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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

Metroline Fire & Security has implemented high tech mobile workforce management technology from Leeds-based BigChange. The cloud based system that combines back office software with a mobile app has replaced a number of different systems with a real-time management and operational system that has proved invaluable for delivering services during the Coronavirus crisis.

Folkstone-based Metroline Fire & Security design, install and maintain fire alarms, intruder alarms, access control and CCTV systems for commercial and residential clients throughout Kent and East Sussex. The BigChange system, which went live in January 2020, has replaced an ageing job management software and a separate vehicle tracking system.

“BigChange has enabled us to undertake a complete digital transformation of our business, replacing a series of separate systems giving us a single view and total visibility of the business” says Paul Roberts, Director Metroline Fire & Security.

Running a fleet of 25 vehicles – tracked as part of the BigChange system – the company’s engineers use JobWatch a 5 in 1 mobile phone app that synchronises in real time with the central office CRM and scheduling system.

Paul commented:

“BigChange has already provided Metroline with significant improvements in productivity and customer service and during the Coronavirus crisis it has allowed us to continue to operate seamlessly with no impact of our ability to deliver our services. On lockdown, everyone could work from home we were able to shut down the office and be up and running at home within one hour.”

With BigChange also we can change the way we operate we are looking at ways to stock up vehicles to use the stock facility on JobWatch.

Metroline installation and maintenance engineers receive jobs on their mobiles with the JobWatch app replacing all paperwork with electronic data entry for everything from job sheets, to vehicle checks and risk assessments. Linked to job sheets are photographs captured on site showing completed installations and repairs with control panels to provide evidence of ‘all working in order’.

Paul continued:

“The BigChange No Touch Signature Capture App has been especially useful allowing us to gain job sign-off without directly interacting with the customer. With hotels and schools closed our usual contacts are simply not at work with the No Touch feature supported by photos showing work completed we can easily get jobs signed off.”

Metroline has seen some immediate benefits in efficiency through improved scheduling and tracking allowing the optimisation of resources through pinpointing of the nearest available engineer and improved route planning to reduce unnecessary mileage.

BigChange Metroline vehicle

National drainage company Eurotech Environmental has rolled out the latest mobile workforce management technology from BigChange.

The cloud-based and mobile system provides real time synchronisation between office and tanker operators using a 5 in 1 mobile app. Providing a complete end to end business system replacing all paperwork, Eurotech has seen a £1million increase in business since going live with BigChange last summer.

Established in 1991, Eurotech is one of the UK’s largest independent waste management companies providing national liquid waste tankering and drainage services.

Nick Banks, Operations Director at Eurotech Environmental commented:

“We had been looking for a suitable system for years but we couldn’t find one that could meet our needs. When BigChange came to demonstrate their system our jaws literally dropped to the ground; it was exactly what we were looking for”.

BigChange implementation of the JobWatch system began early 2019 and was fully implemented in 6 months. Eurotech employed the BigChange Professional Services team to create a completely automated system that mimicked everything that was being done manually before.

Banks continued:

“This was really important. We had honed our system over many years but it was still very much paper based and the business had grown to the point that we knew we needed to automate. However, we didn’t want to change anything and BigChange offered a truly flexible solution that has been successfully adapted for our needs”.

Central to Eurotech’s needs was a combined Job Sheet and Waste Transfer Notice with a job grouping capability for managing routes with tankers doing multiple jobs before disposal at a waste transfer station. This was one of a series of industry-leading developments pioneered by Eurotech and the result is a completely automated end-to-end system.

Banks commented:

“Optimisation of routes alone has saved almost 10 per cent on fuel and wage costs and our drivers no longer need to come to the office to collect their jobs. We are also much more reactive to emergency jobs as we know where everyone is and what they are doing – it’s fantastic to have this visibility”.

Tanker operators receive jobs and routes on tablets that they use for everything from vehicle and site safety checks, to job cards and accompanying compliance documentation. Coupled with vehicle tracking, the office has full visibility of all operations, nationwide, 24/7. Customers receive ETA notifications and on job completion they receive job tickets complete with photographs to prove ‘job done’. Waste transfer stations meanwhile receive automated emails of a tankers ETA with digital Waste Transfer Notices.

Banks noted:

“BigChange has completely transformed the way we work. Through improved efficiency and productivity we have seen a £1million boost to our business and are on track to double the size of our fleet. And customers are so impressed that I know we are winning more business thanks to the enhanced service we can now offer”.

“With Coronavirus lockdown, we’d have really struggled to deliver our services without BigChange. We can turn up at a home or a factory to empty a septic tank or collect waste, complete the job and then send the customer an immediate email with supporting photographs; we don’t need to interact at all and the customer probably didn’t even know we been onsite.”

He concluded:

“Since BigChange is cloud based and easily accessible anywhere, anytime, we can expand more easily nationwide as we don’t actually need an office – just somewhere to park our tankers”.

BigChange Eurotech vehicle

Michael Taylor – CEO – Contego Environmental Services: What BigChange Means to me

Firstly, I’d like to congratulate BigChange for receiving its Queens Award for Enterprise. It’s a phenomenal achievement and well deserved. BigChange makes a massive contribution to our business.

Contego started life in 2004 as a one-man-band specialising in bird control and has grown to become one of the largest national pest control businesses in the UK. BigChange has ensured our operations could keep up with that level of growth.

We’ve used BigChange for several years now, and it has transformed our business. It gives us complete visibility of our operations and allows us to manage our national workforce centrally from our base in County Durham.

I’ve always been an early adopter of digital technology and explored three or four other options before settling on BigChange. JobWatch pulls everything together. It allows us to run our business processes on a single piece of software.

The beauty of Jobwatch is that it’s customizable. We’ve created a series of dynamic processes to cover every stage of the employee journey, from induction to job worksheets and inspection documents. BigChange provides lots of support when we need it, and ensures the software does what we need it to.

BigChange has also enabled us to offer greater visibility to our customers. Using data from our worksheets, we can automatically make our customers aware of the threats and risks at their different sites.

BigChange is also central to our safety and compliance activities. Each of our people uses BigChange to complete their daily vehicle checks, which alerts our fleet manager to any problems and allows remedial work to be booked immediately.

Our risk assessments and workflows are also available on BigChange, guiding our technicians in the field and helping them complete work safely. We can see when things are done, and we’ve got access to a full audit trail.

I couldn’t recommend BigChange more highly. The technology is excellent and easy-to-use, and it has ensured that we’ve remained in control as our business has grown. It would have been much more challenging to grow at the speed we have been without BigChange.

Daniel Long – MD – Clearabee: What BigChange Means to me

Clearabee is the fastest growing waste management business in Europe and the UK’s largest clearance company. We employ 300 people across the UK and complete between 600 and 1,000 waste clearance jobs a day.

We’ve worked with BigChange since the early days of Clearabee, and it remains a critical pillar in our technology strategy. BigChange is integrated into all parts of our business and saves us a tremendous amount of time.

It provided us with a cutting edge in the early days of our business and has grown with us as we expanded.

Today, we run our business now using a combination of BigChange and our bespoke software. We make extensive use of BigChange’s API, and our developers can focus on creating other things to sit on top of the BigChange platform.

BigChange provides a solid foundation for that work. We don’t have to think about things like device management, data contracts, hosting large amounts of sensitive data, or uptime.

What we like most about the JobWatch platform is its versatility. The platform works for small and large companies alike. BigChange continues to add new features and new functionality. It is continuously innovating and adding to the system.

BigChange is a young, dynamic company, and an essential partner for Clearabee. You could say that we’ve grown up together and we are thrilled to see the success it has achieved.

On behalf of everyone here at Clearabee, congratulations to BigChange on winning a Queen’s Award for Enterprise. You deserve it.

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

All Round Security has rolled out a high tech mobile workforce system.

The new platform is connecting field service engineers in real-time to the office as part of an end-to-end management system. With clients including Heathrow Airport, Arcadia, Mitie and Cloud FM, All Round Security install and maintain security roller shutters, doors and barriers across the UK. Since going live, the cloud-based system from Leeds-based BigChange has boosted productivity and customer service.

All Round Security had previously implemented a number of different systems but were frustrated with having to manage different systems and began the search for an all-in-one solution. With an expanding customer base and over 60,000 jobs completed in the last year, BigChange with their 5-in-1 solution and JobWatch mobile app was quickly seen as the ideal solution.

Charlie Keegan, Contracts Coordinator at All Round Security comments:

“We are always striving to provide our clients with the best possible service and as our workforce grows we required a system that can tackle our needs. With JobWatch, powered by BigChange, we have the system that we have longed for; offering real-time automatic updates, engineer tracking, 24/7 support and general ease of use”

Formed in 1986 with headquarters in Newton-Le-Willows near Warrington, All Round Security is planning to expand organically within the next 5 years.

Lee Parker, Director at All Round Security comments:

“Our challenge is to manage growth whilst maintaining our high quality service. With BigChange we have something that not only dramatically improves our business efficiency, service and productivity but also a solution that will allow us to freely expand the business thanks to the automation and ease of access via mobiles and the cloud,”

With the flexibility of JobWatch – the BigChange mobile app – All Round sees opportunities to diversify. With simple creation of new job sheets and workflows, services that are currently sub-contracted, such as electricals, or new services requested by customers, could be easily added. All Round Security contractors already use the same JobWatch app.

Parker explains:

“We’ll rely on partners for sure as we expand but whether we do it ourselves or subcontract we have, through JobWatch, a platform that is seamless as far as the customer is concerned,”

Parker believes the facilities management sector will see a change in the future with data-driven and completely integrated management of assets; a more holistic approach where Capex and Opex budgets are much more closely aligned.

Parker continued:

“With our involvement in security matters there is a strong element of trust with our clients and we foresee our role expanding as an adviser on the condition of assets and provider of an all-encompassing asset management service,”

“The beauty of BigChange is that is can be easily configured to do just about anything so we are not restricted, IT wise, in what we can offer.”

All Round Security provides a 24/7 call out service with a maximum 2 hour response time for critical sites such as hospitals and airports. With 50-strong fleet and field service engineers located countrywide, incoming service requests are logged into the BigChange schedular for optimised job allocation, route planning and scheduling.

