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Leaders for Life was developed by BigChange in partnership with road safety charity Brake, and is supported by the racing driver Nicolas Hamilton and several prominent business leaders.

BigChange and Brake launch life-saving campaign for safer driving at work

  • BigChange offering free driver monitoring technology to inspire road safety improvements
  • Campaign supporters include road safety charity Brake and British racing driver Nic Hamilton (Brother of Lewis)
  • Official figures published today reveal that 1,793 people were killed on UK roads last year
  • Leeds, UK, 27 September 2018 – BigChange, the mobile workforce management technology company, today announced the launch of Leaders for Life, a new campaign designed to turn business leaders into role models for road safety and reduce the number of people killed on Britain’s roads by people driving for work.

Department for Transport today published figures today revealing that there were 1,793 reported road deaths in Britain in 2017, five a day on average, and 170,993 casualties of all severities.

Leaders for Life was developed by BigChange in partnership with road safety charity Brake, and is supported by the racing driver Nicolas Hamilton and several prominent business leaders. BigChange is offering its driving analysis technology free of charge to the leaders of medium and large UK businesses, to help them understand how safe their driving is and take steps to improve it.

BigChange is providing its driving analysis technology free of charge to business leaders so that aspects such as speed, braking, acceleration and cornering can be evaluated. It will provide confidential feedback on leaders’ driving habits and donate £1,000 each month to Brake on behalf of the best and most improved drivers. BigChange’s technology is already used to monitor the driving habits of 20,000 company drivers in the UK.

BigChange aims to recruit more than 1,000 business leaders to support its campaign by acting as role models for road safety by the end of the year. Des Evans OBE, formerly managing director of MAN Truck & Bus UK, Richard Burnett, Chief Executive of the Road Haulage Association, and the British racing driver Nic Hamilton are among the leaders who have already agreed to take part in the campaign.

Martin Port, CEO of BigChange, comments: “The technology now exists to monitor how safely people drive in a cost-effective and non-intrusive way, yet far too many companies simply pay lip service to road safety and do nothing to encourage better driving by their employees. More than 500 people are killed each year by people driving for work in the UK, we are launching Leaders for Life to reduce this number by making business leaders role models for road safety.”

Mary Williams OBE, chief executive at Brake, comments: “More than a fifth of all deaths and serious injuries on our roads involve someone driving for work. This statistic is a stark illustration of why CEOs must make safe driving a priority for their business. Brake is proud to support Leaders for Life, a fantastic initiative from BigChange, which helps CEOs to lead by example and promote safe driving behaviour to their employees.”

Nic Hamilton, racing driver and ambassador for the Leaders for Life campaign, comments: “The place for rapid acceleration, driving quickly, braking late and cornering at speed is for the track, not the road, and even for racing you have to earn your stripes and complete a test to get your licence. It’s fantastic to see BigChange and Brake engaging business leaders as role models for safer driving in this campaign. I am delighted to be supporting the Leaders for Life campaign and I would urge all business leaders to sign up and play their part in reducing risk on Britain’s roads.”

Business leaders wishing to be ambassadors for safer driving can register to support the Leaders for Life campaign at https://www.bigchange.com/leadersforlife/.

ENDS


Martin Port
Founder & CEO

Reading the headlines in the newspapers you’d be forgiven for thinking that the UK is going to hell in a handcart.

Brexit. The spectre of recession. Talent shortages. Britain’s economy is under siege. This is why I am delighted to announce that BigChange is bucking the trend to post a record third quarter.

So far this year, new contract wins have surpassed the £10m mark, a 50% increase on 2017. We have welcomed 170 new customers into the business over the last nine months. Our existing customer base remains loyal and committed to our service too: we now have a total of 800 customers in the UK, Scandinavia, France, Cyprus, Australia and the US.

We couldn’t have done it without you!

I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all our customers, existing and new, for your faith in us and your continued commitment to BigChange. Over the past few months, I’ve been blogging regularly about the ways that BigChange hopes to make a difference to your business. Here are some of the highlights:

You can read some of our customer case studies, featuring incredible brands like Housing Unit, FSH, Complete Business solutions and GAP Group on our website www.bigchange.com/about-us/news-blog/

I also want to thank the spectacular team at BigChange, who have worked tirelessly to support our incredible growth. We now employ more than 90 people between the UK and France. As a testament to our internal talent, we have promoted many team members this year, helping them to progress in their chosen fields and careers. We continue to introduce lots of new talent to the company to make sure we can support our future growth.

