Rapid Maintenance Solutions (RMS), the Manchester-based provider of property maintenance services, has implemented the latest mobile working technology from BigChange.
The cloud-based system provides end-to-end paperless working with tradesmen and engineers equipped with rugged tablets running JobWatch, the 5 in 1 app from BigChange.
RMS are specialists in residential property maintenance, providing everything from plumbing, heating and electrical services through to repair, renovation and construction supervision. Formed in 2017, the company has seen a four-fold expansion since introducing BigChange.
Meir Halter, Director, RMS says:
“Having worked in the property market ourselves we were very aware that property landlords and agents continually struggled to get professional, reliable services for emergency work and small jobs. We realised there was an opportunity in the market to offer a better service and our mission from the outset was to make trades reliable,”
Previously RMS relied on paper to manage the business with mobile phones for communication. With JobWatch everything is now automated as part of a real-time digital system that has eliminated paperwork both in and out the office. The tablets are used for everything from job sheets and photographs on site, to health and safety procedure workflows and certifications.
“Our market is still served mainly by the independent handyman and plumber who still rely on their phones and paper records to run their businesses. This is the way we started but we were acutely aware of the shortcomings of our paper-based way of working. Just the fact that we had to call and disrupt our tradesmen to find out where they were and how they were getting on was frustrating enough,”
“BigChange is a game changer; from having very limited communication and desks piled high in paper we now have a seamless digital system. We now know where everyone is, how they are doing and when they’ll get to the next job. It’s all live and allows us to provide really professional customer service; way beyond the scope of our competitors. It’s also easy to use so we don’t really need to worry about training; it is largely apps based.”
The majority of RMS work involves plumbing and gas work. However, the team of multi-skilled staff – all with over ten years of experience – enable the company to deal with any property-related work for their clients that include property owners, letting agents and estate agents.
JobWatch handles all job scheduling and links to BigChange satellite trackers allowing customer services to see where tradesmen are and provide ETA’s to customers. With live reports and customer sign-off on job completion, the office can immediately deal with any issues on site and quotes for any additional work can be raised and agreed quickly.
“With the system we have real time visibility and everything can be done much more quickly and efficiently. Invoices are raised within 24 hours and customers are kept up to date on the status of work – they are all very impressed with the reliability and professionalism of the service we provide and that is ultimately down to BigChange,”
RMS cover the Greater Manchester area and RMS has started picking up business from Manchester property owners and agents spread as far as London and Dubai.
“One the biggest benefits of JobWatch is that it allows us to expand freely. We reckon we can run an operation with 40 to 50 vans with just 3 office staff. Our business – and certainly our ambitions business growth plan – is only viable because we have JobWatch,”
Target Maintenance has rolled out a new generation mobile workforce system using tablets linked in real time to a central management software as part of a 5 in 1 cloud-based solution from BigChange.
Target Maintenance is a fast-expanding UK company that specialises – through its Target Fire team – in ensuring buildings are fire safe with retrospective building modifications involving fire compartmentation and the assessment and replacement/repairs of fire doors, alarms, smoke vent systems and emergency lighting. The company has recently expanded its operation into new build fire compartmentalisation works and expects rapid growth in this area.
BigChange has provided Target Maintenance with a completely paperless system that integrates the field operations with their central office IT system, which is all part of JobWatch, the cloud-based solution from BigChange. The system handles everything, from call logging to job scheduling, job management and invoicing, with live vehicle tracking to give Target Maintenance complete visibility of all jobs in progress and once completed.
Target Maintenance switched to BigChange from another service management system and a separate tracking system.
Dean Rochester, Managing Director of Target, says:
“We wanted to modernise our IT and invest in a solution for the future – something that could assist in what is proving rapid growth in the business,”
“BigChange was particularly appealing as it is a true end-to-end solution and we knew that would make things much easier; a single system with the seamless flow of data from start to finish, which will also aid our clients.”
“The fact that it is cloud based – and therefore accessible anywhere, anytime – was appealing and we like the fact that it is continually evolving. Every new feature is an improvement, adding functionality that helps us save time and reduce costs,”
“This ensures our clients are continually seeing improvement in our service.”
Target Maintenance provide both fast, reactive maintenance services as well as planned longer term contract services. As well as the FIRAS accredited fire safety work, Target provides facilities and maintenance services to the property sector including commercial, retail and leisure, social housing, insurance and lettings. From its headquarters in Bedfordshire and its field based operatives, Target Maintenance cover a wide geographical area from London and the South East, to the Midlands, East Anglia and west as far as Swindon.
