East Lothian based R3 Repairs maintain over 8,000 properties for 4 housing providers (including the in-house client East Lothian Housing Association), plus work for private customers spread over 1,200 square miles from Edinburgh down to the Borders.
Over the last year R3 have invested heavily in creating a Right first time 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.