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H2O FlowTech has successfully rolled out the latest mobile workforce management technology from Leeds-based BigChange.

As part of a digital transformation replacing paper throughout the company, the new system combines back office management software with a mobile app to support rapid expansion of H2O’s business.

H2O specialise in the installation, maintenance and repair of pumps, pumping stations and sewage treatment plants. The Bury-based company looks after over 600 different pumping stations, operating in the North West in an area extending from North Wales to Yorkshire, Cumbria and Midlands.

Private pumping stations and treatment plants – usually buried underground – are owned by local authorities, commercial property companies and private estate owners. With new waste legislation coming into force in January 2020 to limit the use of certain types of septic tanks, H2O has seen a surge in business for plants that treat sewage and discharge clean, safe water.

Mick Brindle, Director, H2O FlowTech commented:

“Our largely paper based system was cumbersome and slow, and dealing with paper forms was difficult outdoors in poor weather. With the increasing demand for our equipment and services we knew we’d be overwhelmed with paperwork if we didn’t switch to a digital system,”

H2O vans are fitted with BigChange vehicle trackers and the two-person teams use JobWatch the 5 in 1 app that provides digital versions of all paper forms. JobWatch synchronises in real time with the office giving H2O operations complete 24/7 visibility of engineer movements and job status.

Lead engineers are equipped with rugged tablets and their assistants run the app on their mobile phones. Photographs taken on site for evidence of work completed such as newly installed pumps and control panels are provided as part of instant digital reports to customers.

Mick continued:

“With BigChange we’ve considerably increased our turnover without needing any extra staff. We are more productive and have much better visibility. The data is all collected in one hit and this is a big improvement and the digital job reporting is a tremendous step up – customers are very
impressed especially with the supporting photos from site showing work completed.”

H2O are finding BigChange is very useful for emergency work. If there is an equipment breakdown a job is created and simply dragged into the scheduler which instantly schedules the work. JobWatch also provides access to records of previous work done at a site which is proving a real asset to engineers arriving on a job.

H2O see BigChange as important for expanding allowing the company to work nationally. The system is also seen as key to securing and winning larger contracts with facilities management companies who need to provide electronic records to their customers.

Mick explained:

“With BigChange everything is at our fingertips and it is synchronised with Sage giving us total visibility of the business – margins on jobs, cash flow and we can keep a close eye on quotes and invoicing. From our mobiles we can immediately see what’s going on across the business including the status of every job. This means we can work from anywhere”

Mick concluded:

“In fact during Coronavirus lockdown we’d have been completely floored without BigChange. If we’d still been paper-based we simply couldn’t have done our job – as things were customers did not see any change at all.”

BigChange h2o flowtech

CCR Property Services has transformed its business overnight with a switch to paperless mobile and COVID-19 home working using a cloud-based office and mobile workforce system from BigChange.

The Essex-based company provides essential property maintenance services such as emergency drainage and plumbing repairs for sectors that include social housing, hospitals and care homes.

Established in 2011 CCR has achieved preferred supplier status amongst key blue-chip property and facilities management companies and is also an approved contractor to local authorities, housing associations and health authorities. Specialising in drainage network repairs and cleaning, CCR operate a fleet of specialist vehicles and plant on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

CCR has equipped its mobile workforce with rugged tablets running JobWatch, the 5 in 1 mobile app from BigChange. The app synchronises in real time CCR’s office system that is normally accessed at the CCR head office in Basildon, Essex. The BigChange back office software which includes CRM, job scheduling and invoicing is cloud based which means that virtually the entire business is currently being run with staff and management working from home.

Reiss Monksfield, Director, CCR Property Services comments:

“Well before the Coronavirus crisis we had realised the potential of BigChange for flexible home working,”

“After our vitally-important accounts person finished maternity leave and wanted to spend more time at home we were able to accommodate flexible-hour, part-time home working. With the all the required software and data accessible online the accounting work has continued pretty much seamlessly with one less person in the office,”

“Now with the threat from COVID-19 we have sent virtually all the office staff home and it really is business as usual. Those living in the properties we service are often vulnerable so our emergency services are essential and with BigChange we can all be in control and run services remotely. I’ve no idea how we would have managed without a single cloud and mobile solution; BigChange really is paying dividends in this crisis,”

CCR was an early adopter of BigChange having realised that a single system that could perform both office and field service functions seamlessly was the way forward. The company had previously tried to deploy other systems but they failed to provide the scope, flexibility and modern technology considered to be crucial for supporting future business competitiveness and growth.

