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Subscan UDS, the nationwide utility, drainage, and survey company, has implemented a high tech mobile workforce system from Leeds technology company BigChange.

The system, which provides a paperless means of planning, managing, scheduling, and tracking mobile operations, has provided Subscan with a 30 percent saving in time and a million-pound growth boost to its business.

Subscan provides a wide range of services aimed at the detection and avoidance of underground utilities, as well as drainage maintenance and repairs. A team of specialist technicians operate across the UK undertaking everything from topographical surveys to underground utility tracing, drainage, CCTV surveying and the lining of drains.

Kirk Mason, Operations Director, Subscan says:

“We go and map areas identifying all structures and utilities above and below ground and then sort out any issues – we deal with all major infrastructure. We offer a full service package from initial survey to remedial work and when needed, new works including design and planning,”

Subscan has been a success story since formation only 7 years ago with steady year on year growth. However the previous IT system was proving to be a barrier to growth and with the move to BigChange the company has been able to expand and turnover is expected to increase from £6 million last year to £9 million in 2020.

Mason says:

“Our previous system only offered partial automation and we wasted a lot of time double touching to keep different systems up to date,”

“What we needed was a seamless flow of data from start to finish with an audit trail of activity. In the end there wasn’t anything that matched BigChange for functionality; it gives us that seamless connectivity and it has replaced 5 separate systems – saving us time and money.”

Subscan has equipped 50 of its field operatives with rugged tablets running JobWatch, the BigChange app for paperless working. Jobs are scheduled and sent to the assigned operative who can proceed straight to the job and with trackers on the fleet, the office has real time visibility of their locations.

Mason explains:

“With BigChange we are now very much paperless; it has been a complete digital transformation and the savings are significant. For time alone we are achieving savings of 30 percent and that’s before we even begin to look at the improved job scheduling and productivity,”

Subscan has a particularly strong commitment to quality and the company is ISO accredited for their management of quality, environmental, and health and safety.

Mason says:

“Our pursuit of quality drives the business – the quality of equipment, quality of people, quality of work and quality of service. BigChange is proving to be an invaluable tool in managing our ISO accreditations as the system ensures best practice procedures are followed at all times. Crucially it also provides an audit of activities and all the information we need to meet the required standards,”

he adds:

“One thing is very clear, since implementing BigChange we simply don’t get KPI failures as we are right on top of the workload and that’s meant we meet out SLA commitments and deliver a level of service we simply could not provide before,”

On site the JobWatch app takes operatives through workflow to ensure the correct procedures are followed and data is collected. The system ensures there is a complete record of every job which is including time and location referenced photographs; this is important for minimising invoice queries and also for supporting ISO accreditations.

Mason explains:

“BigChange has been crucial to allowing us to grow freely and being cloud-based we can add more operatives and services at the touch of a button and when we open up a new office down south next year, we’ll have a ready-made and instantly accessible IT solution already in place; its magic!”

BigChange vehicle tracking is not only useful for providing visibility to operations and customer services back in the office but it is also helping improve the quality of driving. Driver performance based on factors such as speed, braking, cornering and idling is graded automatically and those operatives with high ratings are rewarded with extra holiday vouchers.

Subscan has made a multi-million pound investment in the most advanced fleet of specialist vehicles in the UK. The 60 vehicle fleet includes JHL 312 and 414 recyclers and Mercedes Atego 204 Cityflex units. The JHL SuperRECycler 414, built on a Scania chassis, is the markets most powerful and productive recycling unit and both JHL models have fully automatic water filtration systems that continuously separate water from sludge to subsequently use the cleaned water to clean the sewer. Subscan has also invested in a JCB Fastrac 7230 tractor for rugged terrain operations.

BigChange Subscan van

I was in France last week, meeting the BigChange French team out there. We discussed our progress so far and made plans for the future and then the conversation moved on to the differences between the UK and France.

They have wine with lunch over there, and the break lasts almost two hours so it was a lively debate!

I am a Francophile. I love the food and the culture. But when it comes to working practices, the gulf between the French and us is really striking.

No one can rival the UK for health and safety. We are number one for compliance in Europe, if not the world. We set the standard. My French team told me that France is the opposite: there is simply no understanding of best practice, and compliance is an afterthought rather than a priority.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, the UK has the lowest rate of fatal injury in the European Union at 0.5 per 100,000 employees. In France, that number rises to 3.3. If you look at the number of employees with long-term, work-related heath problems, again, the UK is the best performer, compared to France where more than 5pc of its workforce is affected.

