Our Industries

Case Studies

Healthcare

Henry Ford Health System

Powerlink maintains 23 health care facilities for one of Michigan's premier health care systems. The full-time equivalent of 275 Powerlink employees work on this prize-winning project, as well as 40 health system staff.

Facilities under Powerlink's care include:

  • The main hospital and clinic campus near downtown Detroit
  • 2 medical centers with emergency facilities
  • 14 office-hour clinics
  • 2 research laboratory buildings
  • 3 behavioral health buildings
  • 1 daycare facility

Cleaning and supplying a major hospital system poses unique challenges. Surgical suites, treatment rooms, laboratories, patient overnight rooms and public waiting areas all have different, stringent standards to combat infections. Many areas of the hospital operate around the clock, so there is no "down" time for cleaning staff, and everyone who works in the system must be dedicated to providing the best patient service and care.

Powerlink has proven its value by totally integrating its work into the operation of the hospitals and clinics it serves. Powerlink and hospital staff act as partners to set standards and review procedures to improve patient care and drive out costs. The health care system has gained substantial savings from adopting Powerlink recommendations on consolidating third-party maintenance vendors, changing paper products and cleaning compounds to reduce environmental impacts, and even standardizing the sizes of trash cans - reducing the number of trash liners from 16 to four. Continuous improvement processes are driven by three primary goals - lowering cost, improving patient care, and reducing environmental impacts.

Perhaps most important of all, Powerlink's people are recruited and trained to provide outstanding customer service, and in this setting they are consistently recognized for performing above and beyond job descriptions. In short, one job might be to change the bed sheets, but the mission is still to heal the patient.

Summary of Services Provided

  • Cleaning and Porter Service
    • Building cleaning and services - including sanitizing and deodorizing, fire restoration, graffiti removal and high pressure water blasting
    • Recycling programs
    • Waste removal
  • Roads and Grounds
    • Grounds care
    • Roadway and parking lot maintenance
    • Sweeping and debris removal
  • Call Center Operation Office Support Services
    • Conference management
  • Service Response Center
    • Infection control
    • Patient discharge
    • Patient transport
    • Linen management
    • Housekeeping
    • Quality assurance
  • Technical Support
    • Hazardous materials procedures and training
    • Physical plant and engineering efficiency and productivity procedures
    • Joint Commission compliant engineering
    • Best practices and procedures in housekeeping
    • Michigan OSHA training and consultation

Karmanos Cancer Institute

Two basic challenges face every person working at a well-renown cancer research and treatment center, because every patient in the facility faces a life-threatening sickness. First, infection control is paramount because patients' immune systems are often compromised. Second, a powerful positive attitude is essential to help patients who are undergoing difficult treatments for their illness.

A total of 17 Powerlink staff clean three facilities for the Institute, which include laboratories, patient care rooms, public spaces and offices. Research scientists are working in the pharmaceutical laboratories, creating and mixing experimental drugs for clinical trials. Maintaining these areas requires daily cleaning following strict procedures in full protective suits. The presence of radioactive materials in some treatments requires additional protocols to protect employees and the environment. Since the senior scientists in each laboratory are working on unique projects, the requirements for maintaining each room must be customized accordingly. Every Powerlink employee must be trained to follow the customized protocols in each laboratory room. A mistake or break in protocol could jeopardize lives or groundbreaking research.

Summary of Services Provided

  • Cleaning and Porter Service
    • Building cleaning and services - including sanitizing and deodorizing, fire restoration, graffiti removal and high pressure water blasting
    • Recycling programs
    • Waste removal
  • Service Response Center
    • Infection control
    • Patient discharge
    • Patient transport
    • Linen management
    • Housekeeping
    • Quality assurance
  • Technical Support
    • Hazardous materials procedures and training
    • Joint Commission compliant engineering
    • Best practices and procedures in housekeeping
    • Michigan OSHA training and consultation

Manufacturing

Steelcase

Powerlink maintains four production paint operations for a major North American furniture manufacturing company. Headquartered in the Midwest, the company has factories in the U.S. and Canada. The client company presents a particular challenge because it has a long tradition of leading its industry in adopting environmentally sound practices, and paint shop operations pose significant environmental problems.

