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Case Study: Ferguson

Equipment Wholesale and Distribution Chain Makes Strategic Use of FM Analytics to Increase Work Order Efficiency, Reduce Costs, and Improve Vendor Performance.

Modified on

October 26, 2023

  • Large-scale SERVICE PROVIDER CONSOLIDATION from 7,000 to less than 600

  • VISIBILITY AND INSIGHTS THROUGH ANALYTICS for improved budgeting/planning and vendor performance management

  • FLEXIBLE OPERATIONS through enterprise mobility for all users

Quantifiable Results



“Management was absolutely amazed at how easy it would be to use ServiceChannel data to make data-driven decisions and establish best practices such as NTE pricing. Data is king; if you can prove it and show it on paper, you’re ahead of the competition. In terms of budgeting, what we get from ServiceChannel is miles ahead of whatever else is available in the market today.“

Hank Van Gieson
Manager of Program Development Facility Services


Ferguson Enterprises is the nation’s largest distributor of residential and commercial plumbing supplies and pipe, valves, and fittings. As a diverse distributor that spans multiple businesses including HVAC/R, waterworks, and industrial, it’s grown over 63 years from a local distributor to a $13.8 billion company with more than 1,400 locations nationwide.


Ferguson evaluated service automation as a way to migrate from a fully outsourced facilities management operation and internalize the function as a department. The rationale for this was to overcome a number of key challenges including:

  • Highly decentralized FM model in terms of maintenance and repairs with work orders initiated by locations ad hoc, with no standardized processes for tracking and measurement
  • Overly bureaucratic in terms of organization, leading to cost overruns, which met with resistance from branch managers responsible for their own P&L
  • Non-enterprise levels of risk mitigation and operational efficiency

“Using ServiceChannel, we get time back in our day because the system basically manages itself. It has given us the ability to prioritize, track everything and be more efficient overall. Using the system to our advantage and to our specifications has been a huge help and has changed our world.”

Hank Van Gieson
Manager of Program Development Facility Services


In making this shift to service automation and centralization of the FM team, Ferguson identified a number of short- and long-term goals to define its success. Short-term goals included:

  • Empowering the branches with information and data to make real-time decisions about necessary facilities maintenance and repair issues
  • Increasing the speed of initiating work orders and the time required to resolve open tickets
  • Sharing work order information internally to streamline communications
  • Giving the central FM team the means to ensure service provider compliance, formerly the responsibility of the branches themselves

Longer-term project goals included:

  • Consolidating the number of service providers that the company relies on for repairs and maintenance
  • Negotiating more favorable contract terms with service providers using quantifiable data
  • Increasing visibility into budgeting issues such as spending trends
  • Creating an enterprise-class analytics and reporting process for planning, cost controls and vendor management


Ferguson chose to deploy the ServiceChannel Service Automation platform after carefully evaluating several options. One of the factors in selecting ServiceChannel was the wide familiarity with the platform among the thousands of service providers on which Ferguson relied. Other ServiceChannel solutions deployed include:

  • Mobile App, which enabled branch managers and facilities managers to enter and track work orders using their mobile device of choice, described as a “huge, huge win”
  • Planned Maintenance Manager, which streamlined operations by standardizing and automating routine and recurring services instead of relying on the branch managers to initiate work orders
  • Compliance Manager, which simplified a formerly tedious process and ensured that service providers were 100% compliant at all times. This became an essential component of the risk mitigation capabilities that the FM team delivered
  •  Invoice Manager, which enabled the FM team to move to a weekly batching process for simplicity and timely processing


Arguably, the most important benefit of the ServiceChannel deployment at Ferguson was the visibility and insights the team gained through the platform’s embedded analytics. Having access to enterprise-wide analytics with the ability to generate custom reports on-demand has improved many areas of the company’s FM operations including:

  • Cost containment by having the ability to make data-driven spending decisions and establishing best practices such as NTE pricing
  • Improved vendor performance management using service provider-specific data and reports
  • Improved budgeting and planning cycles using both real-time and historical trend data


Ferguson is rolling out ServiceChannel through a systematic, multi-phase deployment plan. The FM team has deployed Service Automation in almost 800 stores so far and reports highly positive feedback, with “not a bad word said” from any of the users. Significant results and insights gained to date include:

  • Work order efficiency through NTE pricing optimization: Using ServiceChannel has decreased the need to generate proposals for work orders by 57% in just eight months. Additionally, the number of work orders that require NTE pricing increases has also decreased by 77% during the same time period.
  • Vendor performance: First time completion rates for work orders has doubled in just four months while on-time arrival rates for vendors has gone up by 107% during the same time period. Overall, Ferguson’s scorecard grade for service providers has improved from a “D” to a “B”.

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