It is clear that France is ready for a big change. We are going to help French companies to build compliance, health and safety, and best practice into their business models in an easy and pain-free way, while becoming more efficient. It’s a no brainer for them.

My team in France also said that customer service levels are nowhere near the high standards we have grown used to in the UK. They told me that when someone comes along with “wow!” customer service, it is really noticeable – new business floods in. We pride ourselves on always putting the customer first.

Of course, there is a lot that we can learn from the French: they are brilliant at complex infrastructure projects and some of the biggest construction firms in the world are based in France. It is also a nation full of highly-skilled workers, especially in areas such as software engineering. Britain is crying out for that kind of talent.

But it fills me with confidence, amidst all the uncertainty around Brexit, that we still clearly have so much to offer. Even after Britain leaves the European Union (if it happens), we have skills and abilities that countries like France desperately need and vice-versa.

It’s only 27 miles between Dover and Calais but France and the UK are worlds apart. I look forward to learning from our French cousins, and bringing all our experience to bear to help French companies thrive.

Martin Port
Founder & CEO

Vianet, the international provider of actionable data and business insight through devices connected to its Internet of Things (“IOT”) platform, has rolled out a 5-in-1 Mobile Workforce Management Platform from Leeds-based BigChange.

The cloud-based system provides intelligent job scheduling, real time-vehicle tracking and a mobile app for engineers – giving Vianet a paperless end-to-end solution for the business. Through the optimisation of the field service operation, Vianet has achieved a 10 percent improvement in Service Level Agreement (SLA) performance.

Vianet was first established 23 years ago and is the UK’s specialist in the monitoring of draught beer dispensing equipment. The Stockton-on-Tees based company collects data from 12,500 sites which dispense over 570 million pints of draught beer every year. The company also provides contactless payment and ERP solutions for some of the biggest names in the vending industry, combined Vianet monitor data from more than 230,000 connected devices providing detailed insight via its smart platform.

Craig Brocklehurst, Commercial Operations Director, Vianet says:

“BigChange has completely transformed Vianet’s field service operations.”

“We now have complete visibility on the whereabouts and status of each engineer so we can provide a faster, more dynamic response. And we’ve eliminated paperwork and with automated job scheduling the whole field service operation is optimised. That’s boosting productivity and allowed us to improve our SLA performance by 10 percent.”

Vianet’s iDraught system intelligently monitors all aspects of the draught beer operations. This helps to ensure quality and product yield is maintained also ensuring equipment is working properly so that the pub operator gets the best return from their draught products.

“The equipment monitoring is automated to the extent that the landlord may not actually be aware of any issues until they get a call from us saying we believe we may have identified an issue”

Brocklehurst explains.

In pubs and bars, Vianet’s systems monitor dispensing equipment with automated alerts if there is a drop in performance or a fault. Within BigChange jobs are then created and the closest engineer is immediately assigned and scheduled. Equipped with rugged tablets, engineers use the BigChange JobWatch app for their job inspections and reports, including photographs of the site on arrival and on completion of the job.

With around 2000 calls a month, Vianet’s 24 engineers install and maintain their monitoring equipment for both draught drinks dispensing and vending across the UK. With real-time tracking, the office has full visibility of the location of each engineer allowing jobs to be dynamically scheduled. BigChange also monitors driver performance which is displayed on the engineers’ login screen to maintain awareness and encourage good, safe driving. The tablets are also used for daily vehicle checks in place of paper reports.

Brocklehurst says:

“Using JobWatch gives us a complete, real-time view of all jobs, backed up with time and location data linked to comprehensive and accurate reports. So, we are much better informed and we can closely monitor work performance from afar and increase the knowledge we have which in turn helps us in the training of our engineers. All this has significantly reduced the need for on site inspections by team leaders and again this allows us to be more productive as a company,”

With BigChange ensuring more reliable and comprehensive information from the field – in real time – Vianet can provide much better proof of service. For work that falls outside the usual contract, such as damaged equipment, invoices can be raised much more quickly.