“Previously we were getting overwhelmed with paper processes as the business grew. Paperwork was simply delaying invoicing for completed works and impacting on our customers and their budgets. We identified it as an area we needed to focus on and have through BigChange improved and reduced our processes. BigChange was the solution,”
“We feel we are quicker and more organised having eliminated much of the paper with digital records and now all the information our clients need is at our fingertips and readily available.”
The system is helping improve customer service as well by improving communication. Customers now get instant auto-alert emails when job requests are received, and work is scheduled. In addition, the electronic job sheets and progress photographs from site allow customers to be kept fully informed on work progress.
“Larger projects can take some months and therefore a digital record of progress, completed and to complete tasks ensure a smoother flowing project. From a quote through to invoicing and providing certification, each process and task has been adjusted to allow for automatic updating and reporting. The digital reporting process also ensures better checks are in place. That means there are less queries from our clients and transparency is improved.”
First established in 2005 the company re-formed in 2014 (under the group brand Target Maintenance) and Target Fire set up as a specialised team in 2017. Since 2014 Target has expanded from 30 staff to the current 80 staff and turnover of £3.5million. Target’s 35 field service engineers operate the JobWatch mobile app – which is coupled with BigChange vehicle tracking – to manage their work and report progress accordingly.
Daniel Rochester, Target Fires Operations Director, adds:
“BigChange allows us to capture the data we need and make it available when we need it. The bespoke reporting is very good and we now get daily reports so management and customer services have up to date visibility of all work in progress.”
BigChange: Tell us a little bit about your background, how you got started in the industry and some of your most significant accomplishments?
Jordan Woods: I left school at the age of 13 and joined a Work-based Learning programme in Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC). After persuading Daniel Robinson, a Director at Industrial & Commercial Heating in Leeds, to let me work for free for a number of years I was finally they given an apprenticeship at 16. Without Daniel giving me that opportunity, I would never have got into the HVAC industry. It just wouldn’t have been a possibility. I was named Apprentice of the Year at college and went on to gain a degree in Mechanical Engineering (HVAC).
I was fortunate to launch Woods Building Maintenance nearly 8 years ago in 2011 after being made redundant in my previous position. I had a young family to support and times were tough. My first client was a plumbing job in Harrogate that made me a profit of £13. But I was determined to succeed and kept working hard to grow my business.
Within 7 years I was employing 35 people and had transformed Woods into a £1.5 million-revenue business. I sold Woods to B38 in November but have stayed on as Head of Operations, so for all intents and purposes, nothing has changed and I am still the driving force behind the business. I am also currently recruiting up to another 20 gas engineers, plumbers and electricians.
I consider the number of people I have employed as one of my most significant accomplishments, as well as hitting the one-million-pound turnover mark. Most companies don’t achieve this so early and it was a really big moment for me and the entire organisation.
BigChange: How has your relationship with BigChange enabled you to give over your experience to young businesses and entrepreneurs?
Jordan Woods: I am a young entrepreneur myself so for me it’s about being able to show young people that age is not a barrier to success. I truly feel that If you have a great idea and you have a real determination to succeed, then anything is possible.
Working with BigChange meant being mentored by its CEO Martin Port. Martin guided me in the early stages of my business and I found it extremely beneficial. I have learnt from his extensive business expertise and knowledge about strategy. It has shaped how I view our business and its potential growth. Having Martin’s support behind me has been really productive in navigating the common challenges our business has gone through to grow even stronger.
BigChange: Can you talk a little bit about your experience in Building Maintenance and how you have personally seen your industry evolve over the past 10+ years?
Jordan Woods: I was apprentice-trained from the industry and, as a direct result of starting so young, I now have nearly 20 years’ experience and knowledge in the HVAC industry. I have seen HVAC change from paper to digital and have been fortunate to have been part of that big change. Indeed, Woods Building Maintenance was one of the first companies in the UK HVAC industry to go fully paperless with BigChange back in 2012.
I’ve have also seen gas compliance change from CORGI to Gas Safe and witnessed how industry standards and enforcement have significantly increased because of this shift.
More worryingly, I have witnessed a massive reduction in apprenticeships. I think this is something the whole industry needs to address. We need to support apprenticeships again!