As mentioned last week in my blog Pain and sorrow of recruitment, we are looking to recruit another 25 people over the next 12 months. These roles include: developers, project managers, business advisors, and RoadCrew customer support. Finding great new people is always a challenge so if you, or someone you know, are keen to join a fast-growth tech company in the UK’s greatest city – Leeds – get in touch!

Our commitment to innovation

I’m excited to announce the launch of our new Business Advisory team, which will focus on helping our customers to meet their growth goals, helping you to get the most out of the BigChange service offering.

This team will offer regular review meetings, workflow integration optimisation, training, report writing, custom reports and automation to help deliver further return on investment to our JobWatch customers. Interested? Contact the RoadCrew team for further information.

The innovation doesn’t end there. We have now launched our booking app, and have seen an excellent take up. It will revolutionise the way your business manages both planned and reactive bookings.

Our lab development team has been hard at work developing new features such as our new Collaboration tool, which allows two separate companies to share a job. Collaboration manages the whole process, from booking to scheduling jobs, and even takes care of health and safety and workflow using the managing company’s own templates. At a recent shop floor day, I connected two companies in the door industry using our new tool. I look forward to posting an update on how that relationship benefited both firms. Other developments include:-

  • Rating Tables – will allow users to price jobs based off worksheet questions, allows bespoke pricing and quoting on site.
  • Worksheet icons answer type – hugely popular for faster worksheet completion and easier to understand for users moving from paper systems with tick sheets.
  • User event logging – enhanced audit trails of users log in activities, exports and various other interactions.
  • Collaboration – ability to pass jobs from one customer to another and passing worksheets via this method.
  • Photo history and multiple file upload on devices – view all historical photos on device at job location and upload multiple photos or files on devices in one action.

Other notable changes; Incoming call popup. Shared credit limit to descendent contacts. DSAR – data subject access requests now possible in one simple action via admin section. Enhanced Sage 50 link

A great place to work

We are also excited about our new office at Thorpe Park Leeds. We were getting a bit cramped at our old site so it’s been a dream to move into this 10,000 sq ft modern building. Moving was a headache read my blog I Survivor office move but it was worth it to have this great working environment for both the team and our customers.

We must be doing something right. We keep winning awards for our success!

Recent notable awards include: The Deloitte Technology Fast 50, The Sunday Times Tech Track 100, The LinkedIn Top 10 Startups to Watch Outside London , The Brake Fleet Safety Innovation Award, SHD 2018 Logistics Award “EDITORS CHOICE AWARD” BigChange in partnership with Silentnight Beds. We were also shortlisted for the IOD CSR award this year, and hailed as “one to watch” in the LDC Top 50 Most Ambitious Business Leaders programme, supported by The Telegraph.

Charitable work

Last but not least, BigChange continues to support many charitable organisations that are close to our hearts. We now donate to more than 25 brilliant charities that do incredible work in Leeds and beyond.

I was proud to be made an ambassador for Transaid after personally visiting Zambia with the charity earlier this year. I saw for myself the incredible work done on the ground fighting malaria in Serenje and visited the driver training school in Lusaka. If you want to support this great cause, find out more here: http://www.transaid.org/

Thanks for tuning in to this update on our progress. Normal blog service will resume next week!


Martin Port
Founder & CEO

BigChange, the mobile workforce technology company, today published new research revealing that almost half (40 percent) of UK motorists believe Top Gear and The Grand Tour motoring shows promote faster and more dangerous driving.

Martin Port, the technology entrepreneur and founder of BigChange, which recently launched the Leaders for Life road safety campaign to reduce the number of people killed and injured on UK roads by people driving for work, branded the motoring shows “irresponsible” and called on their producers to do more to encourage safer driving.

In a study of 1,000 UK motorists, which was conducted by the research consultancy Opinium, BigChange discovered that:

  • Men were more likely to condemn Top Gear and The Grand Tour. 42 percent of male drivers felt these shows promoted faster and more dangerous driving, compared to 35 percent of women.
  • 47 percent of motorists aged over 55 disapproved of the example set by these motoring shows (compared to 37 percent of 18-34 year olds)
  • One in three (32 percent) road users admit to exceeding the speed limit every week, while nine percent – more than 3 million motorists nationwide – say they race around every day.