Parker adds:

“For a mobile service operation like ours, the killer of productivity is the travel time to jobs. With improved scheduling, routing and resource allocation using BigChange scheduler software we’ve already improved engineer productivity,”

The engineers receive jobs on their rugged Samsung tablets and with vans equipped with BigChange GPS telematics, live tracking and navigation is provided. The system generates an estimated time of arrival at site so customers can be auto-alerted via email or text.

On arrival the JobWatch app guides the engineer through the correct risk assessment procedures using workflows before proceeding with the job. Using the tablet, the engineer completes their Job Card and gets an on-screen customer sign off. Time and location stamped photographs are also taken as part of a complete audit of the job.

Keegan concludes:

“Having this comprehensive and real time information at out fingertips 24/7 has really revolutionised our customer service and work output,”

“Not only can we dynamically allocate engineers to do more jobs but onsite we can be more productive through live interaction to resolve issues and get quick answers if extra work is needed; the office and customer are much better informed.”

BigChange all round security office

The popularity of short-term letting sites such as Airbnb has led to an explosion in new landlords, renting out their homes to generate a bit of extra income.

Yet these amateur landlords often do not comply with the rules and regulations that govern the wider lettings market.

This may all be about to change. In a landmark move, the Scottish government recently announced that local councils will have the power to enforce a licensing scheme governing short-term lets from 2021. Many of the rules have been in place since the Civic Government (Scotland) Act was published in 1982 but they have never been enforced previously.

Scotland may be the first country to take a firm stance on short-term lets but it’s likely that the rest of the UK will soon follow.

The issue is particularly pressing in cities such as Edinburgh, home to the Edinburgh Fringe festival, which seen 4.5m tourists flock to the city last year; 9 times the city’s population. In Edinburgh alone, there are 12,000 Airbnb listings, which equates to one listing for every 42 residents in the city. This number has doubled over the past three years.

One outcome of this new legislation is that Airbnb hosts, among others, will be forced to comply with safety standards in order to operate. The aim is to protect guests, ensure that properties are fit for purpose, and to professionalise this burgeoning industry.

However, this presents an administrative nightmare for many hosts. In order to keep letting rooms or properties, they must now ensure their gas and heating is maintained, checked and serviced regularly to be legally compliant.

To reduce the burden, landlords can now use the BigChange platform to connect with experienced tradespeople, such as Registered Gas Safe engineers to service their boiler. All work will be logged on the system, providing a transparent “paper trail” to prove the landlord is fully compliant.

Michael Cairns, BigChange customer and company director at celsiusplumbers.com and founder of safehostbnb.co.uk, believes this could be a great time-saver for hosts.

He comments:

“The software will automatically book in an appointment and follow-up appointments, which takes the pressure off the landlord/hosts so they can focus on other tasks.”

Michael continued:

“They can do this safe in the knowledge they are legally complying with new licensing laws, which will demand that all certification safety checks are up to date and above board.”

It takes a lot of time to manage an Airbnb property or other short-term let and many businesses have been created to help ease the administrative burden. From property maintenance to restocking to cleaning to dealing with booking queries and responses to visitor questions, outsourcing agencies have helped lighten the load.

Michael added:

“BigChange’s platform is another helping hand for these hosts.”

He continued:

“Given the number of short-term lets in the South of England, it is likely the licensing scheme will be rolled out in the UK in the not-so-distant future,”

Michael concluded:

“This creates a big opportunity for businesses to jump on board and make life easier for landlords/hosts to be safety compliant.”

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

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

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

The Price Group, one of the UK’s pioneers in high level cleaning services, has implemented BigChange’s 5-in-1 Mobile Workforce Management Platform.

The all-in-one system provides intelligent job scheduling, a mobile app for operatives and real-time tracking of all vehicles across the fleet. The new system completely replaces a number of different software applications with a complete business solution.

First formed in 1970 as JV Price Ltd, the Hemel Hempstead head-quartered company has built a reputation as a specialist in window, façade and exterior cleaning. Today, The Price Group has diversified into associated services and the hire of specialist equipment such as access platforms. With regional depots in Birmingham and Gatwick and around 80 full-time operatives, Price operates a fleet of 60 vehicles including vans, truck-mounted access platforms and spider lifts.

BigChange has replaced a number of different systems to provide Price with a completely paperless solution for the business. Initially the company wanted to simply replace their vehicle tracking system as it was standalone and not linked to their management system.

Charlie Price, Group Managing Director of The Price Group, says:

“Previously we had a service management system, a tracking system, an auditing software package and various spreadsheets,”

“When we saw what BigChange offered we realised it could replace everything we had with a single system. We really liked the joined up approach and although it’s not what we planned, we have now replaced all our legacy systems. What we have now is way beyond our original expectations and has been key to our digital transformation.”

Price logs incoming calls on the BigChange CRM from which actions are automated such as emails to customers and the scheduling of work. Surveyors use tablets for site surveys supported with photographs and video so the work teams know what to expect on site. Quotations are then issued and PO’s raised as required for the job to proceed.

Using the BigChange JobWatch app Price operatives receive jobs on their tablets which then provide navigation to site where onscreen workflows ensure correct health and safety procedures and site assessments are completed. JobWatch is then used for job sheets, before and after site photos and customer signature sign-off. The helpdesk then check the job sheets to address any issues prior to invoicing and transfer of the required financial data to Sage.

Price explains:

“We now have a much faster turnaround of everything – from the sales process to job completion and invoicing. For the management team everything is on a single platform and easily accessible and the live reporting gives us 24/7 visibility of all jobs,”

“Now we have a totally paperless system and we estimate improvements in efficiency are already approaching 10 percent. Additionally the BigChange solution is easily scalable and affordable so we can grow the business without any of the traditional barriers imposed by IT and system suppliers.”

Price has also noticed operative engagement has also improved with JobWatch.

he adds:

“Our operatives really like the fact that they no longer have to fill out paper forms. In turn the office no longer has to decipher poorly written notes and illegible – sometimes water soaked – paperwork,”

Price also use the integrated BigChange tracking to assess driver performance and the company has recently introduced a drive safe campaign with a monthly bonus incentive.

Price explains:

“The objective is to reward the good and re-educate the bad.”

Price says:

“One of the things we really like about BigChange is that they are always pushing to improve the system. The ethos of the company is also very good. As a business we like to provide a great service at a fair price and that is exactly what BigChange do.”

“The RoadCrew team are fantastic. We operate a 24/7 emergency service and most scheduled jobs start prior to 6am so our operatives really appreciated there is someone on hand at BigChange to provide support at any hour.”

The Price Group computers

CCTV Monitoring, one of the fastest-growing construction site CCTV installation and monitoring businesses in the UK, has rolled out a mobile workforce system as part of a cloud-based business system from Leeds-based BigChange.

Equipped with rugged tablets running a 5 in 1 app called JobWatch, CCTV Monitoring engineers are tracked and connected in real-time to the central system giving management 24/7 visibility of their field operations.

CCTV Monitoring has a team of CCTV and security specialists with engineers that can be deployed quickly nationwide to provide a complete CCTV service from site assessment to installation, monitoring and servicing. Based in Emley, West Yorkshire, the company also operates a 24 hour state of the art monitoring station for key building sites across the UK. CCTV Monitoring services some of the biggest names in industry including Kier, Balfour Beatty, Morgan-Sindall, Galliford Try, Willmott Dixon and Skanska.

BigChange has provided a complete end-to-end solution to CCTV Monitoring which handles the entire business process. From logging incoming service requests on CRM software, to work scheduling and job allocation, through to routing and tracking to live job reporting, invoicing and management reporting.

Stuart Capstick, Managing Director of CCTV Monitoring, says:

“Initially we simply used BigChange as a CRM but we knew straight away that it provided a tremendous opportunity to improve the way we worked. The potential became very clear when we installed some large screens in the office and we could all immediately see our entire operations in real time and see the exact status of each job,”

he adds:

“BigChange really has revolutionised our business and it helps that it is very intuitive, very easy to use; it’s just ‘out there’,”

Founded 2005, CCTV Monitoring was formed to resolve the problems caused by opportunistic and professional theft from construction sites by using cost effective, technologically based CCTV alternatives to manned guards. The company secures sites in the most effective and technologically beneficial way; including an environment-friendly solar-powered system for remotely monitoring sites without the need for mains power.

With BigChange CCTV Monitoring has improved the way resources are allocated as the system gives an instant overview of each engineers’ location, status and capability. Linked to GPS trackers on their vans, engineers use their tablets for navigation, job sheets, timesheets, parts ordering and vehicle safety inspections. The devices can also be used for capturing time and location stamped photographs; providing indisputable evidence from site should future customer queries arise.

Capstick says:

“With BigChange we can get the right people to the right job quickly and efficiently; we’ve seen a very significant increase in productivity since implementing BigChange;”

he adds:

“Our profitability per job is now typically 30 percent greater than before. That profit is being ploughed back into the business to invest in new equipment and support our expansion plans nationally and into new markets,”

Like other adopters of BigChange CCTV Monitoring sees the system as a platform for growth. After consolidation last year, the company is expected to grow by 40 percent in 2019 with expansion not only in the construction sector but also into new markets and new areas of service such as access control and fire prevention.

Capstick explains:

“The thing about BigChange is that we are no longer constrained as a business. We can expand freely without needing to worry about our IT capability – it is all on the cloud and mobile. As they say old ways won’t open new doors and we have a new way – BigChange gives us fingertip control of the business and with the flexibility of the system we can easily tailor it to bring on new services.”

With the introduction of BigChange, customer services have had a big boost through improved communication with clients. With better and more up to date information clients are kept in the picture with emails with expected time off arrival on site and job completion reports, backed with photographs.

Capstick says:

“For many clients we already provide live CCTV feeds through our monitoring service but they were pretty much in the dark when it came to our installation and service work. With BigChange that has changed and now we can keep them in the picture,”

“It’s good for business in other ways as well as previously we were going out to do chargeable reactive maintenance work but our records were not updated; on this alone BigChange has increased our annual billings by around £30k a year in fees previously not charged.”

CCTV monitoring on a computer

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.”

