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GAP Hire Solutions, the UK’s largest independent equipment hire company, has deployed a cloud-based mobile workforce management system from Leeds-based BigChange.

The system has boosted the efficiency of GAP’s operations by equipping field operatives with rugged tablets running a mobile app called JobWatch which includes black box vehicle tracking as part of the system.

The 5 in 1 BigChange solution allows completely paperless working, connecting to the GAP hiredesk in real-time to provide management and customer services with 24/7 visibility on deliveries and collections of equipment.

The benefits have made an immediate impact on GAP Survey & Safety and it’s expanding customer base. The specialist division hires out specialist equipment and instrumentation to surveyors and civil engineers. Operating from 15 locations across the UK and employing 60 people, the division is growing rapidly.

GAP holds stocks of the latest total stations, GPS satellite network rovers, lasers and other precision instrumentation, as well as other surveying kit. The specialist equipment is not only expensive, but it is also being continually enhanced as the technology evolves. As a result, the hiring of equipment is increasingly popular, especially amongst civil engineers involved in set up at construction and infrastructure sites.

Jim Burke, GAP’s Survey & Safety Division Manager, says:

“We invest in the very latest surveying equipment including costly instrumentation which is often supplied with a box full of accessories,”

“In the past we didn’t have a way to provide proof when making a claim for damage or any missing accessories.”

GAP uses BigChange to manage the whole operation with all hired equipment being accurately logged and tracked from the initial order, through the depot and workshop, to delivery and collection. The tablets are used to photograph equipment prior to despatch, on delivery and when collected with GPS location and time recorded automatically with each image. For added security drivers can also photograph at handover so there is a record of the person taking delivery.

Burke explains:

“BigChange has changed everything by providing indisputable evidence when equipment and accessories are returned damaged or incomplete. It’s put an end to the challenging conversations we used to have – the digitally held records remove any doubts. Customers are much happier now we can show them tangible evidence for the first time. BigChange has eliminated what used to be a major management headache,”

The 5 in 1 JobWatch app links to BigChange vehicle telematics fitted to GAP Survey’s fleet of vans. Company cars are also fitted with the trackers so anyone can collect or deliver equipment knowing that the system automatically records their activity. Drivers use their tablets in place of traditional hire paperwork with improved time and location stamped records plus additional photographs when required. The devices are also used for daily vehicle safety checks.

Apart from the paperless delivery and collection management application, BigChange is having a big impact on operational efficiency. All jobs are scheduled, routed and tracked using BigChange and this is improving resource utilisation and reducing unnecessary mileage. Hire controllers also have continual, real-time visibility of the fleet allowing deliveries and collections to be managed better and dynamically – optimising resource utilisation and allowing a more responsive service.

Burke comments:

“BigChange gives us the ultimate controllability over our operations,”

“The real impact of the system has yet to really be felt as it’s relatively early on but already it has boosted efficiency and is underpinning rapid year-on-year business growth. And the more accurate hire records have also certainly improved profitability and cash flow.”

Burke adds:

“GAP’s mission as a company is encapsulated in what we call the GAP CODE; Communication, One Team, Dedication and Efficiency. BigChange is all that so it fits in perfectly with the philosophy and aims of the business,”

GAP team uses BigChange tech

GAP Hire Solutions has equipped 400 of its drivers with tablets as the first part of the roll out of a 5-in-1 management solution from BigChange.

Called JobWatch, the cloud-based system incorporates a range of mobile apps with live tracking and job scheduling. It also links in real time to GAP’s back office systems, such as their central hiredesk, CRM and financial system.

Mark Emery, GAP’s Systems Development Manager, commented:

“The BigChange solution is transforming the way we work by eliminating lots of cumbersome paper forms. The live data feeds to our central systems will result in significant benefits to the business by providing complete management visibility of our operations across the entire depot network.”

“This visibility means that for the first time we will be able to manage the entire business nationally, allowing for example, the sharing of plant and equipment between depots. We foresee JobWatch providing significant improvements in utilisation, efficiency and customer service.”

The mobile apps include electronic signature capture with proof of delivery (POD) and proof of collection (POC) records automatically uploaded onto GAP’s Smart Office system. This eliminates calls to depots as all information will be available for everyone immediately online. Ultimately GAP’s customers will have the ability to access records of their hires themselves.

The first phase of implementation sees 400 delivery drivers equipped with Samsung tablets and later GAP will extend the system to 200 customer service fitters. Delivery and collection jobs are sent directly to tablets that sit in dashboard cradles and can be quickly detached for signature capture, taking photographs and even completing vehicle checks.

Emery added:

“This new technology is going to make life a lot easier for staff and customers alike.”

“It will provide immediate and clear evidence detailing when our drivers turn up on site. An electronic signature will provide proof that equipment was delivered or collected – when and where.”

The devices have in-built data messaging and satellite navigation that automatically routes vehicles to their destination. GAP’s customer services will be able to see the exact location of every vehicle in real time to keep customers informed of ETAs and work with the driver to ensure the correct drop-off location.

The devices can be used to take time stamped and georeferenced photographs. This photo capture is also useful to provide evidence of arrival onsite and to record damage to plant. “In addition to the environmental benefits of reducing paper with JobWatch, we will be able to bill hires more quickly and with less invoice queries. If a charge is questioned we’ll be able to answer the question immediately as the data will be online,” Emery added.

Martin Port, CEO, BigChange commented:

“We are delighted to be working with GAP and looking forward to help them drive BigChange.”

Garic, the specialist welfare and site set up products provider to construction and other sites, has revolutionised its service operations with a mobile solution from BigChange Apps.

Garic has improved and streamlined their hire and service operations replacing 400 paper worksheets with an all-in-one tablet app that also provides job scheduling, asset management, live tracking and reporting.

A large part of Garic’s work involves servicing plant and welfare facilities – for example emptying waste, replenishing water and fuel. Garic recently launched a new remote equipment monitoring system called i-SITE that monitors fluids to alert service operations. Service drivers, who respond to automated service requests and scheduled jobs, are equipped with rugged Samsung tablets and are amongst the primary users of the 90 BigChange-connected devices currently in use.

With service operations previously managed at three regional depots, the company has been able to centralise the management of service operations with the BigChange mobile solution integrated with the inspHire hire management system. With their headquarters near Bury, Garic has depots in Bedford, Dudley and Bathgate, with plans for a fifth site in Thurrock this year.

Lee Williams, Programme Manager at Garic commented:

“BigChange has been central to a drive to paper-free working through an initiative called the Digital Hire Cycle”

Lee Continued:

“It’s remarkable to think that we are replacing 400 paper worksheets with a simple tablet to manage over 100 job types. And not only is BigChange saving many hours a day by eliminating form filling and data entry, but with the improved accuracy of data we are significantly reducing invoice-related disputes.”

“However, it doesn’t stop there. With real-time electronic information now available we get valuable management information from customer sites. For a hire business, quick turnaround is crucial and with BigChange we have much better visibility of our assets. For example, we now know the condition of plant before it arrives back at the depot so we can immediately schedule for re-hire or the workshop.”

BigChange offers a cloud-based solution that requires no onsite software and is fully supported, eliminating the need for specialist IT support. Easy to use and configure, BigChange is unique as it is a truly multi-functional solution that handles tasks that are traditionally spread across a number of different systems. At Garic, BigChange is used for everything from worksheets, routing and job scheduling, to vehicle safety checks and driver performance assessment.

Lee added:

“BigChange has been very accommodating to our needs and they have delivered a very simple solution to what is a very complex environment.”

BigChange

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