Vianet particularly like the flexibility and scalability of BigChange according to Brocklehurst:

“BigChange has been a revelation when it comes to sales and customer relations. Just about anything we are asked to do we can now do as the system can be configured accordingly. We can create our own workflows and job sheets and adapt the system to the specific needs of different customers; that gives us an invaluable competitive edge.”

BigChange employee at computer

I think it’s important to recognise the people that have helped BigChange become a truly great company.

Those who are making this a great place to work, great at customer service; and great with suppliers. Our new receptionist has had a profound impact on BigChange. So, this blog is about Georgia.

I first met Georgia last year, when we had our Christmas party at Thorpe Park, just down the road from our offices. She was working there in a sales role, and helped to manage our booking. She said that she was on the lookout for a big change in her career, so we stayed in touch. When a front of house role opened up, she applied.

Georgia has been with us just three months but she’s made some incredible changes that are making life better for all of us.

We have six customer meeting rooms here and, every day, most are full. Georgia sends an email link from our JobWatch system to everyone at the company each day, letting us know which prospects and customers are coming in, when, and in what room. I can just pop in and greet our customer or prospective client. Someone from customer service can go say hello too. It makes people feel really welcome and valued.

She has brought in afternoon “pick-me-ups”, and always keeps the office well stocked with healthy snacks (as well as a drawer of Mars bars) to give us all a little boost if we are starting to flag after lunch.

Regarding managing our facilities we try to use our customers for all the work we can, from security services to electrical jobs and plumbing. All of these jobs are managed by Georgia, using our JobWatch system. She knows everyone, and the whole thing runs like clockwork.

Georgia has taken on the role of events coordinator, organising a Macmillan coffee morning at the office, and taking charge of the Christmas party, as well as our Secret Santa and Christmas jumper competition. Having someone who wants to take ownership of the social calendar, and is talented at organising fun and inclusive events, has been amazing for morale.

I never want to force my team to do things like Secret Santa or charity bake-offs. It’s important that these initiatives are decided by the team and organised by them too. Georgia knows the things that her colleagues love to do, and takes the time to make them happen.

I can’t tell you how important the receptionist role is at a growing company. But I shouldn’t call Georgia a receptionist, really. She’s much more than that. She’s a facilities manager, an events organiser, the face of the company, and the first point of contact many customers have with BigChange. She is invaluable.

I know that I employ a first-rate team here. But when people visit the office or call in, their first interaction is usually with Georgia. The fact that she makes everyone feel welcome, greeting everyone in that brilliant Scouse accent, is the icing on the cake.

Martin Port
Founder & CEO

In Jobwatch you can now see both the current and 5-day weather forecast for the location of your jobs.

Does the weather affect when you can complete your jobs? This great new feature from BigChange makes it easier for you to plan ahead for work that can be affected by the elements.

When creating a job, once the contact’s location has been auto-populated, you will now see that a weather icon at the top right showing the current weather at the location is displayed.

BigChange new job weather

Hovering over the icon will display descriptive text, whilst clicking on it will display the forecast for the next 5 days at the job’s location in 3 hourly increments:

BigChange weather display

When you view a job after it has been scheduled, the weather icon displays lower down and shows the predicted weather for the actual date and time of the job.

View the video included below, which showcases this useful new addition in full:

Automatic fire suppression specialist, Fireward Ltd, has rolled out high-tech mobile workforce management software, providing real-time visibility to field operations within the business.

The App-based software, JobWatch sees field-based engineers equipped with rugged tablets, replacing all need for physical paperwork, delivering a 5-in-1 business solution incorporating a CRM, job scheduling, tracking, invoicing and management reporting.

Formed in 2009, Fireward is regarded as the UK’s leading specialist in fire suppression systems for mobile and heavy plant machinery and equipment. The Chelmsford-based company installs, maintains and services systems manufactured by Reacton Fire Suppression Ltd, which detects and suppresses fires in a matter of seconds. Requiring no electricity to operate and with exceptional reliability, Fireward’s fire suppression systems protect a wide range of high-value assets from plant machinery & equipment to electrical control panels, buses & coaches to airport ground support equipment.

Edward Barnes, CEO of Fireward commented:

“Fire is often overlooked as a cause of disruption and as a serious risk to the business itself. The immediate physical damage is only part of the problem caused by a fire; the costs of operational disruption and reputational damage often far exceed the cost of the original damage. Without adequate protection, it can take just a matter of minutes to bring a company to its knees.”