BigChange first went live in Spring 2018 and provide an all-in-one solution having replaced a number of different systems. As well as the tablets used by operatives, the fleet is fitted with BigChange trackers providing a real time view of the operation, allowing CCR to respond as efficiently and quickly as possible to call outs around the clock.

Monksfield continued:

“In just two years we’ve almost doubled our turnover and BigChange has allowed us to grow without increasing our administrative resources. In fact we have even more time now; no more scanning of paper reports, no more calling operatives to see where they are and no more sifting through piles of paperwork. We are working so much more efficiently and the business has been streamlined,”

Monksfield added:

“We particularly like the way the system is designed. It’s generic but easy to customise. However, the biggest thing about BigChange is what you get for the money. The benefits far outweigh the cost; it is great value and with their RoadCrew support team you also get brilliant 24/7support,”

In providing round the clock service, companies like CCR would traditionally sign up the services of a 24 hours call centre to manage out of hours calls. By deploying BigChange this need was negated as CCR could simply direct calls to their team of out of hours call handlers. This not only saves cost and complication but by cutting out a link in the chain it also enables a quicker response.

Monksfield explained:

“The system is also very good for customer service and clients can be kept informed of where we are and they can get job updates in two to three minutes. We are more efficient and more productive so as a company we can also provide better value which customers like”.

BigChange CCR employee

The UK’s Environment Agency has updated the septic tank regulations, with far-reaching consequences for consumers and industry professionals.

Systems that discharge to a river, stream, canal or ditch must be replaced from January 1 this year amid fears that this may contaminate drinking water sources and pollute the environment.

Under the Septic Tank Regulations 2020, owners of septic tanks in England are no longer allowed to discharge to a watercourse. For those working within the industry, this means a surge in septic tank conversions, as existing systems are made compliant.

Under the new rules, a drainage field or soakaway system must be installed so that the septic tank can discharge to ground instead, or the septic tank must be replaced with a sewage treatment plant.

Protecting the environment is a priority for all of us. However, every tweak to the rules creates red tape and extra process for wastewater professionals. The general binding rules for septic tanks have been updated several times over the last few years, creating an administrative burden for the industry that adds both cost and complexity.

I founded BigChange back in 2013 to help relieve the compliance burden for professionals dealing with changing legislation and complex regulation. Our JobWatch platform is now being used by 40,000 office and mobile users across multiple industries. The platform automates all of the paperwork associated with meeting standards and adhering to regulation, in an efficient and intuitive way.

For businesses that need to prove that their septic tank upgrades or replacements are fully compliant, JobWatch is the ultimate solution. It keeps a log of all work carried out and the parts used; a verified audit trail.

Each JobWatch-enabled tablet enables users to take live pictures of sites, septic tanks, new installations, and parts and link them to a specific job and worker within the software. Progress can be tracked remotely and signed off by management. If the legislation should change again, or should disputes arise, the system offers complete protection: proof the job was done correctly.

The system is already being used by companies from across the drainage sector to drive efficiencies and streamline complex processes. One company has reported a million-pound boost from using the software. Kirk Mason, who heads up operations at Subscan UDS, the nationwide utility, drainage, and survey company, told me:

“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.”

It is impossible to control regulatory changes but it is possible to mitigate their impact. By allowing JobWatch to do all the grunt work, drainage professionals are free to focus on what they are good at – growing their businesses.

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

Quest Waste Management, a domestic and commercial cleaning company specialising in serving the drainage industry, has embarked on an ambitious expansion drive following the implementation of BigChange’s mobile workforce management system JobWatch.

Quest, which was founded in November 2014 and operates across the UK from its base in Ossett, West Yorkshire, plans to double in size over the next three years, expanding its existing team of 26 people to more than 50. It has committed to spending almost £800k over the next six months on specialist wet waste removal and recycling vehicles to gain extra capacity to meet growing demand for its services.

Quest’s expansion plans rely on its use of JobWatch, BigChange’s pioneering mobile workforce management system, which it adopted in 2018. JobWatch combines CRM, smart job scheduling, vehicle tracking and a series of mobile applications to eliminate paper record keeping and automate many of the manual processes undertaken by mobile workers.

The use of JobWatch means that Quest can now see the status of its entire fleet in real time and book new jobs within seconds. It expects to double the number of jobs its team can complete without requiring further back office employees to manage its growing waste management operation. Quest estimates that its use of BigChange has already eliminated the need to print, scan and store more than 150,000 pieces of paper a year across its operation.