AGS, provider of facilities management services to Transport for London (TfL), has completed the implementation of a mobile workforce system from BigChange.

The system, which sees field technicians equipped with tablets connected in real time to a control centre, has been rolled out initially across the company’s fast-expanding Pest Control division.

AGS provide a range of services for the upkeep of public transport facilities across London, including the Underground, rail lines, tunnels, rail and bus stations. As a contractor to TfL, AGS provide everything from cleaning, maintenance, painting and specialist coatings. The Group’s pest control division was formed two years ago as part of a strategic move to expand the AGS business nationally.

David McMillan, General Manager, AGS Pest Control says:

“The UK pest control market has undergone some major changes in recent years and we have identified a need for small, specialist and highly mobile teams to deliver fast-response services,”

“BigChange provides a highly agile and accessible platform that will underpin this expansion and allow us to easily collaborate with like-minded companies nationally.”

AGS Pest Control are using JobWatch, the 5 in 1 mobile app from BigChange linked in real time to BigChange back office CRM and work scheduling. JobWatch replaces a series of separate systems to provide a fully integrated IT solution for paperless working throughout the company.

McMillan says:

“We have previously equipped our technicians with tablets but they were simply used to take pictures and send emails. It was not a connected system so it required a lot of laborious data entry and frankly wasted time for both our field technicians and office administrators,”

“We wanted a system that would do everything and BigChange offered the best solution.”

With their TfL contract AGS face challenging working conditions. often underground or trackside and are bound by stringent safety and security procedures. The array of paperwork has been eliminated with the introduction of JobWatch that provides on-screen workflows and fully digital working.

In London, AGS technicians are not patch based but get allocated jobs across London. The system helps to ensure the right technicians are assigned to the right jobs based on their skills and certifications. With parking difficult in London travel by van is minimised and BigChange scheduling software assigns the best daily working schedule for each technician based on jobs location.
The TfL work is fault based and service requests are via the TfL system that will soon be integrated with the BigChange system to provide a seamless digital workflow from start to completion. With a pool of over 60 mobile operatives the pest control specialists are sometimes supported by crews to undertake supporting work such as clearing vegetation and removing litter.

McMillan says:

“BigChange provides us with an overview of everything that is happening in real time. With colour coded status reports I can instantly see how we are doing and deal quickly with any outstanding issues. It’s a brilliant management tool,”

“The other thing we really like is that it is a fully integrated system that does everything we need; it joins up all the dots.”

AGS operate 24/7 with night and day shifts. Work is usually scheduled the day before deployment with technicians receiving jobs on their tablets. The devices are then used for all tasks onsite such as risk assessments, certifications, job sheets and customer sign off on glass. On completion the job details a sent directly to the client with the AGS Control Centre dealing with any issues and additional service needs, with quoting and invoicing as required.

AGS has ambitious plans for expansion nationally and BigChange provides a platform that will underpin this growth.

McMillan comments:

“Being a cloud solution we can expand without any IT infrastructure restraints and we really like the flexibility of the system. In our business there are numerous types of reports and different clients have different requirements; it can get very complicated. With JobWatch we can simply configure report templates to meet any requirement. This is important as we plan expansion nationwide,”

AGS also see a future in collaboration.

McMillan explains:

“With the pest control market opening up in recent years we believe there is void to be filled by specialists around the country. With JobWatch we can easily share work by giving contractors access to the JobWatch app or by collaborating with other companies who are part of the fast-growing BigChange network,”

“Smaller operators can compete not only by sharing resources and intelligence but by using JobWatch there is a professional system in place that provides all the functionality and credentials needed to deliver big company services but with more reactive and better value services.”

BigChange AGS teamwork

Yorkshire drainage services company MW Waste has transformed its business with a mobile system providing 24 hour visibility of its emergency field operations.

Supplied by Leeds-based BigChange, the system provides a complete IT solution that connects rugged tablets running a 5 in 1 mobile app with vehicle tracking and time-stamped photographs from site. MW Waste reports savings of £50k per year and significant customer service improvements since implementing the system, called JobWatch.

MW Waste provide a 24/7 fast response service across the north of England from headquarters just off the A1(M) in North Yorkshire. The company’s wastewater engineers unblock drains, fix broken pumping station equipment and empty septic tanks. With a fleet of specialist vehicles including Jet Vac Tankers, CCTV survey vans and excavators, the company looks after tens of thousands of drainage assets for domestic and commercial clients including Yorkshire Water, Severn Trent, Balfour Beatty and various local councils.

Keith Chadwick, MD of MW Waste says:

“With our multi-skilled workforce and range of specialist vehicles and plant we are equipped to deal with just about any task involving wastewater,”

“We’ve seen a big increase in demand recently as a result of the tightening up of legislation and we realised we needed to find a system that would help us manage that demand and allow us to expand.”

First established in 1995, MW Waste originally managing everything on paper and by calls to mobile phones which was proving inefficient and unreliable. When it was discovered work was being missed or not invoiced due to poor records, the company decided action was needed.

Chadwick says:

“BigChange required us to change the way we work but we never looked back and it has completely revolutionised the business. The real surprise was the savings. We reckon it is going to save us a fortune over time and we’re already saving around £50,000 a year. The elimination of paperwork administration, the improved utilisation of resources, accurate invoicing and fuel savings are the most obvious benefits of the system,”

MW Waste has recently achieved ISO 9001 and 14001 accreditations for environmental and quality and JobWatch is proving vital to meeting an increasing amount of reporting required by their larger commercial clients. MW Waste like the fact that they can tailor their own worksheets as different clients require different forms. Having standardised feedback via the app drop-down lists is also proving very useful by insuring better consistency and quality of data.

Vehicles are equipped with BigChange satellite trackers giving the office real-time view of the fleet with accurate ETA information. The tablets provide navigation to site and the app includes site safety workflows and is used to take time-stamped and geo-referenced photographs linked to each job card.

Ben Bromfield, Operations Manager says:

“Using the tablets to take photographs on site showing before and after work and at every stage if required. This gives an immediate visual record and we can advise on jobs directly from the office and the images are attached to the job cards for the customer to clearly see the work has been done,”

Bromfield adds:

“The system is brilliant for allocating jobs and when vehicles are already out we can quickly view their location and job progress to see if another job can be done on the route back. This means we are not only more reactive but we are able to do more jobs a day. Now we have it, I don’t think we could operate without JobWatch.”

MW Waste maintain their own vehicles and the tablets are used for daily vehicle defect inspections. The JobWatch inspection reports are received by the fleet manager and the workshop is immediately made aware of any maintenance requirements. The work schedular meanwhile can immediately see on-screen any non-availability of vehicles so clashes in job scheduling are avoided.

Job Watch gives MW Waste complete visibility of every job and this is especially useful when taking calls from customers.

Bromfield explains:

“We can view the job details and any history to immediately answer any questions; that’s impressive customer service. We also can instantly check all the facts if issues are raised and we have evidence of a job done at our fingertips,”

Chadwick says:

“BigChange has made my life a lot easier.”

“With easy access anytime, anywhere we really feel we are in control of the business. I no longer have to worry things that used to take hours out of my day; everything is invoiced correctly and invoice queries are now very much a thing of the past. Customers are happier and that is ensuring we get repeat work and good referrals.”

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.

Meir says:

“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.

Meir explains:

“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.

Meir comments:

“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,”

Gas Smart Heating has rolled out a high tech mobile workforce system as part of a paperless management system. A specialist in domestic heating and plumbing, Gas Smart Heating Ltd has equipped its field engineers with tablets running jobWatch, a 5 in 1 app supplied by BigChange.

Incorporating vehicle tracking with real time job reporting via the tablets, the system provides Gas Smart Heating with a complete end to end business solution.

With a team of highly trained engineers and headquarters based in Brighton, Gas Smart Heating provides reactive gas and plumbing maintenance including boiler and appliance installation. Formed just 5 years ago the company wanted to introduce the latest technology to underpin further expansion. The BigChange system has replaced existing software and paper-based systems, eliminating paperwork throughout the business.

Steven Cahalane, Director, Gas Smart Heating says:

“At the start we were only partly automated and crucial details on customers and appointments were simply scribbled on pieces of paper and calendars. As we began to grow and recruit more engineers, we realised we needed a much more professional system. We wanted to be able to match larger service providers such as British Gas and that’s when we started looking for a new system,”

Previously Gas Smart Heating had a system that provided digital job sheets but according to Cahalane it was very much a packaged solution with fixed job worksheets designed for a sole trader.

“Our old system was fine at the start but as we began to recruit more engineers it was clearly not up to the job. What we really wanted was a single system that would do everything. It was clear from the outset that BigChange offered something that fitted the bill exactly.”

In the office, Gas Smart Heating use JobWatch to log incoming calls, schedule work with jobs sent electronically to the assigned engineers’ tablet. With real-time data from the job, the office is always kept in the picture and can quickly resolve any issues – with invoices generally raised on the day of job completion

Cahalane says:

“The thing about BigChange is that it can match the functionality of systems costing hundreds of thousands of pounds used by national utility firms. This allows new independent players like Gas Smart Heating to enter the market and match the levels of service provided by the traditional suppliers,”

Gas Smart Heating Ltd realised that in order to compete effectively with the large national suppliers and to set them apart from their local competitors, customer service was going to be key. JobWatch is being used to provide the best customer interaction possible including immediate email booking confirmations including name and photograph of the assigned engineer.

Operationally, JobWatch has been implemented to provide information on appliances and job history information so engineers have visibility of previous faults and work done. The system also manages stocks and parts purchasing so engineers no longer face delays on jobs waiting on parts. With real time communication with the office, any additional work needed on site can also be quoted and agreed for completion while still onsite.

Cahalane explains:

“The job history and stock management applications with JobWatch have made a big difference. It means first time job completion rates are much better. In turn our engineers are happier as there are fewer frustrating delays waiting for parts and customers are happier as the work gets done first time without the need to arrange another visit,”

Health and safety is a big issue in the service industry and Gas Smart Heating are finding that JobWatch is helping with safety and compliance. Engineers can immediately record any safety issues onsite with supporting time and location stamped photographs. The system also provides onsite risk assessment workflows and electronic certificates.