Martin Port, founder and CEO of BigChange, comments:

“Top Gear and The Grand Tour are entertaining, but they are also highly irresponsible. They focus on big, powerful cars, promote a ‘lad culture’ at the wheel and glamorize driving at speed. With five people being killed on the UK’s roads on a daily basis and millions of drivers driving too fast each and every day, these popular and influential shows could and should do more to encourage safer driving behaviours.”

As an entrepreneur, you face new and complex challenges all the time. But however hard you try, there’s just one problem that never goes away. How to consistently find enough brilliant people to meet the demands of a growing business…

I know this is an age-old problem but it’s one of my biggest sources of frustration right now. I don’t think there’s ever been a tougher time to recruit people. Unemployment is at a record low in this country; just 4pc of the population is out of work. That’s great but it also means that competition for staff is at an all-time high. No wonder wages are rising at their fastest rate for almost a decade right now.

I feel as though I’m personally responsible for a good chunk of that salary rise, by the way. Not because I’m paying over the odds for our people at BigChange but because of the sheer number of people who have applied for a job here, only to be offered an extraordinary pay rise by their current employer to keep them. Around 60pc of the people we try to bring on are lured back by an offer they can’t refuse: more money; a better job title; and very little extra work to do to earn it.

It takes a very special kind of person to leave a steady 9-5 at a big company to work at a fast-growth start-up like ours. I don’t sugarcoat it for prospective staff either. The hours can be long, and the role is always varied. We pay well and there are great perks, but if you just want to clock off early, this isn’t the place for you.

We need to recruit three or four people a month to meet the needs of this growing company. These roles are across the business, from customer services to sales, development to professional services. We’re even trying to recruit a HR director to help expedite all the other hiring we need to do (does this sound like you? Drop me a message).

Right now, we are spending around eight hours on each new prospect, which is a huge waste of time when they go back to their existing employer, who panics and promises them the earth.

I’m trying to work out how to solve this problem, and increase the proportion of candidates that turn into team members. So this is my new strategy. I’m going to throw money at the problem. If we don’t use an agency, which means we can raise our salary offers by 15-20%. We currently incentivise our team members to recommend new people by giving them £500 for each new hire. I’m raising this to £1,000. I’ve got a copywriter putting together a full-page job advertisement to run in the local paper. We need to be better at shouting about all the opportunities here: many of our people have gone from a starting salary to £50,000 within four years. That’s got to be attractive idea, right?

We have also started hiring more people than we need for certain roles, and opting for starters who are bit more junior or less experienced, and training them up in-house. I’m planning to start attending more job fairs, and using social media – like LinkedIn – to source great talent. We already give out a wave of share options to existing employees each year but perhaps that would be a sweetener for new starters too? Am I missing anything? If you have any ideas, I would be delighted to hear from you.

There are 90 people at BigChange right now. These people are my priority. I don’t want them to get stressed out and overworked because we can’t hire enough new team members. At the same time, you only want to employ the right people for the business. We don’t want people who are being forced out of their last job because of issues there. We want the people who are at the top of their game, and excited about the next chapter of their career.

Recruitment is a major challenge but I’ll tell you this: I’m not revising any of my growth plans for BigChange. We’re going to keep going, winning new business and punching above our weight in our sector. I just hope that we find the solution to our people challenges soon, or I’ll just have to start cloning the stars in my organisation… Actually, is that an option?


Martin Port
Founder & CEO

FSH, the one-stop construction company servicing the north of England, has transformed its business with a 5 in 1 management system from BigChange.

Operating as a cloud service linked to mobile apps used by workers onsite, the solution provides FSH with real time operational information for improving efficiency, productivity and service.

Employing 132 mobile tradesmen and 65 office staff, the Castleford headquartered company has regional offices in Hull, Liverpool and Newcastle-upon-Tyne. FSH specialises in insurance-related work, typically repairing flood or fire damaged properties. A new construction arm handing reactive maintenance work is also driving expansion in sectors such as social housing and education.

With a fleet of 132 BigChange equipped vehicles providing live data for managing operations, tradesmen are being equipped with rugged Samsung tablets running JobWatch. Mobile apps completely replace paperwork with live data reporting and the devices capture useful time and location stamped photographs, as well as customer signatures.