Fireward’s certified engineers install, maintain and service fire suppression systems across the UK. Providing a rapid response service, engineers use their tablets, for everything from risk assessment and post-fire reports to job checklists and vehicle inspections.

Barnes, comments:

“We were pleased to discover BigChange at a show back in 2016. We had been through a long and unsuccessful process trying to get three different systems working for our business and all had failed. Due to the ease of set-up, we were able to implement the system ourselves in just two weeks,”

“With BigChange we now have a system that supports our business model providing many benefits in terms of efficiency, productivity and customer service.”

Fireward’s fleet of nationwide vehicles is fitted with BigChange trackers, providing the customer service team with full visibility of engineer locations and a record of arrival and departure times from site. The location and condition of plant and other assets are key factors in assessing the risk of fire and the tablets are used to record ‘time and location’ linked photographs. With the ability to capture a customer’s signature ‘on-screen’ via the app, there is immediate proof of every job completed, allowing for a streamlined invoicing process resulting in fewer billing queries.

Barnes adds:

“BigChange supports our company ethos, which we achieve with a modest team in place. JobWatch has not only allowed us to do five times more services a month but has allowed us to freely expand our business where we are now installing well in excess of 1200 new systems a year,”

Some of the favoured features by the Fireward team include the job allocation and scheduling features of the system, which sees ‘jobs’ added to an ‘unscheduled’ list, allowing for all outstanding jobs to be reviewed in one place before allocation, depending on engineer location and availability.

The CRM software meanwhile has become a useful tool for the Fireward sales team. As well as allowing customer locations to be pinpointed to aid streamlining customer visits, the team has utilised the BigChange software to connect a comprehensive list of plant machinery and equipment to a correctly specified fire suppression system, allowing for fast and accurate quotations.

With the Fireward engineers working remotely across the UK, they need to have the ability to effectively manage their stock levels without causing downtime and potential loss of business. With the help of the JobWatch tablet, engineers are now able to track and replenish their van stocks with ease, as well as the ability to record and review all stock movements, parts and equipment used during the process of installation, maintenance and servicing of Fireward’s fire suppression systems.

BigChange Fireward quote

BigChange brings you another paperless solution that allows you to automatically and seamlessly capture digital signatures and customise acceptance information, issuing a digital receipt when the document is signed.

This very exciting new function gives customers the ability to ‘legally’ accept quotations and order forms/contracts through JobWatch.

Upon acceptance of a quote, a “Certificate of Completion” is created and sent alongside the quote, which shows:

  • signatories details;
  • times and dates of receiving/viewing/completing the document;
  • the IP address from the computer which signed the document;
  • the operating system and much more.

All of this ensures a legally binding quotation/contract.

Take a look at the helpful video below, which will explain the new feature in more detail and guide you through exactly how to do it:

BigChange, the mobile workforce management company, today announced that it has appointed Jo Godsmark as its Chief Operating Officer.

Jo will lead the company’s customer-facing activities in this new role, managing teams responsible for implementing BigChange’s award-winning JobWatch technology and training users, as well as its account management, customer service, and consulting activities.

A fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport, Jo has 30 years’ experience working in manufacturing, supply chain and logistics environments. She has previously worked for Mars Inc. and the Ford Motor Company, Jo joined BigChange in January 2019 with the acquisition of her company Labyrinth Logistics Consulting.

Jo’s promotion coincides with a prolonged period of growth at BigChange. The company was recognised recently as one of the UK’s fastest-growing privately-owned technology businesses, with annualised sales growth of 77 percent over the last three years.

Martin Port, founder and CEO of BigChange, comments:

“Jo has made a big impact at BigChange, integrating Labyrinth successfully and expanding our consulting capabilities. With the continued growth of BigChange, it has become increasingly important to have someone of Jo’s calibre looking across the operational side of the business to ensure that it runs smoothly for our customers.”

Jo Godsmark, Chief Operating Officer, comments:

“I am very excited to take on this new role at BigChange. This is clearly a company going in the right direction, creating growth, new opportunities and incredible value for customers. I’m looking forward to supporting that further by working across the BigChange business.”

BigChange provides a pioneering mobile workforce management management system called JobWatch that is used by over 1,000 organisations and 35,000 individual users globally. JobWatch combines CRM, smart job scheduling, vehicle tracking, and a series of mobile applications to eliminate paper record keeping, automate manual processes, and facilitate collaboration between companies on the go. BigChange works primarily with organisations in the construction, facilities management, field service, transportation, logistics, and waste management industries.