As part of JobWatch vans are fitted with satellite tracking. Previously engineers were being called to check on their whereabouts but the system has eliminated that by providing email or text ETA alerts to keep the customer informed on the day. Customers are also able to track engineers progress via a link they receive by Gas Smart heating, allowing them to get on with their day without fear of missing the engineer.

Cahalane explains:

“With BigChange we are simply a lot more organised.”

“With satellite tracking data we can ensure engineers are paid accurately for their working day and overtime. Customer service has really benefitted as well – proof of service is very important especially when dealing with the high expectations of consumers. The tracking and live reporting also helps eliminate and resolve disputes, with quick and accurate invoicing that ensures we get paid quickly.”

Cahalane adds:

“In implementing the BigChange system we wanted to get in early with the latest technology and as state-of-the-art professional software it gives us a crucial competitive edge in the market. With JobWatch we are probably 25 percent more efficient; without it we need more office staff and I would be overwhelmed with administration tasks and paperwork. In fact, we simply wouldn’t be able to compete,”

“However, we see the biggest benefits being realised in the future. Because of the flexibility of the system we can configure it to take on contract work that we could not really do before such as insurance-related work. In addition we can expand freely and the system is easily expandable, accessible and relatively affordable.”

Gas smart van

Community Clean has transformed its business by equipping field operatives with tablets connected in real-time to the office to replace paperwork.

As a provider of regeneration, protection and maintenance services, Community Clean is using the mobile workforce system from BigChange to manage operations nationwide. The system, called JobWatch, also automates all back-office functions as part of a complete 5 in 1 solution delivered via the cloud.

Established over 20 years ago and still family-run, Community Clean started as a graffiti removal service for local authorities. From headquarters in Dorset, the company has expanded continually and now services a diversity of sectors such as construction, rail, highways, facilities and housing. Clients include Network Rail, Skanska, Balfour Beatty and BAM and working with Costain, Community Clean helped restore over 40,000sqm of Victorian brickwork during the refurbishment of London Bridge station.

Andy Izzard, Director of Community Clean says:

“Our main focus is to do our best to help regenerate and maintain the environment in which we live in. We see evolution and innovation as things that make us stand out and the IT solution provided by BigChange really has put us ahead of the pack,”

Community Clean’s work is very diverse which adds complexity to managing the business. BigChange has allowed the previous workflow and paperwork systems to be incorporated into a single, integrated system. Using their tablets, field operatives can now instantly see all the relevant project paperwork, health and safety documentation, maps and photos. Previously hand-completed worksheets are now on the tablets and with mandatory health and safety reports, management can ensure that all the right paperwork is complete, first time.

Jody Hayter, Operational Administrator at Community Clean says:

“Gone are the days of mountains of paperwork and all project information is now transferred live, direct from HQ straight to our Operation Teams onsite. The tablets allow instant communication not only internally, but directly to our clients too and project progress can be tracked in real time with latest photos and site updates.”

Prior to the introduction of the BigChange system, Community Clean were using a cumbersome system made up of three separate components as well as spreadsheets according to Clare Branch, HSEQ Manager.

Clare Branch, HSEQ Manager explains:

“What we had was all very clunky and it didn’t accommodate mobile workers. Getting paperwork back and forth to operational teams was onerous and very time consuming with inevitable delays to invoicing.”

Clare continued:

“BigChange makes managing our projects far easier and also cuts down the chasing of paperwork. We are now dealing with more projects, with less staff, in a far more efficient manner and with the data being available instantly, invoicing is done on the same day, improving cash flow.”

“Our sales and marketing team also love the fact that photos and project details are instantly available, making social media posts far more dynamic.”

The system has helped improve health and safety compliance and meet required ISO standards and, according to Branch, Community Clean particularly like having the flexibility to create their own templates and worksheets.

Clare concluded:

“With the diversity and ever changing nature of our work the flexibility of the system means we have ownership of our own internal procedures.”

Sam Lester, Business Executive, Community Clean comments:

“The whole business is now sleeker, quicker and more efficient than ever… but this is only the beginning. With still a lot more functionality yet to come, we can safely say this is one IT investment that is already paying off!”

BigChange has improved scheduling and with vehicle tracking allows Community Clean to monitor all aspects of the fleet including driver performance, fuel and CO2. JobWatch is also used for vehicle checks and to record all vehicle compliance related data for managing FORS.

BigChange community clean team

From large plumbing businesses with expansive fleets of vehicles and technicians to; smaller, growing ventures with a handful of drivers and just a few customers.

Everyone gains from systems which better organise regular and reactive service visits, simplify driver dispatching & smart scheduling and create accurate and real-time invoices with ease.

Within the Plumbing & HVAC sectors, the ability to remotely view detailed service histories and automatically assign mobile contractors is essential to enhancing customer satisfaction and retention. Through the implementation of a comprehensive Mobile Workforce Management System, like JobWatch by BigChange, your plumbing or HVAC business can facilitate seamless collaboration between mobile engineers, back office staff and customers.

Why do plumbers need a mobile workforce management system?

A Mobile Workforce Management platform, such as JobWatch by BigChange integrates all basic CRM functions with many new and innovative features aimed at saving your back office time and money. With the ability to link field technicians with back office staff and a customer portal seamlessly through the cloud, MWM systems can revolutionise how you do business while providing your customers with a complete picture of their service relationship.

Whereas most off the shelf CRM (customer relationship management) systems typically provide only barebones customer information and basic service details, a fully optimised Mobile Workforce Management system like JobWatch by BigChange can use this service data to instantly produce quotes and invoices, update comprehensive service and customer histories and provide real-time driver updates while demanding mandatory safety and systems protocols are followed 100% of the time.

Additionally, via the improved transparency and collaboration features of an MWM system, many aspects of operations such as; inventory, invoicing, driver tracking and full CRM can be centralised into one, easily accessible location.

What are the most important features of the Mobile Workforce Management system?

Within the Plumbing and HVAC sectors, an MWM system, like JobWatch by BigChange can provide significant ROI by

  • Ensuring mandatory safety workflow are followed 100% of the time
  • Increase first-time fix rate (insert a link to blog) via smart scheduling
  • Sync financial data with ease, creating instant invoices and Sage/ Xero compatible data
  • Improve Smart Scheduling with the use of a comprehensive driver tracking system
  • Organise customer & service history data within the mobile CRM

As we have discussed in previous blogs (insert a link to MWM & CRM blogs) MWM enables an array of mobile service engineers to communicate, collaborate and follow mandatory workflows dictated by the back office. An MWM system, like JobWatch by BigChange, often contains any or all of the below features.

  • Create schedules for mobile employees and back office staff
  • Dispatch mobile employees to new jobs, with access to service histories
  • Two-way communication between mobile employees and back office in real-time
  • Perform capacity planning for high-volume or low-volume periods
  • Track employees en route to different jobs to facilitate smart scheduling
  • Log job start, completion and travel time to track driver behaviour
  • Track average length of service engagements and complications which may arise
  • Track employee performance
  • Include a CRM or other system of record to streamline operations

What do the customers say?

Within the plumbing and HVAC sectors, there are countless which may bring a business to switch to an all-in-one MWM system, like JobWatch from BigChange. Here’s what some of our customers have to say:

“The Biggest benefits have been the automatic email reporting.JourneyWatch has saved us time, money and improved driver behaviour.” – Jane Bexton, Office Manager, Cool Repair

“BigChange is a true end to end solution with everything completely integrated so we can work fast and efficiently; no more paper, no more data entry, fewer customer queries and quicker invoicing.” – Caroline Bigg, Finance Director, CleanSafe

“Going with BigChange has improved our professionalism and efficiency. we always know where our engineers are so we can inform our customers. Eliminating the need for calling to and from the office.” – Danny Bee, Sales Manager, Service Solutions Ltd

Why should your Plumbing or HVAC business use JobWatch by BigChange?

BigChange’s 5-in-1 platform enables Plumbing and HVAC businesses of all sizes to better manage and plan many of the most pressing factors influencing your business’s success. From centralising financial documents and customer histories to providing detailed driver records and proof of safety compliance JobWatch from BigChange brings all the core functionality of CRM, invoicing, dispatching and scheduling software under one roof.

With JobWatch by BigChange, your back office can easily monitor, schedule & dispatch planned and reactive service request while optimising your staffs strongest skills to prevent unneeded travel.

Through the use of an integrated MWM platform, such as JobWatch by BigChange mobile technicians can be given access (or restrictions based off back office protocols) to critical service data and can be supplied essential parts to resolve any service request with the click of a button.

Additionally, through the use of preventative maintenance workflows directed via the Mobile workforce management system service engineers experience a significant increase in first-time fix rate.

By improving transparency and collaboration between all aspects of operations through the implementation of mobile workforce management software, such as BigChange, your business can drastically improve customer satisfaction and retention.

To read more about how JobWatch by BigChange can simplify how your Plumbing or HVAC does business click Here. ( update to the link of sector-specific site)

The BigChange Collaboration Network attracts many innovative and dynamic young professionals aiming to expand services to their customers.

Michael Cairns of Celsius Plumbers is one of the young) and creative individuals who has partnered with BigChange to simplify and centralise his business operations. We recently sat down with Michael to discuss his journey into the heating and plumbing industry, reflecting on some key advice to young business owners looking to expand their operations.

BigChange: Tell us a little bit about your background, how you got started in the industry and some of your most significant accomplishments?

Michael Cairns: I started my journey in 2003 as an apprentice plumbing and heating engineer. At the time finding an apprenticeship as someone over 16 was very difficult, but without a doubt it has had a major positive impact on my life and my families.

After completing my apprenticeship, I gained industry qualifications and started working for the McSence Group. I spent less than a year as a Heating Engineer for McSence before being made redundant from my position.

Following my time at the McSense Group, I decided to start my own business. That big jump happened at the end of 2007 and has grown into Celsius Plumbers.

BigChange: How did your experience as an apprentice plumbing and heating engineer shape your understanding of the value and importance of vocational apprenticeships in the service sectors?

While some things have change since my time served apprenticeship, many of the features and industry wide problems have remained in the heating and plumbing sectors. One of the biggest issues we are currently facing is a major shortage of qualified plumbing and heating engineers. Without skilled professionals giving over their years of experience, there could be significant concerns about the next generation of skilled labour in the UK.