Matthew Cappleman, Managing Director of FSH, comments:

“We work mainly for the UK’s biggest insurance firms and providing a consistent high quality rebuild and refurbishment service is absolutely vital,”

“The monitoring and reporting of our work on site is however just as important and that’s where BigChange comes in. It gives real-time visibility of every job and provides an audit trail of all work. That means we can not only manage work better and improve customer service, but we can also provide insurers with immediate job updates and evidence of work done.”

Operationally JobWatch is used from job start to completion with tradesmen receiving jobs scheduled by BigChange. The devices are used for daily vehicle checks and on departure the tablets are clipped in dashboard cradles to provide navigation to the job location. On arrival, JobWatch ensures the tradesman completes a risk assessment and captures photographs showing the current state of the work site – with photographs repeated at the end of the day.

Cappleman added:

“BigChange really does expedite everything as our tradesman can go straight to the job and put in a full, productive 8 hour day. The system also ensures good work discipline and good practice as the tradesmen are in effect self-managing their work, backed up with their reports and photographs. With JobWatch there is no more sitting around and managers no longer need to go onsite to check the work. Everyone wins.”

With the entire fleet tracked, FSH has an instant view of all vehicle locations. This allows tradesmen working on reactive maintenance to be dynamically re-scheduled to urgent jobs, gives customer services valuable insight into any delays arriving onsite and also helps in the quick retrieval of stolen vans. However according to FSH, it’s the logged data that is of particular value.

Matthew Cappleman continued:

“BigChange logs vehicle movements so we’ve always got evidence of arrival and departure times should queries arise. The data helps us check timesheets, monitor unauthorised mileage and spot poor driving. With weekly driver performance reports we have seen an all-around improvement in driving and not only is that good for staff safety on the road but ultimately it means less vehicle wear and tear and better fuel consumption.”

Stuart Welburn, Finance Director at FSH agrees that BigChange has had a positive impact, added:

“Certainly BigChange has been good for business and we estimate efficiency gains of 2 or 3 percent. However, we anticipate it will improve our profitability not only through better utilisation of our resources, but by generally improving our services to continually improve our reputation and win more business.”

BigChange FSH employee in van

Complete Business Solutions, one of the UK’s leading providers of business supplies and services, has transformed its delivery operations with a 5-in-1 cloud-based management and mobile working system from BigChange.

The Wakefield-headquartered company, which has 20 branches nationwide and operates a fleet of 150 vehicles, is equipping its drivers, installers and technical service engineers with mobile devices running a series of apps to completely replace paperwork.

The mobile apps are part of JobWatch, the multi-award winning innovation from Leeds-based BigChange. The first phase of implementation includes electronic proof of delivery (POD) with a sign-on-glass app that connects in real time to Complete Business Solutions’ accounts system, part of their own ERP system called Horizon. This integration means that customers now receive an immediate confirmation of delivery and allows invoices to be raised straight away.

Through JobWatch, deliveries are planned and scheduled, with drivers receiving their delivery schedule on their smartphones. Vehicles are also equipped with BigChange satellite trackers giving customer services a live view of vehicle locations and expected delivery times; information that will soon be provided to customers through text or email ETA alerts.

Chris Newman, Group Operations Director at Complete Business Solutions, comments:

“BigChange really has made a big change to our business”

Newman added:

“We now have a seamless, paperless system all the way from order to invoice. By receiving electronic PODs we have immediate and accurate information and we’ve eliminated the subsequent data entry – something that was proving to be a huge burden as the business grew.”

The company is also using JobWatch apps for vehicle checks by drivers, allowing instant electronic reporting for improved compliance management and in the case of defects, easier maintenance scheduling. Electronic worksheets have been developed for use by installers that will include time and location stamped photographs of installations, and also worksheets and test reports for mobile engineers servicing office equipment.

Complete Business Solutions is a unique business offering virtually everything a business needs to operate, from one single supplier, from chairs to photocopiers, to vending machines and paper clips, as well as company stationery and print. Complete has 16 in house specialist divisions with real expertise in each one, and end to end control.

Newman continued:

“We don’t just deliver the last mile, our drivers go the last inch, to the right place on the right floor, and that’s why we run our own fleet and employ our own drivers.”