Each operation includes a set of washing steps before parts are painted and oven cured. To maintain the high quality expected of a premier brand, every piece of manufacturing equipment must be impeccably cleaned and maintained regularly. Working with the client, Powerlink demonstrated that a thorough cleaning and maintenance allowed the paint line to operate longer between cleanings without affecting product quality. The result netted significant savings.

All phases of the operation are controlled by stringent state and federal environmental and occupational safety regulations. To reduce the amount of volatile chemicals in the process, the paint lines use a powdered coating. Powerlink recovers and recycles a significant amount of the overspray to reduce the waste stream.

At one of its sites, the manufacturer is assembling wooden furniture pieces. There, Powerlink is maintaining sanding, gluing and curing operations. The work requires managing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as well as dust collection in an environmentally sound manner.

Powerlink has used a number of strategies to meet the difficult requirements posed by this customer. First, it used its rigorous hiring and training practices by bringing a team to set up operations at each site, hiring a significant number of its staff locally and providing them immediate classroom group orientation and training before they started work. To maintain consistent cleaning practices, Powerlink analyzed the processes and prepared a matrix of tasks and timings to cover them. Line staff work from color-coded task lists that ensure each cleaning and maintenance cycle is consistent and complete. All this aligns well with the customer's continuous improvement program, which uses a very comprehensive set of metrics to monitor performance throughout all its plants.

Summary of Services Provided

  • Paint shop cleaning and maintenance
  • Wood sanding, gluing and curing line cleaning and maintenance
  • Contract cleaning of other assembly facilities
  • Documentation of performance to high company and regulatory standards

Utilities

Dayton Power and Light

Powerlink's facilities maintenance contract with a large Midwestern electric utility company presents an enormous challenge serving a diverse and unique set of facilities that are spread over several hundred miles of service territory. The buildings include:

  • 10 service centers with offices and garages
  • 35 microwave towers
  • 170 substations

Although Powerlink's technicians are not working directly on transmission equipment they must have the skills and trustworthiness to perform their jobs where safety and security have the highest priority. Powerlink is managing the project with just eight full-time staff who must have a broad range of repair skills and the ability to supervise subcontractors. They are certified to work around high-power transmission lines and licensed or trained in these areas:

  • Electrical
  • HVAC
  • Plumbing
  • General contracting
  • Capital planning and construction management

Powerlink's staff must be able to respond quickly at all times because the utility company never shuts down. For instance, a breakdown of an air conditioner keeping control-room equipment cool could create costly or dangerous ripple effects. In one two-month period, Powerlink's crews responded to 500 service calls. To manage that volume of service, Powerlink set up a 24-hour help desk.

In less than six months, Powerlink's service had a significant impact --

  • The company eliminated the administrative costs of managing an unnecessary number of vendors
  • Powerlink's professionals were completing projects at lower costs than contractors called in for one-time repairs
  • Maintenance costs were more quickly and accurately tracked and managed
  • Timely repairs and construction improvements were conserving energy and generating cost savings

Summary of Services Provided

  • General Maintenance and Construction
    • Major and minor building systems repairs and improvements
    • Interior and exterior
    • Structural
    • Plumbing
    • Electrical
    • HVAC
    • Capital planning
    • Construction management
    • Service call center - centralized management of more than 200 individual facilities

Commercial Buildings

Henry Ford Health System - One Ford Place

Powerlink manages and maintains the administrative office building for a regional healthcare organization. Powerlink's staff not only clean the building and maintain the grounds around it, they keep all systems - electrical, mechanical, plumbing and ventilation - up and running. Because Powerlink provides a substantial set of services to other facilities owned by the customer, it set up a call center in the administrative office to dispatch services throughout the system. The center offers quick response to calls and has taken on the role of scheduler for conference facilities and other resources within the building.

Summary of Services Provided

  • Cleaning and Porter Service
    • Building cleaning and services - including sanitizing and deodorizing, fire restoration, graffiti removal and high pressure water blasting
    • Recycling programs
    • Waste removal
  • Roads and Grounds
    • Grounds care
    • Roadway and parking lot maintenance
    • Sweeping and debris removal
  • Facility Operations
    • Emergency generators
    • Elevators and escalators
    • HVAC systems
    • Electrical and power distribution
    • Central plant and utility infrastructure
    • Emergency response procedures
  • General Maintenance and Construction
    • Capital planning
    • Construction management
    • Energy Management
    • Space Utilization and Workplace Planning