There currently seems to be many independent trades people, way more than ever before. These small businesses are fantastic and take great pride in their work, but not necessarily interested in taking on apprentices due to time and financial constraints. This trend could prove to be a major issue, as older plumbing and heating engineers retire.

We really champion apprenticeships and have done so for many years. We have been training apprentices here at Celsius since 2007. We have proudly trained 7 apprentices so far, all of whom have gained their full industry qualifications. we currently have an apprentice in his 3rd year and are about to start a new 1st year apprentice, which is really exciting for us. The reason we feel so strongly about taking on apprentices, is because we recognise the value and importance of passing on the knowledge to the next generation. I suppose, I recognise personally how much an apprenticeship shaped my life, I wouldn’t be where I am today without one.

BigChange: How has the BigChange system enabled you to streamline operations?

Michael Cairns: After being frustrated with our previous software provider, we were contracted by BigChange and we immediately saw how the system could help our business. The BigChange system has allowed us to do everything we couldn’t do in the past. We used to face various challenges at every step, but with BigChange we have been able to significantly optimise and automate our operations.

With BigChange we have transformed the way we do business. The workflows, Alerts and system process automation have added so much value. When we are faced with an operational challenge, we look to the system to find a solution. The system breeds consistency which is fundamental in any business.

We run on the BigChange flag system, which has built major staff member accountability. It offers our staff a full understanding of what their responsibilities are. Each flag has its own procedure, which answers the fundamental ‘WHY’ question, especially amongst our millennium team members. This has also simplified how our line managers measure performance. As the saying goes, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

BigChange: How has your time working at Celsius shaped your vision to be more globally aware and receptive to diverse customer needs?

Michael Cairns: We currently operate in England and Scotland and through the BigChange collaboration network, we are looking to expand nationwide, while also resolving workforce turnover. Having to delegate responsibility and having the systems to simplify how we do business, has enabled us to think about developing staff to better fulfil their roles. By having clear systems and processes our staff can operate more independently and work to the best of their abilities.

BigChange: What advice can you give over to small and medium sized businesses trying to scale up operations?

Michael Cairns: Surround yourself with a good team and Learn from making mistakes. You must be aware of the trends that are driving the market, it can really impact your overall success.

Your team is your biggest asset, having a company of engaged team members is challenging to achieve, it takes years to properly understand what makes people come to work. When your team know what is expected and have a clear vision of where the company wants to be, the business owners job becomes a whole lot easier. Set goals and reward success when you achieve your goals. How can any business properly grow, unless the team have clarity around the fundamentals? By doing this, we have built a team that are engaged, loyal and dedicated to helping our business grow.

Lastly read books, like the E- Myth Revisited by Michael E Gerber. This book changed my whole thought process around business.

BigChange: What major trends are most likely to make the most impact in the next 5-10 years, in your view?

Michael Cairns: Customers ability to obtain information quicker, as people’s lives become busier.

Additionally, of all the breakthroughs impacting the industry, Uber-style driver tracking features have made the most significant effect on improved customer satisfaction, driving increased transparency. With this and other methods to solidify communication, we’ve increased the tools and information our team can use to solve customer issues the first time.

Through massive and industry wide innovation and ease of access via the web, people will no longer be waiting for a price offered by a contractor. The customer journey will start earlier and the customer will want instant price quotes (much like how amazon operates). The customer is very educated, more than ever and you can’t cheat them. Customers want a polished website which is geared towards instant payment and connects directly with engineers. That said, with all the technical innovation, our customers still want a personal service.

Quality of service and accessibility to technology will shape the growth of businesses in the plumbing and electrical sectors. In the end people want a personal connection based on good service and quality customer service. We don’t make things complicated; we try to help them resolve their issues. We don’t over promise and under deliver.

We’ve taken a lot of inspiration with how BigChange does business, we see CEO Martin Port as an innovator and a mentor who is always happy to give advice. BigChange have helped us to better engage our staff. We feel the simple things are important. It’s not just technology or smoke and mirrors that drive business, its investing in your staff and building quality customer service.

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

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 schedulingjob 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.”

Rochester adds:

“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.

Rochester explains:

“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.

Rochester adds:

“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 Target lady using software on computer

Utilising a sleek and efficient workforce can improve service response times while decreasing the significant operational costs associated with running a fleet of vehicles, back office coordination & technician/service time.

In order to keep your team operating on top of their game, service technicians must have access to all the parts needed to resolve the problem at hand without the need for repeat visits and additional contractor related delays, known in the industry as the first-time fix rate.

How do you balance the need to have business-critical parts on hand, whilst avoiding having cash tied up in inventory?

The ability to minimise excess inventory while still proving service technicians all the critical tools to do their jobs and maintain a high first-time fix rate could be game-changing.

What is the potential relationship between 3D printing and improved first-time fix rate and customer satisfaction?

3D printers could offer a unique opportunity to remove inventory from the factors impacting first-time fix rate. By providing the possibility to print a broad range of specialised parts at the click of a button, contractors can prevent needless overstock of rarely used parts without risking the ire of disappointed customers.

DELOITTE Global predicts that “sales related to 3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) by large public companies—including enterprise 3D printers, materials, and services—will surpass US$2.7 billion in 2019 and top US$3 billion in 2020. (For context, the global manufacturing sector’s revenue as a whole totals roughly US$12 trillion annually.1) This part of the 3D printing industry will grow at about 12.5 percent in each of those years, more than double its growth rate just a few years ago.”

As a direct result of this massive expansion, In some sectors, 3D printers are already beginning to make a serious impact on how business is done.

What are 3D printers typically used for and who uses them?

About 66 percent of industrial manufacturers are already using 3D printing, according to a 2014 PwC survey. Most commonly used to quickly create prototypes, this technology also enables maintenance professionals to significantly reduce inventory costs and extend the life spans of outdated assets.”

Removing the lag time between idea and physical prototype, 3D printing is already helping engineers and industrial manufacturers better turn concepts into reality.

In construction, 3D printing engineers are developing methods to form wall sections and plumbing and electrical hubs; potentially decreasing the future cost of home construction in orders of magnitude.

Novel types of printers are becoming available—those that exploit robotics more ingeniously, for instance, or are better adapted to compound materials—and are enabling new applications.”

In the medical sectors, 3D printing is being used to form new drug delivery systems to better distribute medicine to patients’ immune systems.

BigChange 3D printer equipment

How can 3D printing impact the service sectors?

In the service sectors, 3D printing could bring tangible changes in maintenance management via; inventory costs (a reoccurring and relevant theme across many sectors), assembly costs, and the replacement of discontinued parts.

Inventory Costs:

Maintaining an inventory of spare parts is expensive and not always viable depending on the size of your fleet and staff. Some parts are expensive and companies only need to keep a couple of spares on hand to avoid machine downtime. Through the implementation of 3D printing, businesses can send out technicians with common parts and the ability to print irregular parts on the spot if needed. This prevents overstock while ensuring it won’t negatively impact first-time fix rate.

Reduces Assembly Costs:

With a variance of methods to produce parts in real-time, e.g. CNC machining vs 3D printing, time and costs can make a major impact into which tool will be used to create specialised items.

Generally, a complex, 3D printed part is cheaper to produce than one that is traditionally tooled out of a CNC machine. This is because some parts are cut from metal and assembled after, while you create a 3D printed part in one solid piece.”

Replacement of Discontinued Parts:

If maintained properly machinery can operate for many years without major issue. But inevitably, a machine will become outdated and spare parts may be difficult to find or too expensive to source. Older assets can be kept running longer by outsourcing the 3D printing of discontinued, high-value parts, allowing these assets to be maintained at lower cost and for a longer duration.

What are the current obstacles preventing the widespread use of 3D printing in the service sector and what factors could change this?

There are a number of factors currently contributing to 3D printers/ printing being the method of choice to quickly acquire or produce a specialised part. However, some of the major obstacles include;

  • Cost of machinery (ranging for £4,500-£600,000)
  • Cost of materials to be formed in the 3D printer
  • Skill in operating the often complex software (see our recent blog on the impact of Millennials in the workforce to see how this is quickly becoming an issue of the past)
  • Simple to understand and standardised regulations in 3D printer construction
  • Patents and legal matters which are currently inflating the cost of producing high-quality 3D printers.
  • Lmitations in the pliability of materials and the resulting cost of easily printable materials
  • Timeline of total production on the 3D printer

How could a collaborative platform, such as JobWatch from BigChange help bring 3D printing into the toolbox of service contractors?

In some industries, 3-D printing has been considered or utilized for an extended period of time- on the scale of several decades. However, the use cases have been heavily dominated in the realms of prototyping and not to be effectively used for large scale manufacturing.

Industries that have gained a great deal of familiarity with 3D printing, primarily the aerospace and automotive industries, are beginning to unlock the capabilities so others can build working parts, elegantly designed fixtures, and models. Innovators and entrepreneurs are just beginning to scratch the surface of 3-D printing’s potential.

“To simplify tricky field logistics scenarios, field service professionals can set up on-demand printing stations in hard-to-reach or temporary field service job areas. The oil and gas, renewables, rail, and construction sectors all face the same challenge.

They must provide service in challenging locations and environments. Instead of delivering hundreds of parts on the back of a truck, why not deliver a handful of 3D printing machines that could custom print on-demand near the site? This could significantly reduce shipping costs and meet real-time parts replacement demands. And you’d only be manufacturing the parts you’ll use.”

And what better way to facilitate this collaboration than using the BigChange mobile workforce management Network? With the BigChange Collaboration Network, any active user can find and schedule subcontracting services with ease. As the field of 3D printing becomes more entrenched and mobile the BigChange team looks forward to welcoming relevant partners to join our network to best meet the needs of our dynamic customers and clients.

To read more on how the BigChange Collaboration Network can help your business better meet growing customer demands please see this link as well as this recent blog by Paul Skinner on the value of collaboration.

BigChange buy print deliver graphic

A generational shift is happening in the global workforce and its changing the way business is done.

No longer are the professional trades driven by the methods and process which dictated previous success. Now speed and accessibility of information are just as valuable as the quality of service.

