Saxon Weald, a Horsham based Housing Association with around 4,000 properties, has successfully implemented Service Connect to manage their in-house Void and Planned Works teams. The solution was implemented in under a month and is expected to deliver significant efficiency improvements across all aspects of the business process.
East Midlands Housing Group have chosen Service Connect from Cloud Dialogs to provide a complete software solution for all aspects of property maintenance including booking and scheduling repairs appointments. EMHG has a strong focus on customer service and harmonising the systems across the group will ensure a consistently high level of service is delivered at all times.
Wrexham Council have implemented the Void Management solution within Service Connect as part of a project to streamline the management of this work stream. Wrexham use external contractors and the previous process was very paper based. Now the initial inspection is completed on a tablet and detailed reports are automatically sent to the relevant contractors. Progress is monitored on-line using Service Connects powerful Planning Board and contractors view and update work electronically through the embedded Contractor Portal.
Charnwood Borough Council’s Property Services and Asset Management teams have chosen Service Connect to support their drive to deliver significant efficiency savings across the business.
Service Connect is providing a fully integrated solution for both in-house delivered services and management of external contractors. Back-office admin is being replaced by mobile staff recording information at source and paperwork, exception reports and emails have been replaced by on-line high-light reports and action lists.
Watford Community Housing Trust are implementing Service Connect as a single, business wide solution for all repairs and property services management.
Voids were the first team to go-live as this part of the business was previously run largely on a series of spreadsheets, the newly created in-house Gas Servicing team was next and reactive repairs completes the picture.
The improved control and management information available across the business were the project drivers with comprehensive integration to both Watford’s Orchard and Keystone systems being achieved.
Acclaim Housing Group has chosen Cloud Dialogs to mobilise the group’s housing staff.
The new system gives all housing staff access to housing, property and tenancy data via their tablets when out of the office plus the ability to complete any required forms electronically. More importantly, the system provides a CRM capability to view case notes and add new notes and actions while with the customer.
Acclaim chose Cloud Dialogs because of the flexibility of the system and its ability to integrate to the multiple core systems in use across the group. Helen Lomas, Head of Business Technology, said, “We wanted to deliver benefits to the business quickly to get everyone excited and to start shaping how we developed the complete solution. We created the integration to our Housing Management System, designed the core forms and went live in just four weeks. We have been continually evolving the solution since then.
“The incremental implementation approach means staff can get experience with mobile working while still designing the solution, it also means managers can get used to the additional information coming back in terms of how staff are spending their time.”
“The business case is very robust, savings in travel time and reduced admin will more than cover the monthly subscription and we can focus on improving the service and being more responsive to customers at point of contact.”
Right first time focus yields big benefits for housing repairs contractor
East Lothian based R3 Repairs maintain over 4,000 properties for 4 housing providers (including the in-house client East Lothian Housing Association) spread over 1,200 square miles from Edinburgh down to the Borders.
Over the last year R3 have invested heavily in creating a â€œRight first timeâ€ culture in everything they do, this clearly has a positive impact on customers’ repairs experience but has also had a dramatic impact on the level of job related admin.
Operatives record every minute of their day in real time, so timesheet processing is a thing of the past; all material use and ordering is recorded via the operatives’ mobile devices, with purchase orders and sub-contractors being managed within the same system so job costs are accurate from the outset.
The Service Connect system analyses every visit as soon as the operative leaves site. Actual costs are compared to the expected cost of the work completed and any possible issues are intelligently flagged and referred to supervisors who check and address any issues immediately.
The result has been a change in the focus of the business, all staff – operatives and office based – are concentrated on making sure every repair is completed quickly, with the biggest improvement seen in jobs where special materials are needed or follow-on work has to be scheduled.
As well as improving service levels, the right first time focus also means that financial information is available as soon as a job is completed, what had been an extensive backlog of invoicing has now been eliminated. Where before admin and finance staff would spend weeks allocating costs from invoices and timesheets to get accurate job costs, now all work is fully costed as it happens. Clients get improved, more accurate information more quickly which results in fewer queries with invoices ready in days instead of weeks or months.
Duncan Mackay, Director at R3 Repairs, explains their approach; Right first time is an on-going journey, you have to have systems that help you see the woods for the trees but you also have to change the way everyone in the business thinks. We spend a lot of time talking to staff about the service our customers want and why it is important for us to constantly become more efficient in how we deliver that service.
Jackie Robinson, R3 Service Manager, adds; eliminating admin is vital both to enable us to help our clients reduce the cost of their repairs and to free up supervisors to focus on service delivery not paperwork. Jobs that used to take days now take seconds and this is allowing us to take on more work without having to increase our office based staff.
BCHG is based in Blackheath in the West Midlands with around 2,000 properties under management. The group’s home improvement agency, Homeforce, has been helping customers remain in their homes for over 25 years and carries out work for Birmingham, Sandwell and Dudley Councils as well as other local businesses.
With modern technology becoming more flexible, BCHG decided to introduce mobile working across the business, starting with Homeforce but quickly rolling out to all Housing staff. IT Manager Steve Kesterton and the Management team at BCHG chose to partner with Cloud Dialogs and kicked off a project to implement their Cloud based Service Connect platform in September.
Just four weeks later the Homeforce team went live with phase 1 of the project – this included the introduction of a dynamic scheduling system for appointment booking, ensuring travel time is minimised and the right staff are booked for every job, plus mobile working for the Homeforce operatives. Paper and spreadsheets disappeared over-night and both office staff and operatives threw themselves enthusiastically into the new way of working.
Steve was delighted; ‘The teams attitude during training and adopting to the new technology have been fantastic; this application is the start of a new era of mobile working and service delivery and the team deserve a lot of credit. It also puts BCHG at the forefront of new technology which is brilliant for us all.’
Nick Jeffreys, Business Development Director at Cloud Dialogs was equally impressed; ‘This is as good as it gets, an organisation that top to bottom has embraced change with nothing but enthusiasm. This project shows the power of strong leadership and proves that the sort of systems previously only available to large organisations can now be accessed by everyone.’
Homeforce is an incredibly reactive business; a large percentage of all work is completed same day and with over a dozen different contracts the team will take on most types of work for most types of customer. Flexibility was very high on the list when looking at potential software systems and Steve wanted a system that BCHG could maintain and adapt themselves so that long-term cost of ownership would be minimised and so that the business could continue to react to new customer demands as quickly as it has done in the past.
Service Connect gives BCHG real-time visibility of performance, both financially and operationally, with electronic material ordering and fully automated time recording and reporting. On the Housing side, the aim is to implement a flexible case and action based solution allowing all staff to have instant access to any information and to eliminate the difference between working in or out of the office.
The 2015 repairs user group met in London yesterday for what proved to be both an exciting and informative day. 100% of attendees fed back that they would like to get involved in product development focus groups, presentations from R3 Repairs and Homes for Haringey were well received and delegates engaged in lively debate around the possibilities for service improvement presented by Service Connect, with Voids and Planned work being the hottest topic of the day.
Cloud Dialogs would like to thank everyone who participated and we look forward to the next event!
Black Country Housing Group has embarked on an exciting and ambitious project to improve the way services are delivered across the group. Initially focusing on the Homeforce team Service Connect will eliminate paperwork, improve appointment booking, give managers greater visibility and provide more detailed cost control. Housing Service are also going to benefit from the introduction of a flexible mobile working and case management solution that will make staff more responsive to customer needs and reduce time spent on follow-up admin.
The Homeforce operatives will start using the system within weeks with the solution evolving around the businesses needs over the coming months.