is now zero, this solution will recoup its costs very fast. But we feel that the awareness that the system creates among the users is equally important. Because they make a digital booking for a certain time, they know that they can use the booked bike at the arranged times and must not be late bringing it back.’
Also booking and managing Public Transport passes
The users and managers are very satisfied with how the system operates. The pool of twelve rental bikes has proved sufficient. However, we now want to incorporate pass-holders with municipal Public Transport passes in the system. Staff can then book a Public Transport pass via Topdesk if they need to travel for work by public transport.