With accessibility of services and response time being the major factors driving sales, especially in the service sectors, many business are increasingly relying on Millennials to define best practices in service management technology and customer experience.

The maturation and integration of the Millennial generation into the workforce has seen massive changes in how businesses operate. From the financial sectors’ significant shift and reliance on digital assets management to professional sports franchises utilisation of real time data and statistics to influence player conditioning, the millennial generation are adapting the traditional approaches and drivers of engagement to the new technological realities of the 21st century.

According to the Pew Center:

“Millennials are on the cusp of surpassing Baby Boomers as the USA’s largest living adult generation, according to population projections from the U.S. Census Bureau. As of July 1, 2016 (the latest date for which population estimates are available), Millennials, whom we define as ages 20 to 35 in 2016, numbered 71 million, and Boomers (ages 52 to 70) numbered 74 million. Millennials are expected to overtake Boomers in population in 2019 as their numbers swell to 73 million and Boomers decline to 72 million. Generation X (ages 36 to 51 in 2016) is projected to pass the Boomers in population by 2028.”

From the incorporation of tech savvy thinking and accessibility of on-demand information in real time many industries are improving customer satisfaction, response time and the ability to manage large fleets with ease in no small part because of the internal influence of millennials in the corporate management structure.

By 2025, Millennials Will Comprise Three-Quarters of the Global Workforce.

As a recent blog stated :

“We know the stereotypes. Millennials never settle down. We’re drowning in debt for useless degrees. We refuse to put our phone away. We are addicted to lattes even at the expense of our water bill. Our bosses are not wrong about these perceptions. But, pointing to our sometimes irresponsible spending and fear of interpersonal commitment isn’t going to solve your problem. You still need us. We’re the ones who’ve mastered social media, who have the energy of a thousand suns, and who will knock back £4.00 macchiatos until the job is done perfectly.”

What is a Millennial? What defines this generation?

The Pew Research Center defines Millennials as the people who were born between 1981 and 1996. Gallup uses roughly the same time window, and estimates that there are approximately 73 million Millennials in America.

“Millennials already are the largest segment in the workplace. Within the next two years, 50 percent of the U.S. workforce is expected to be made up of Millennials. It will be 75 percent by 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics.”

At companies where managers show sincere interest in Millennials as people, the organization sees an 8x improvement in agility, and a 7x increase in innovation!

Millennials are the first-generation who can objectively be viewed as digital.

“Technology – particularly gadgets like smartphones, but also tablets and laptops – have revolutionised the way they connect and interact with one another and the rest of the world.

While the vast majority of people surf the Web from a desktop or laptop computer at home or work, 85 percent of Millennials access the Internet from their phones – more than all other generations.”

How will Millennials impact how business will operate in the future?

According to Deloitte’s seventh annual Millennial Survey:

Companies and senior management teams that are most aligned with millennials in terms of purpose, culture and professional development are likely to attract and retain the best millennial talent and, in turn, potentially achieve better financial performance. Loyalty must be earned, and the vast majority of millennials are prepared to move, and move quickly, for a better workplace experience.

The top priorities when looking for a job are money (92 percent), security (87 percent), holidays/time off (86 percent), great people (80 percent), and flexible working (79 percent).

Millennials want leaders to more aggressively commit to making a tangible impact on the world while also preparing their organisations and employees for the changes in the formulative process of how Industry works.

How can the service sectors best prepare for a millennial driven work force?

Millennials are especially motivated by dynamic, cross-functional positions that expand their skills and challenge them. As a direct result of this thirst for knowledge, millennials seek jobs that allow them to be in contact with and learn from experts with interesting and diverse skill sets. Millennials strive to enhance interactions with other professionals and teams across a number of projects and campaigns.

With a clearer understanding of the factors which enhance millennial loyalty, companies can develop career paths that provide a wide range of experiences and not just vertical promotions up the totem pole.

How Can BigChange help your business integrate millennials into your operations?

BigChange what millenials want graphic

BigChange provides a dynamic mobile workforce management platform that delivers the digital, paperless and on-demand app-based experience that today’s workforce is increasingly used to. Millenials increasingly use mobile apps and social media as their primary means of communication, whether it’s managing their lives via WhatApp and Facebook, carefully curating their online personas on Instagram or ordering food-on-demand from the proliferation of on-demand apps.

Millenials increasingly demand complete integration and a seamless experience from technology; they don’t expect the need to switch between multiple pieces of software.

With its easy to use interface, BigChange combines everything a mobile-workforce needs into one easy to use package. bringing together back-office CRM, intelligent job scheduling, a paperless mobile app that manages each job step by step and sophisticated live tracking of vehicles. This cloud based system can be accessed by mobile teams collaborating across multiple sites and geographies.

BigChange gives millennial employees the mobile-first experience that they expect in the workplace, boosting productivity.

Where previous service management methods catered to older generations with bulky paper trails and disorganised invoices, the BigChange platform, with its sleek user interface and easy to use portal gives the millennial population a vital tool to manage the customer experience and support technical staff while allowing the back office to manage all billing and invoices in real time. BigChange gives Power to the Paperless!

To learn more about the BigChange 5-in-1 system please click here

References
1. Richard Fry. Millennials projected to overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation (2018). Link
2. Quick Take: Generations—Demographic Trends in Population and Workforce (2018). Link
3. Lisa McLeod. Why Millennials Keep Dumping You: An Open Letter to Management (2015). Link
4. Mark Emmons. Millennials are likely the most studied generation in history (2018). Link
5. Ed Frauenheim. 2018 Best Workplaces for Millennials Summary (2018). Link
6. How Millennials Want to Work and Live. Link
7. The Importance of Millennials in the Workplace. Link
8. The Deloitte Millennial Survey (2018). Link
9. Mark Emmons. Millennials are likely the most studied generation in history. (2018). Link

GasTech, the nationwide supplier of heating and cooling systems and services has deployed the latest mobile technology as part of a new cloud-based management system.

GasTech engineers have been equipped with rugged tablets that are connected in the real time to central management systems; part of a 5 in 1 solution from BigChange.

GasTech supply, install and service heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems for commercial and industrial premises across the UK. Operating 24 hours, 7 days a week services, the BigChange technology has revolutionised GasTech’s business by eliminating paperwork and providing live operational information for improved control, productivity and service.

With headquarters near Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, GasTech was first established in 2005. Prior to implementing BigChange, GasTech used a PDF-based system for completing engineer reports and forms but it did not provide data or any tracking and gathering reports was proving time-consuming and inefficient.

Craig Firth, Director at GasTech says:

“With our growing workload we knew we needed to completely change the way we managed our service operations and in particular we needed to reduce the time engineers spent filling out forms,”

Craig continued:

“We undertook extensive research into the available systems on the market and it was clear that BigChange was very easy to use and would take away the administrative headaches from engineers so they could be more productive.”

JobWatch is used by engineers for everything from risk assessments to method statements, procedures, boiler and appliance manuals, job cards, quotations. It allows engineers to manage their work themselves knowing that the central office system will always be fully synchronised, whether night or day.

The GasTech fleet is equipped with BigChange vehicle tracking which provides useful real-time data for customer services and historic records for management analysis and proof of service. GasTech engineers also have immediate access to useful data such as the customer history with records of previous work on site and they can also see what parts are available throughout the company, including stock held on other vans.

Craig added:

“With BigChange we have a real-time paperless solution and there are significant benefits especially in the reduction of administrative work. We no longer have to chase engineers for their reports, everything is immediately available,”

“For customer service, the system is very helpful. It allows us to provide a smooth, seamless service and little features like automated text messages telling customers that an engineer is about to arrive are really great.”

GasTech also appreciates the benefits of fast and accurate invoicing, reducing disputes and the ability to raise quotations in an instant is proving really useful. This allows the company to get quick agreement for any additional remedial work while the engineer is already on site.

Final thoughts:

“With BigChange we are simply more efficient and professional. Jobs can be scheduled off a phone or tablet in an instant and when extra work is needed on site it used to take up to a week to get together a quote for additional work. By then the engineer may have been long gone. Now we can get a quote issued the same day,”

BigChange Gastech office and tablet

Contego, the nationwide pest control company, has turned to the latest smart mobile technology to underpin ambitious business expansion within the UK.

The 5 in 1 system from BigChange has transformed Contego’s business, replacing existing systems and eliminating paperwork. Called JobWatch, the mobile workforce management solution has replaced over 100 paper forms with a series of simple apps running on mobile devices used by the company’s field technicians.

Contego is one of the UK’s largest independent pest control companies and a respected leader within the industry; recently shortlisted for British Pest Management Awards Company of the Year. The Durham-headquartered firm operates a four hour fast-response service 365 days a year and the BigChange system is seen as an essential element to support planned expansion in 2019 and beyond.

Michael Taylor, CEO of Contego says:

“Our aim is to become the biggest independent pest control operator in the UK and to do that we knew we needed to invest in the very latest and best technology available,”

“Since making the move to BigChange we’ve already increased the business by over £1million as we scale up within new regions, next year we have ambitious plans for a 50 per cent expansion in the business and we aim to become the largest independent pest control operator in the UK.”

Established in 2004, Contego has always been an industry innovator and had implemented earlier generation mobile systems and vehicle tracking. The company’s specialist Falconry Response services utilises specially trained falcons and hawks deployed to control bird pests.

Taylor adds:

“A rogue pigeon loose in a food factory or warehouse can mean the entire operation shuts down. Dealing with the problem quickly and effectively is pretty vital.”

Taylor comments:

“We are always looking for new ways to challenge traditional methods of pest control and we see new technology as fundamental to changing the industry; I like to think we are regarded as the industry innovators. As an independent operator we can adapt quicker than big corporates, deploying new technology and techniques to react to changes in the market.”

Taylor continues:

“BigChange is all about having real-time and visible information and it has certainly given us a competitive edge,”

“The visibility extends to our customers and it has allowed us to boost our service levels with real time data including photographs for treatment recommendations and proof of job done, backed by geo-referenced signatures. It has also virtually eliminated invoicing queries; one of those management benefits that has made my job a lot easier.”

The system handles everything from the initial service request through to completion. This includes job scheduling, live tracking, completion of risk assessment and other compliance related forms including vehicle safety checks, treatment forms, signature capture, invoicing and full management reports.

