Housing Units, the award-winning home furnishings retailer, has implemented state-of-the-art mobile technology to improve its expanding home delivery operation.
The 5 in 1 system from BigChange provides mobile apps that connect to customer services to provide real-time visibility of delivery and installation operations.
The two-man delivery crews are equipped with rugged Samsung tablets running BigChange JobWatch mobile apps that are used for vehicle inspections, navigation and live reporting on job status with supporting photographs. Entirely cloud-based, the BigChange solution is used by Housing Units customer service operatives to monitor over 300 deliveries a week.
Housing Units celebrated 70 years in business last year and has bucked the trend with steady expansion and a successful business model that has been recognised through awards including the UK’s No 1 department store and retailer of the year. Headquartered in Oldham with an extensive store nearby, the company has just completed a £5m expansion of the store and distribution centre.
Housing Units sends optimised delivery routes to the BigChange job scheduler for access by drivers on login into their tablets. After completing a vehicle check using JobWatch, the device is clipped into a vehicle cradle to provide navigation to each delivery and then used again on arrival for risk assessment and job completion with a customer signature on screen.
With each delivery and installation, photographs are captured to provide a record of the completed job showing the location and condition of goods delivered. Special templates have been created in JobWatch for items that are prone to damage in transit – such as bathroom ceramics – that customers are asked to sign off as delivered undamaged.
Claire Wild, Distribution Administration Manager, Housing Units, Commented:
“BigChange really has made a big change to our customer service operation. Customers get text alerts reminding them of their agreed delivery time and with the tracking we can immediately contact them if we get delayed. Then we have a complete insight into the progress of every delivery job as it happens.”
“Crucially, the system provides undisputable evidence that the driver turned up at the agreed time and departed with all goods in place and undamaged. This is really important and it has led to a reduction in calls to customer services, allowing cases to be closed much quicker and has all but eliminated false claims.”
Deliveries take on average 18 minutes and Housing Units are using tracking data to compare schedules against actual journey and stop off times. Geofencing is also used to alert the office if vehicles are ‘off route’ and in danger of running late. JobWatch is also useful for contacting drivers with a messaging facility ensuring communication even when out of phone reception.
“The customer services team rave about BigChange. It really has made their job easier as they are always fully informed on delivery activity and at each delivery location they can even click a button to access StreetView to see the situation outside the customers’ home. Handling customer calls is much easier and should disputes arise, they have all the information they need at their fingertips.”
Karl Shackley, Operations and Distribution Manager, commented:
“BigChange has certainly had a big impact on our business. As well as the gains in customer services, it has eliminated all sorts of paperwork improving efficiency. We reckon the productivity of the delivery operation has been increased by 20 per cent.”