I also believe the government should get behind this and create incentives for companies to employ a percentage of apprentices in their business depending on their turnover and size.
BigChange: How has your time working at Woods Building Maintenance shaped your vision to be more globally aware and receptive to diverse customer needs?
Jordan Woods: On the question of diversity, I have always employed workers from diverse backgrounds. In my view, as long as they can do the job at hand and can drive the business forward, they are part of the team, no questions asked.
From a customer point of view, we are fully digital, so our clients are not getting mail and other paper post potentially lost through the letterbox.
We find we have better customer interaction with technology – and we can track our engineers and let our customers know when they will arrive.
As we are fully paperless, it also means we can do our part in saving the environment. It’s something we should all be doing and at Woods, we are always looking at ways to reduce our carbon footprint.
BigChange: What advice can you give to small and medium sized businesses trying to scale up operations?
Jordan Woods: My best piece of advice would be to ensure you have an excellent implementation team behind your mobile force. It’s great to win business and to have engineers to carry out the tasks at hand, but you need to be able to streamline all your processes and systems to suit the clients’ requirements.
One thing I have learned recently is that you should never be frightened of change. If one thing doesn’t work, just try something else. You will always find a solution, but if you’re not open to change, you will never succeed.
I would also advise business owners to surround themselves with people who are smarter than them. It’s so important to find the right people who want to help you grow your business and who want to help others succeed in their careers.
BigChange: What trends are most impacting your sector & how has Woods Building Maintenance taking steps to resolve and integrate these trends into your day to day operations?
Jordan Woods: I would say the most common trend in the industry is how engineers move about from company to company to company, before ending back at the first one they worked for. I have had conversations with so many other CEOs and Directors who all say the same.
In order to combat this and to retain the staff we train, we now carry out ‘exit interviews’ as a way of finding out why someone wants to leave and what we can learn from them about how we do things. Since doing this, our retention levels have dramatically increased.
We also get all of our staff to interact with each other more – so we get our engineers into the office to spend some time with our accounts and administrative staff and similarly the office staff have been going out into the field to see what our engineers do every day. By getting everyone to understand all aspects of the business and what issues each role may come up against, it makes for a much happier workplace which can only be good for business!
With the 5 in 1 system from Leeds-based BigChange, DFP has equipped its engineers with rugged tablets as part of a fully digital system connected in real time to the company’s national service centre in Durham. The paperless system has boosted efficiency, reduced administrative work and improved engineer productivity.
With origins in fire protection, DFP installs, services and maintains equipment operating a 24/7 planned and reactive services for gas, heating, plumbing and alarms. The company a major provider to services in the care home sector and with 30 percent annual growth, DFP was recently recognised as one of the top 50 growing businesses in the northeast of England.
The BigChange solution has completely replaced five other systems including systems for service management, vehicle tracking and certification. JobWatch now handles everything from the original services request through to invoicing; jobs are now booked, allocated and managed with the system which allows DFP engineers to operate independently around the clock.
Heather Taylor, Commercial Manager at DFP, says:
“Managing a 24 hour service has always been difficult out of hours but with JobWatch we can always see what is going on and deal with things such as emergencies by simply accessing the system from our mobiles,”
“Also engineers manage everything from their devices so it means they can work fairly independently. Without having to rely on the office so much they can get on with their work; that has boosted productivity and job satisfaction.”
The company employs 45 engineers and 76 staff. The fleet comprises mainly Ford Transit with a few Mitsibishi L200 pick-ups; all fitted with BigChange trackers and tablet cradles for navigation and communication on route. As well as reporting, the tablets are useful for taking photographs of work done and relative state of the site on arrival and on departure.
Jon Paul Seed, Managing Director at DFP Services, says:
“BigChange provides a number of key operational and business benefits. Always knowing what is going on is of course really helpful but so is the management information and traceability that the system offers,”
“We can now review the business properly and Big Data reports allow us to drill-down by customer, by engineer and any other criteria so we can accurately assess performance and profitability. We simply couldn’t do this before.”
Due to the nature of their work certification is vitally important with the BigChange automated certificates have been introduced. Previously certificates were issued with invoices and that could be a week later. Certificates have to be provided for everything from gas safety, fire alarms, emergency lighting and fire extinguisher, with often multiple certificates in each area.