Taylor adds:

“The key is better visibility – for us and the customer. We can better assess service delivery and advise our customers of the best treatments and ensure money is not wasted doing unnecessary work. The system can generate very useful management reports; something clients love. The system also allows us to keep ahead of compliance which is very important in our business.”

High and Low Voltage Electrical Engineering company Sinewave Energy Solutions has boosted its field installation and service operations with a 5 in 1 mobile workforce system from BigChange.

The cloud-based JobWatch solution combines mobile apps and real-time tracking, connected seamlessly to back office software including job booking and schedulingCRM and invoicing. Sinewave is already saving 2000 hours of engineer time annually by replacing paperwork with digital data entry on BigChange tablets.

Swindon-based Sinewave is involved in power distribution connecting infrastructure to the electricity network and undertaking the work needed to provide power to anything from an office, to factory or sports stadium. Established in 2015 and growing rapidly, doubling in size for each of the last three years. The Swindon-based company offers a complete end-to-end solution from design to network connection, construction, testing and commissioning and ongoing maintenance and servicing.

Keith Irwin, Business Development Manager, Sinewave Energy Solutions says:

“With our rapid growth we knew we needed a system that could allow us to freely expand but also be very easy to implement and use,”

Irwin adds:

“We undertook an extensive review of systems on the market and BigChange was clearly the best solution for us. It was really the only properly interconnected system, giving us everything we need in a single, easy to use solution.”

Adam Woodley, Sinewave’s Managing Director says:

“The other thing we really liked about BigChange was that the company’s forward-thinking and ambitious growth outlook was similar to our attitude and that provided real empathy. It is clearly a company going places and we couldn’t help feeling other providers – although longer established and bigger – were not fuelled by the same ambition or commitment,”

The JobWatch system has been implemented, initially within Sinewave’s Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Division. Previously largely paper-based with data held on various spreadsheets, the entire process has now been automated with jobs booked and scheduled, routed, completed using the BigChange tablets connected in real time to the back office applications.

Sinewave operates in high risk environment and as well as providing electronic job sheets and time sheets, JobWatch provides apps for everything from site risk assessments to near-miss hazard reports, before and after work photo capture and vehicle inspections. BigChange also handles purchase orders and invoicing, with seamless integration to Sinewave’s Sage 50 accounting software

Woodley adds:

“BigChange really has revolutionised the way we work with apps for every conceivable job and it provides real time visibility of the operation. We’ve only really just started with O&M the first division to benefit. Here it is saving 4 hours a job but eliminating the extensive paperwork and data entry. With 500 jobs of this type a year that amounts to 2000 hours – a saving of 250 working days a year is pretty impressive!”

BigChange, Leeds-based mobile workforce technology company, has become an Approved Partner of the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE).

APSE is a network of local government representatives formed to promote excellence in the delivery of frontline services to local communities around the UK; a key area for BigChange.

The BigChange 5 in 1 system combines CRM, Job Scheduling, a Mobile App, Vehicle Tracking, and an On-Demand Booking App. that eliminates 100 per cent of the paper to automate all of the manual processes undertaken by back office and mobile workers. JobWatch can be used to simultaneously manage both in-house and sub contracted operations through their brand new BigChange Network Platform; a single system that provides full management and financial reporting enabling digital transformation.

Martin Port, CEO of BigChange, comments:

“As local authorities strive to improve efficiency and accountability, there is a growing need to eliminate cumbersome paperwork by introducing digital working. It’s especially important for council services involving staff who are out and about all day doing essential community work or providing transport services,”

JobWatch is already in wide use to manage services such as Special Education Needs, Waste, Passenger Transport, Property Servicing and Repairs, Social Housing, Highway Maintenance and Pest Control. The system is easy to configure for any service and includes a new booking app allowing local residents and businesses to book services from their smartphones.

Port says:

“We see membership of APSE as the ideal platform to engage with local government and especially those people who are forward-thinkers looking to improve public services through the use of the latest technology,”

Port adds:

“With JobWatch we have developed a platform that is already being used to completely transform council services. It replaces a number standalone legacy systems with a much more useful and affordable 5 in 1 solution utilising the latest cloud and mobile technology.”

By utilising the cloud and mobile apps, BigChange offers a highly flexible and simple to use solution and requires no special IT equipment or support – everything is available 24/7 though a secure web connection from any web-connected device.

Acumen, the provider of industrial site services and waste management solutions, has deployed the latest mobile workforce technology to streamline and expand its business.

The system combines CRMJob Scheduling and Mobile Apps used by back-office personnel, drivers and field operatives connected in real-time to cloud-based operational management software; all part of a 5 in 1 solution from Leeds-based BigChange.

With headquarters close to the landmark Ferrybridge Power Station next to the A1M in Yorkshire, Acumen currently employs 90 staff and operates a mixed fleet of vans and HGVs including tankers and roll-on roll-off trucks. First established in 1994 and still privately owned, the company offers a range of waste management, site clean-up and associated environmental products and services.

Acumen has embarked on an ambitious growth plan to double the size of the business in 5 years. The business is very diverse and the company realised it needed to completely transform its IT with a modern, future-proof system that could handle the very varied operational needs.

Kris Sutton, Acumen’s Finance Director comments:

“We had a multitude of different systems operating in silos with stand-alone systems for waste management, vehicle tracking and CRM that were all disconnected. We realised our wish for an all-encompassing system that could do everything and handle the complexity of our business was a tall order,”

Leon Kirk, Acumen’s Group Managing Director explains:

“Initially we looked at BigChange just as a works management tool to get rid of paper reporting but it soon became evident that it offered a lot more and crucially the software could be easily customised. That was a revelation as we had not found anything else that came close to meeting our group-wide needs. Now we see BigChange as central to our growth as we are no longer constrained by any IT system,”

Acumen operates from 7 locations and provides services throughout the UK. The company operates liquid and solid waste treatment and recycling solutions, contracted total waste management services and industrial cleaning services. Acumen is a well- respected specialist working closely with the Blue-Chip industrial clients and regulators such as the Environment Agency.

Acumen has pioneered the use of new technology in the hazardous waste and recycling industry. Innovations include AcuBin and HazBox services that ensure hazardous waste disposal remains compliant and ClearWater, a water recycling system that uses harmless micro-organisms to clean contaminated water from grounds drainage or washdown areas.

BigChange mobile apps are used for everything from electronic consignment notes, job-sheets, time-sheets and expenseshealth and safety, defects reports to job quotes and invoicing. Drivers clip their tablets into dashboard cradles when on the move and service operatives access the apps using their mobiles phones. The data is real-time synchronised with the centralised BigChange cloud system giving management visibility of the operation across all divisions and locations.

Kirk Says:

“BigChange gives us a single overarching system to provide complete and real-time management visibility. We can drill down from a high level business performance reports down to the details of individual jobs. BigChange has really revolutionised our operations and the cost is no more than our previous system but it does a lot more and has already replaced 5 separate systems.”

Acumen service vehicle

Emergency clean-up company CleanSafe has transformed its business with an end-to-end management system from BigChange.

The cloud-based system combines back office management, customer service and accounting functions with live fleet monitoring and the latest mobile working technology. CleanSafe field technicians have been equipped with rugged Samsung tablets running JobWatch; the BigChange system that provides apps for paperless mobile working.

Armed with JobWatch, 70 CleanSafe field technicians provide a 24/7 emergency cleaning and restoration service with a 2 hour response time. CleanSafe operates nationally from headquarters in Surrey with regional offices in Cannock, Manchester and Livingston. CleanSafe is part of the SafeGroup, who also operate waste management, pest control and Legionella prevention reactive and planned services.

CleanSafe has implemented BigChange as a complete management solution, handling the entire business process from customer call to invoicing. Calls are handled within a CRM application which in turn links a job scheduler and route planner, with allocated jobs being posted to the appropriate field resource. Jobs are listed on the technician’s tablet that provide navigation to site and apps for safety, job management and reporting; eliminating all paperwork.

Caroline Bigg, Finance Director, CleanSafe, comments:

“With BigChange we are completely paperless and that provides big benefits in efficiency and productivity.”

“We are a reactive business and the system helps considerably; our technicians no longer need to report to the office and during the day we can dynamically reschedule to optimise the mobile operation and improve response times.”

All CleanSafe vans are fitted with BigChange satellite tracking that not only provides real time location to keep customer services up to date on each job, but also allows driver monitoring to encourage safer driving.

Bigg explains:

“BigChange provides a wealth of data that we simply didn’t have before and that means we can closely monitor and improve our performance across the board.”

“BigChange is a true end to end solution with everything completely integrated and that is tremendously beneficial as it means we can work fast and efficiently; no more paper, no more data entry, fewer customer queries and quicker invoicing.”

Bigg adds:

“We reckon BigChange saves up to two hours a day that we previously spent trying to sort out the day’s work and administration. All in all that probably equates to an extra job a day for a number of our operatives. Annually that equates to over a million pounds of extra income.”

Previously with their paper-based system it used to take CleanSafe up to a week to raise invoices. Now with real time and accurate reporting from technicians at the end of a job, invoices can be raised within 24 hours.

Steve Broughton, CleanSafe’s Managing Director, says:

“The combination of tracking data, customer signature capture and before and after photographs mean that we have irrefutable evidence of every job completed. With the paperless, real time reporting we can invoice immediately and customers know what they will be invoiced. So from my perspective the biggest benefit of BigChange is simply that it allows us to invoice correctly and quickly and that means we get paid on time. It’s good for business”

Broughton adds:

“Large corporates typically spend hundreds of thousands of pounds developing their own IT systems to meet their business needs. What BigChange has done is built that system but for everyone. And it’s accessible and adaptable for different businesses. For SME’s this is fantastic as we can compete on a completely level planning field. We know that we can meet all of the business needs – from service delivery to compliance – with one affordable system.”

BigChange cleansafe members

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.

Sherwood explains:

“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.

Sherwood added:

“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.

Sherwood states:

“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.”

SES Home Services, who supply plumbing, heating, drainage and electrical services, has transformed its business with a 5 in 1 system to manage its field service operation.