BigChange Quest vehicle and building

Ivan Smyth, Managing Director at Quest Waste Management, comments:

“Quest is expanding with confidence thanks to BigChange. The insight and agility we gain through using JobWatch means we are winning more business; we are expanding as a result and we are able to offer a level of customer service that is unrivalled in our industry. When a customer calls, we can tell them within seconds whether we will be able to do the job and when we can arrive.”

“JobWatch has transformed our business. Before BigChange we managed our operations using a daily spreadsheet and a mountain of paper. Each job would require at least 20 pieces of paper – including risk assessments, method statements and maps – as well as the timesheets and vehicle records that mobile workers compile each day. We’ve eliminated this paperwork, we can now run our mobile workforce operation 24/7 from anywhere with an internet connection, and we’ve gained a lot more insight into our operations.”

Additional insight into mobile workforce operations

The use of BigChange has provided Quest with new sources of data that it is able to interrogate for rapid insight into its operations. It is helping the company to demonstrate compliance with the terms of its HGV vehicle operator licence and gain certification for ISO 9001 Quality Management System, ISO 14001 standard for Environmental Management and ISO 45001 Health and Safety Management.

Martin Port, founder and CEO of BigChange, comments:

“Quest is a great example of what happens when ambitious companies start using BigChange, gaining complete visibility of its operations and a scalable, state of the art means of managing its mobile workforce. Quest has made huge strides forward in terms of efficiency and customer service with JobWatch, and gained the insight and agility it needs to expand the business with confidence.”

Flow Free Drainage has deployed the latest mobile worker and cloud technology as part of a paperless system that connects mobile apps to back-office management software. With the JobWatch system from BigChange, Flow Free has achieved 40 percent annual growth with an actual reduction in office administration resources.

With the JobWatch system from BigChange, Flow Free has achieved 40 percent annual growth with an actual reduction in office administration resources.

The 5 in 1 BigChange solution combines customer service (CRM), job scheduling and invoicing software with real-time vehicle tracking and smartphone apps. With a fleet of 18 vehicles and a team of field service engineers covering mainly the South East of England, Flow Free maintain and repair drainage systems.

Flow Free are part of Property Consortium Drainage, a network of drainage specialists undertaking insurance-related work. Operating from new headquarters on the Hertfordshire-Essex border, the company also has national contracts with major retailers and land owners.

Steven Cornelius, Managing Director of Flow Free Drainage, says:

“BigChange provides us with a single system to manage the entire business digitally, from the initial call out to invoicing and management reporting. It really has revolutionised the way we work and had a very significant impact on our efficiency and productivity.”

“We started using JobWatch 18 months ago and last year we grew the business by 40 percent; even though we actually reduced numbers of staff in the office.”

Operating 24/7 year-round, Flow Free work to stringent Service Level Agreements with guaranteed fast response times dealing with burst pipes, blocked drains and leaks causing disruption and damage to premises. Flow Free has expanded into building services in order to undertake remedial and other maintenance work for clients.

Using the BigChange back-office Flow Free log incoming calls on the CRM for optimised scheduling of the most suitable resource by skill, equipment and location. Work is further complicated as different clients have different SLA’s.

Cornelius comments:

“JobWatch handles all this complexity brilliantly as we can easily set up different job sheets with the appropriate service conditions, certifications and other reports.”

JobWatch has also helped speed up quotations and invoicing. As Job Sheets are completed by engineers onsite, the office is immediately notified of any additional service requirements and quotations are raised with 24 hours; less if the material requirements are simple.

Cornelius says:

“Being real-time and paperless, JobWatch has dramatically reduced administrative work. Five or six people used to be tied up managing jobs, generating quotes and invoices manually. Now we can deal with typically 60 jobs a day with just two people involved. That frees up time for customer service and sales work and is central to our plans to grow the business,”

“Things are just better controlled and quicker; one client couldn’t believe we could actually send out an invoice within an hour of the job being completed!”

Flow Free is also using BigChange to improve its environmental and safety credentials. With vans clocking up 40.000 miles year, the BigChange tracking devices are providing valuable data to reduce fuel consumption – and the carbon footprint – through better job planning, route optimisation and better driving.

Cornelius explains:

“One major benefit of BigChange has been the notable improvements in driving,”

“The simple fact that our engineers do so many miles mean that the chances of damage to a vehicle – even if not our fault – is going to be higher. So to reduce risk we monitor driving performance with a reward for the best driver each month. We have seen a 25 per cent improvement in driving and less accidents, leading to lower insurance premiums.”

BigChange flow free drainage on tablet

BigChange

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