The fact that BigChange is web based is providing other significant benefits as Taylor explains:
“We have just opened an office in Leeds and because BigChange is a cloud solution setting up the office was really easy. IT-wise we were up and running pretty much instantly; connected and fully synchronised to a single system. That was a real revelation and BigChange gives us the flexibility to expand freely and nationally in the future.”
The digitisation is also helping DFP expand the business as within tenders there is often request for an online portal and the provision of electronic documentation/certificates.
“The system has been a real help for Bid writing as now we can provide exactly what customers want; we can now tick every box. BigChange means we are no longer restricted as we can offer everything the customer needs. It is especially useful when we need to show we can provide things like customer feedback or an online portal, plus it helps us comply with our ISO 1401 certification for paperless working. All in all BigChange has proved brilliant for competing tenders.”
DFP is also seeing big benefits from the move to the cloud and apart from the obvious benefits of an always-on, accessible-anywhere system, the company found it invaluable for business expansion.
Sherwoods, the FM building services company, has assisted its business with a 5 in 1 mobile management system from BigChange.
Sherwoods’ field service engineers are equipped with the latest ruggedised tablets running a completely paper-free system. The mobiles are live connected to the cloud hosting a complete management solution from BigChange that covers everything from CRM to routing, purchasing, job scheduling, certification and invoicing.
Founded in 1970, with a 48 year history and still family owned, Sherwoods provides a genuine one-stop-shop range of services and has grown to become one of the fastest growing sustainable FM building services providers, covering all of the South West UK. The company has grown organically with successful apprenticeships underpinning growth.
Kevin Sherwood, Managing Director of Sherwoods, comments:
“We invest in people as our primary focus, our people are everything. They are central to our success and our future. Many of our key people started with us as apprentices, with 2 of these apprentices now Directors and owners.”
“By coincidence it was the BBC show The Apprentice that increased our interest in BigChange when we read one of the show’s winners set up a new business utilising BigChange. We also discovered that the Marketing Manager at BigChange also starred on the show.”
Sherwoods has long been an early adopter of technology with vehicle tracking first employed back in 2003, and digital service management software and PDAs employed across all operations since 2007.
“When we saw BigChange for the first time we realised that the JobWatch apps could really help us make a positive difference, and assist our mission to become the FM Building services partner and employer of choice across the UK Southwest region.”
“The BigChange team understood logistics and why real time, open, accessible, transparent and visible information is vital to us continuously improving communication, managing compliance and risk, and delivering the best service experience possible for everyone involved throughout the life of a job.”
Sherwoods has a 35-strong team of mobile field engineers, residing across the region and working from home providing comprehensive coverage across the UK South West region, including Hampshire, Bristol, South Wales and Cornwall and all postcodes in between. Services include Compliance, PPM, Project, planned & reactive maintenance 24-7 365 days a year.
Being a true one-stop-shop, the Sherwoods’ multi-skilled, in-house directly employed team of 50 take care of everything from a permanently manned Opsdesk, roofing, electrical, plumbing, drainage, gas, oil, LPG, HVAC and all exterior and interior building fabric. ‘Roof to Drains and everything in between’
Sherwoods’ mobile field engineers use JobWatch for everything from timesheets, jobsheets, signature capture and certification – with photographs. JobWatch is used 100% of the time to provide an evidential record of all works, with GDPR compliant, real time data, always available online.
“We really like the fact that with JobWatch we write our own workflows and customise it for everything we do. It is a flexible system and being a cloud service, it allows us to grow in line with our sustainability agenda without being burdened by IT capability or capacity.”
“The apps and tracking are only one part of what BigChange provides; it is a complete end-to-end solution. BigChange like to call it a 5 in 1 system but it is actually a lot more than that. For us it provides a seamless solution between our office, field, client and suppliers, that is used all the way from initial customer enquiry through all communication to resource management, procurement, service delivery, KPI reporting and invoicing.”
With conservative plans to double the business turnover by 2022, Sherwoods work with private and public organisations, with a diversity of clients and sectors that include local, regional, national and international brands.
“Our company values are to be adaptable, fun, honest and committed; we live and breathe these values. Those are values we see in BigChange as well, and it makes for a good partnership.”
“The team at BigChange are open and transparent and they want their clients to talk to each other to improve each business and their product. JobWatch facilitates our mission and vision and shows our values providing data that is open and accessible. We share GDPR compliant data with our clients; nothing hidden, we are completely transparent, building trust which is also completely central to everything we do, and always will be.”
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.
“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.”