Enquire Search
Melbourne Cricket Ground facilities management QFM software

Melbourne Cricket Ground, known to fans as The G, provides a best-practice case study for managing maintenance on event days. Samantha Fuller, international general manager at Service Works Global, is featured in the March edition of Stadia to discuss the challenges and offer advice on easing the burden on facilities staff.

Managing maintenance requests in a large stadium is no small feat, and when event days come into the picture, their complexity and urgency increase exponentially. Stadium and venue managers face a unique set of challenges during these high-stakes moments; a single overlooked maintenance issue can quickly escalate into a major problem with potentially far-reaching consequences.

Service Works Global (SWG) counts among its clients the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), colloquially and affectionately referred to as The G. It is the largest sporting stadium in the southern hemisphere, the 11th largest in the world, and the second-largest cricket ground by capacity. It is also centuries old, ensuring maintenance is a near constant process.

First constructed in 1853, it has undergone several major renovations since the early 90s, with further redevelopments proposed in the coming years. These include rebuilding the southern stand to increase the stadium’s capacity, and a complete revamp of the precinct surrounding the stadium to improve transport connections.

Everything about The G is massive: it has a capacity of over 100,000 spectators, the pitch alone measures 171 metres by 146 metres, and the light towers are the tallest (75 metres) of any sporting venue in the world. Holistically, MCG comprises over 2.1 million square feet of infrastructure, with approximately 100 full-time, and 1,000 casual event employees working within its boundaries. Put simply, if maintenance requests can be promptly managed at MCG, they can be handled anywhere.

Managing Technology

Event days at stadiums naturally bring a surge in maintenance requests, dwarfing the daily average. In the case of MCG, the contrast is striking. On regular days, maintenance teams typically handle around 20 requests. On event days however, where the average attendance can reach 100,000, this number quintuples to around 100 requests.

Adding to this challenge is the fact that modern stadiums often serve as versatile venues, hosting a diverse array of events ranging from sports matches to music concerts. This multi-purpose functionality adds another layer of complexity for facility managers. With an increasing number of event days, the challenge becomes two-fold: addressing the specific requirements of each event, while ensuring maintenance operations run seamlessly for their duration.

As with most areas of business, technology plays a pivotal role in modern stadium management, and particularly in efficiently handling maintenance requests. The core goals of all maintenance and asset management operations are to minimise wait times, control service costs, and facilitate smooth operations, particularly on event days. So, when selecting software solutions, a strategic approach is essential. To ensure one finds the right solution, the following guidelines must be considered: objectives (clearly define your goals and outcomes), budget (resource allocation and software implementation), integration (single platform or combination), and interconnectivity (seamless communication between all business-critical platforms).

With the above in mind, a unified software solution can offer proactive management of service calls, reduced breakdowns, epitomised service operations, and enhanced performance. Mapping out these objectives and considering how they can impact each other offers a sure-fire means of smartly allocating budget and resource to the most essential systems within any given venue. At MCG we worked with the staff who the load the relevant asset and location data, to ensure that when an issue occurred it was reported and recorded at the correct location.

This visibility of issues has ensured any major concerns are dealt with quickly, especially prior to an event where the issue is in a public arena. This has ensured the facility can remain fully functioning with reduced risks of issues related to existing faults and concerns. For example, if there is a broken seat, this can be fixed prior to an event at the stadium, making sure the seat can be used, generating revenue from a ticket sale.

Reducing breakdowns and service call outs will cut costs, which can offset the initial layout for software. While each stadium project is different, we typically see a 12-18-month payback period. After that initial outlay has been recouped, all cost savings can help clients reduce and reallocate budgets.

Leveraging Existing Data

Transitioning to a new software platform doesn’t mean leaving behind valuable historical data. At the MCG, we were able to retain critical data from its previous maintenance management system. This data, encompassing historic maintenance orders and the details of more than 8,000 assets, proved invaluable for planning, and executing, a comprehensive 10-year asset replacement strategy.

The data from other systems and spreadsheets was reviewed alongside the detail loaded into facilities management software QFM. Key detail included asset acquisition dates and last planned maintenance date, which was vital to planning when an asset should be replaced. By comparing the service history with the asset performance, staff could then decide if the asset required replacement on the planned date or whether it could be serviced and continue to function as required. By migrating this data to SWG’s QFM platform the MCG efficiently harnessed its existing resources, ensuring a smooth transition and facilitating informed decision-making.

However, effective maintenance software goes beyond simply request tracking. It can revolutionise event day operations by streamlining work requests and increasing the rate of first-time fixes. Industryleading platforms offer features such as job allocation based on operative skill sets and GPS tracking to assign tasks to the nearest available operative. This real-time tracking reduces travel time and accelerates issue resolution.

With the integration of a mobile app, field operatives gain instant access to job details, allowing for efficient completion and minimising return visits. On event days, managing the influx of maintenance requests requires flexible workflows. An ideal software solution should allow for workflow adjustments using priority settings. This enables inhouse teams to handle calls on non-event days, while specialist third-party service desks can take charge on event days. This dynamic approach ensures that requests are managed efficiently, regardless of the day’s demands.

Enhancing Efficiency on Event Days

Event days also bring heightened concerns about safety and incident management. Leading software platforms offer features to record incidents, including injury details, causes, and witness statements. Integration with asset data enables follow-up actions. Safety officers are promptly notified of incidents, facilitating immediate responses and subsequent analysis.

By centralising incident data, stadiums can identify trends, enhance safety measures, and minimise the likelihood of future incidents. Managing maintenance requests on event days presents a unique set of challenges for stadium and venue managers. But with a well-thought-out software strategy, these challenges can be turned into opportunities for improved efficiency and enhanced attendee experiences.

As shown from our work at the MCG, it is evident that the right software solution can significantly transform maintenance operations on event days. The MCG team has embraced the use of QFM with its flexibility and easily customised interface and workflows to meet their non-game day and game day requirements. The evolving technology and everincreasing functionality included in the software ensures it evolves with our clients.

By harnessing existing data, optimising workflows, and integrating safety measures, stadium managers can leverage software to navigate the complexities of event days with confidence and ensure a seamless experience for both staff and attendees.