“With such a wide mix of products and services our logistics are challenging, particularly as we operate 20 branches and 16 specialist divisions and we are continually acquiring new businesses. It’s not a challenge others want to take on but we’ve built the business based on what people want. The appeal of one single supplier for everything they need at the right quality and the right price and it is proving to be a winner.”

Newman concludes:

“The introduction of BigChange provides us an excellent and unrestricted IT platform so that we can continue to expand without being restrained by our IT and resources. The management information provided by BigChange is also proving to be a real asset and we have all sorts of useful data we didn’t have before. It’s allowing us to analyse deliveries per van, driver performance, optimisation of routes and stock holding as well as helping us meet our ISO environmental targets.”

BigChange delivery driver van

In business, as in life, there are always people who are resistant to change.

Now that I’m on my third business, I have realised that these obstinate individuals pose a real risk to the growth of an innovative company. They are far more dangerous than they may at first appear.

You know the kind of person I’m talking about:

“We’ve always done it this way and it works fine.”

“It can’t be done.”

“We’re too busy to try that.”

As a leader, it is my job to make sure that everyone in my team is pulling in the same direction, and that they are united by a common goal or dream. It is also my job to help my colleagues deal with blockers on the customer side. Here’s how you do it.

Spotting a blocker

If only this were easy. Unfortunately, blockers come in many guises. The most obvious is the “negative” blocker, who always finds a reason why something can’t be done. But there are also “silent” blockers, who hinder change simply by withholding an opinion or refusing to engage. “Agreeable” blockers are by far the trickiest customers to deal with. They will agree with your plan for change and even seem to be fully behind you… Then do all they can to block you behind the scenes.

Remember that blockers often think that they are indispensable to the business. Look out for arrogance or stubbornness. One common thread amongst blockers is that they refuse to be transparent about their role – they may be lax on paperwork or process, because they feel they are above these petty tasks. If they seem mistrustful of other departments, and are quick to criticise colleagues, that may reveal a tendency to block. If their idea of what constitutes their role is too narrow and intractable, that’s another dead giveaway.

Blockers rarely have original ideas, so ask your team to suggest innovations that could improve the company – or tweaks that would improve current processes. Individuals who consistently fail to contribute any new ideas may be blockers.

Avoid hiring a blocker

You can weed out blockers at the interview stage, if you know what you’re looking for. Ask prospective colleagues to tell you about a time they have effected change at their previous company. You want to gauge whether this individual is someone who gets excited about bringing new projects to life.

Ask how they have dealt with resistance from others – and make sure questions are open: nothing that can be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

It’s great when you find a new member of the team that isn’t afraid to question the status quo – but be wary of people who are simply argumentative or intolerant. Body language can be revealing: arms folded, or sitting back in their seat? This could be evidence of a disengaged individual.

Can you rehabilitate a blocker?

Not every blocker is a true blocker at heart. You can’t change people’s nature but there are instances where someone who isn’t a blocker may behave like one. They may lack motivation, or need more responsibility.

One way to tackle a blocker in your midst is to give them an opportunity to talk about why they are frustrated in their role. Allow them to make their own suggestions for ways to improve performance. It may seem counter intuitive but sometimes, giving a blocker more control over the change – and incentivising them to be invested in its success – can help.

Some blockers are simply insecure and reluctant to let others shine in case it draws attention to their failings. Training that helps the blocker address gaps in their skillset can help. But it’s important to know when the case is hopeless. Watch out for individuals who say things like: “This place would never survive without me” or “What I say goes”.

Encourage new ideas

One way to ensure that you don’t start harbouring blockers in your organisation is to create an environment that encourages new ideas and collaboration. A great way to do this, according to one of my senior managers, is to hold regular problem-solving meetings that involve people from across different departments. By throwing people together in this way, they learn a new appreciation for the challenges and stresses faced by colleagues.

As a leader, we also have to guard against our own blocking tendencies: don’t let ‘no’ be your first thought when new ideas are presented. If someone suggests an idea that has been rejected before, take the time to explain why – but maintain an open mind. Maybe the situation has changed?

Blockers exist in almost every organisation. Don’t let them hold you back.

I’d love to hear your views and strategies for managing those who are resistant to change. Share your experience of dealing with blockers in the comments below.


Martin Port
Founder & CEO

BigChange

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