It’s been a while since we last sat down with Paul, the Network’s Managing Director, to chat. Here’s what he had to say when we asked for an update:

BigChange: Please remind us of what the Network is.

Paul: The BigChange Network allows our customers to work with other businesses seamlessly, whilst maintaining control of their documentation, updates, controls and alerts. Businesses can win or offer work, and it’s especially useful where they don’t have the geographical reach or right skillset to deliver a service for their client, or they want to grow their business.

BigChange: How has the Network grown over the last year?

Paul: We’ve seen terrific growth of the Network across the last year and now have over 170 businesses using the system to support them. It’s growing all the time!

BigChange: What are your Network highlights so far; are there any particular successes that stand out to you?

Paul: There are a number of areas. The running of regular events that allow customers to meet with others wanting to work together; these have proved very successful. Also, supporting customers with highlighting particular service offerings they have or where they’ve been looking to find others to work for them on particular projects, have resulted in very positive outcomes. We’re also spending time talking to customers to find out what else they want from our Network and putting these suggestions into future development specifications.

BigChange: What should users and potential users be looking forward to in the coming months?

Paul: We will be spending time meeting customers to understand how we can support them further. There’re also more events coming that will be held across the UK, along with industry specific events held at our offices in Leeds. They’re a great way to network with other like-minded businesses. We are also currently working on new developments that will bring added functionality when using our Network.

BigChange: Is it easy to join the Network? Is there a cost?

Paul: It’s very simple to join our Network – it can be done right from within our system by clicking on the Network tab. There’s no cost to use the Network.

BigChange: Can I offer my services to others via the Network?

Paul: Yes. We are currently supporting customers to do this by sharing their details with all our customers using our system. Please contact us at In future developments we will be adding a jobs board where this can then be directly done via the system.

BigChange: How can I find out more?

Paul: You can find out more about the BigChange Network by visiting We look forward to hearing from you!

BigChange Network Paul Whitter

Around this time last year, I posted about “blockers”. These are the people in an organisation who resist change and stand in the way of progress

Blockers are a nightmare. They can be hard to spot and may drag the whole team down with them. But they are not the only threat to your business. I’m talking about: the “comfort zoner”.

This is someone who wants to change but refuses to take action to make it happen. They just keep doing things the way they have always been done. I have met a few of these in my time and it drives me mad.

We recently released a new feature called the BigChange Scheduling Assistant. It’s amazing – I know, I would say that. It looks at all your jobs over the next seven days and arranges the job to be scheduled in the best way to maximise the efficiency of all your resources. It’s a bit like Uber, finding the nearest driver to take you on your journey, except more sophisticated. The platform takes into account things like the skill level of each member of the team, vehicle type, even the Service Level Agreement that has been promised to the client. It will find the lowest cost engineer to do the job.

Around 85% of the people using BigChange’s software are engineers. These people can be driving over 100 hours a month. Every hour they aren’t stuck behind the wheel – and are on the tools – means more revenue for their company. Building more efficiency into the way jobs are scheduled can save businesses an absolute fortune. For example, companies think they need to hire another engineer to complete the workload when all they need is to schedule the jobs more efficiently. Not to mention that cutting time on the road does lots of good for the environment and reduces carbon footprint.

And yet, over the past few weeks I have been encountering a lot of comfort zoners that won’t even give it a go. They will find any reason under the sun not to press that button.

I don’t get it. Surely you can enable the functionality, see if it works, and then make your mind up if you want it? Even if you let the computer make the decision, and you check it, it would only take you a few minutes, compared to the money it will cost the company if engineers are spending unnecessary time driving. But comfort zoners always say the same thing: ‘What if X?’ Or ‘I’m worried about Y.’

How do you get a comfort zoner to see that they are a comfort zoner? The only way to prove our system works is to sit beside them and say: “You do it your way and I’ll use BigChange at the same time. Let’s see who improves efficiency?” I would do it, too.

Just think what it would do for your business if you could improve output by even 10%. Just one extra job a day? That could boost revenues, profit, and let you grow your business that much faster. Don’t be a comfort zoner. Push the button.

Martin Port
Founder & CEO



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