As part of the same group as the local water company, SES Water, SES Home Services currently provides services to around 20,000 properties, covering Surrey and the surrounding counties.

The high-tech system from BigChange combines CRM, job scheduling and management reporting, with live tracking and mobile apps running on Samsung rugged tablets replacing paper job sheets and a raft of reports. Called JobWatch, SES Home Services believe the cloud-based system will provide the ideal platform for expansion of their business, potentially nationwide.

Peter Holmwood, Head of Operations at SES Home Services commented:

“BigChange has been a real revelation. We had previously tried to implement a system to replace our paper job sheets but it was too inflexible and costly. JobWatch is a completely different proposition and does everything we originally wanted plus a lot more. It’s not only more extensive, more adaptable and easier to use, but it is also much more affordable.”

Peter continued:

“The evidence is in the numbers. Previously we had one support person for three engineers. Now we have one support person for ten engineers. And the ratio of office personnel to engineers used to be one to one but it’s half that now. In fact we are probably doing 50 percent more work for the same amount of resource.”

SES Home Services provides home owners with insurance based annual maintenance contracts, as well as commercial landlords and social housing providers. With 35 mainly Gas Safe accredited engineers, SES provide routine servicing and emergency call out with a 2 to 4 hour response, 24/7 and 365 days a year.

Agents log incoming calls into the BigChange CRM with automated scheduling and resource allocation based on variables such as nearest location and engineer skill set. Jobs are then despatched to the engineers’ tablets that provide navigation, worksheets and apps for a variety of tasks such as daily vehicle inspections, landlord safety certificates and boiler commissioning checklists. With real-time vehicle tracking and work status reporting, customer services and management have around the clock visibility of the complete mobile operations.

Peter added:

“BigChange has not only eliminated paperwork and improved the accuracy of our records, we are now doing a lot of valuable data harvesting and analysis.”

He continued:

“This means we can look in detail at our performance and make continuous improvements, being able to accurately measure outputs before adapting. For example, the average time taken to complete jobs by type and by engineer and the failure rate of a particular part.

The engineers are really engaged with the system and provide valuable insight into how it can be applied to their working environment, better serving them and our customers. JobWatch has helped everyone across the business raise their standards and created a culture where people take responsibility for more than what it says on a job sheet”.

Peter explained:

“With JobWatch we have seen significant improvement in efficiency and productivity. It proved invaluable during the Arctic conditions that recently hit the country. We had six times the normal number of call outs and we could only cope because of JobWatch and its tracking system reducing the impact of travel time between sites.”

With the introduction of JobWatch as an always on, always available anywhere solution, the company realised that the business could be expanded freely, without the limitations of traditional IT systems.

“We are very excited about the prospects for the business now we have JobWatch. It’s like a blank canvas that provides absolutely no restrictions when we look at how we can develop the business. It offers the scope to freely expand geographically or by service,”

says Peter.

“And we are already looking at the web booking portal for landlords and the customer smartphone booking apps to offer all sorts of potential for the future.”

SES office

New technology is helping Cheshire based Boilercare 24/7 to smash it’s million pound revenue target by the end of 2017.

The company has rolled out BigChange’s Mobile Workforce and Job Management Platform across its plumbing operation and combines cloud based back-office CRM, job scheduling, a paperless mobile app for engineers and real-time tracking of vehicles.

Boilercare’s founder Alastair Barton was formerly a property developer and used to think that plumbers were his nemesis stating:

“Wherever I went, plumbers were my problem – they didn’t turn up, when it was cold they wouldn’t answer my phone, they disappeared for days on end and would just re-appear as if you hadn’t called them twenty times.” This led to a lightbulb moment in 2010 when Alastair saw an opportunity to deliver a superior service across Sandbach, Cheshire and South Manchester. Starting with a team of three in 2010, the plumbing business now has fourteen employees and aims to double in size over the next two years.

To realise its ambitious expansion plans, Boilercare deployed BigChange’s JobWatch system that allows back-office users to plan, manage, schedule and track work effectively including planned maintenance and urgent reactive work. In the back-office, the system is enabling planners to respond faster to customers and is intelligently allocating work orders based on real-time engineer availability, skills, live location and parts stock. This is significantly increasing productivity; minimising customer wait time and driving first time fix at competitive cost. The integrated CRM is also providing customers with a joined-up experience, thanks to automated job booking confirmations, service reminders, ETA updates on the day of service and electronic quotation and invoicing.

According to Boilercare’s founder Alastair, the new paperless technology is revolutionising the plumbing sector:

“Businesses like ours were previously overrun with paperwork; job-sheets, timesheets, sales invoices, purchase invoices and the rest. We literally had filing cabinets full of documents. Now everything is safely, securely and paperlessly backed up in the cloud and we can look back at anything on demand. The beauty of the BigChange system is that everything is in one place. Before you had to have a separate diary and jobs system, a tracking system, a CRM system and something for invoicing and quotes. You’d be crazy to work between all those separate pieces of kit. With BigChange everything is all in one place and its integrated, so we really have found Utopia.”

Boilercare’s team of Plumbers benefit from an easy to use Android mobile app. They start their day by completing an electronic timesheet and vehicle check, before instantly accessing job information. Integrated sat-nav with live traffic ensures the best route is taken and customers receive proactive updates by text and email. On arrival, the app allows team members to create instant quotes and guides them step by step through job-specific workflows. Users can search for parts and add them instantly to the job. Proof-of-service is instantly relayed to the back office and the system generates invoices, custom reports, Gas Safety certificates, legal documents and fully branded job-cards that are automatically shared via a customer’s booking portal or via email.

Alastair continued:

“The system has freed up my time to focus on growing the business, with the comfort factor that my team have a robust management system in place ensuring we are consistently delivering the kind of service that builds loyalty and customer recommendations. Ultimately I can enjoy a holiday with my family without worrying that the wheels are going to fall off the bus. It’s also enabling us to take on bigger projects – such as big multi-unit installations for some of the national housebuilders. That has put us in a different league,”

Martin Port, founder and CEO of BigChange said:

“It’s great to work with Alastair and the Boilercare team, we love working with such progressive businesses that are customer focused and really harness the benefits of our technology. Like for so many of our customers, the BigChange system is the catalyst for growth as it helps companies maintain quality and improve productivity.”

Cheshire based Woodhouse Plumbing, Heating & Electrical has rolled out BigChange’s Mobile Workforce and Job Management platform across its commercial and residential divisions.

The all-in-one cloud based system combines back-office CRM, job planning and scheduling and a paperless mobile app for engineers and real-time tracking of vehicles.

Rory Woodhouse founded the business in 2007, aged just 22 and working from a bedroom with just one apprentice and a van. Despite starting his business at the beginning of the deep ‘credit crunch’ recession, the operation has grown organically ever since and now services thousands of home and commercial customers with a 16-strong team. The business recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Woodhouse is using a plumbing and electrical specific version of the BigChange system
that allows back-office users to plan, manage, schedule and track work effectively including planned maintenance and urgent reactive work. In the back-office, the system is enabling planners to respond faster to customers and is intelligently allocating work orders based on real-time engineer availability, skills, live location and parts stock. This is significantly increasing productivity; minimising customer wait time and driving first time fix at competitive cost. The integrated CRM is also providing customers with a joined-up experience, thanks to automated job booking confirmations, service reminders, ETA updates on the day of service and electronic quotation and invoicing.

Founder and Managing Director Rory Woodhouse said:

“My vision was to bring everything together in one single joined-up system, all integrated with our Xero accounting and this is exactly what we’ve achieved with BigChange. Technology like this gives independent operators like ourselves access to the same efficiencies and competitive advantage of the ‘big players’. By managing everything consistently, it means we can grow whilst maintaining our high service commitment.”

Woodhouse’s team of Plumbers and Electricians benefit from an easy to use Android mobile app. They start their day by completing an electronic timesheet and vehicle check, before instantly accessing job information. Integrated sat-nav with live traffic ensures the best route is taken and customers receive proactive updates by text and email. On arrival, the app allows team members to create instant quotes and guides them step by step through job-specific workflows. Users can search for parts and add them instantly to the job. Proof-of-service is instantly relayed to the back office and the system generates invoices, custom reports, certificates, legal documents and fully branded job-cards that are automatically shared via a customer’s booking portal or via email.

BigChange founder and CEO Martin Port commented:

“Woodhouse is an entrepreneurial led business that has achieved great success in a short period of time. Rory identified he needed to match the company’s systems with its growth and has made a big change by harnessing our 3 in 1 JobWatch system. Rory praised our sales, implementation and RoadCrew customer service teams for delivering on their promise of a smooth installation allowing Woodhouse to quickly reap the benefits of change.”

Woodhouse Vans

 Mobile Workforce Management specialist BigChange has won contracts to supply its three-in-one JobWatch platform to over 5,000 mobile technicians at leading players across the Utilities Sector. The orders come from companies operating in the Public & Private sector involved in Water, Gas & Electric including the installation of 2nd generation Smart Metering.

BigChange’s three-in-one solution is delivering a paperless revolution for users and combines a cloud-based Job PlanningScheduling & CRM back-office, Android mobile app running on rugged Samsung tablets and hard-wired or app based live tracking of vehicles and resources. Industry specific versions of the JobWatch system have been implemented by Sutton & East Surrey Water PLC, Sheffield Council, Smart Metering specialist Providor part of Lakehouse PLC, Hewer Facilities Management, The McDougall Group, Woods Building Maintenance and 2015 BBC Apprentice winner ImpraGas.

Replacing manual planning and paperwork, the BigChange system allows back-office users to plan, manage, schedule and track work effectively including planned maintenance and urgent reactive work. In the back-office, the system is enabling planners to respond faster to customers, intelligently allocating work orders based on real-time engineer availability, skills, live location and parts stock. This is significantly increasing productivity; minimising customer wait time and driving first time fix at competitive cost. Assets and equipment are fully-managed by the system, allowing service requirements to be achieved effectively and an integration with trading platforms such as Homeserve allows for seamless collaboration with service partners.

Mobile engineers and technicians benefit from an easy to use Android mobile app that replaces all paper job-cards, risk assessments and method statements. Technicians start their day by completing an electronic timesheet and vehicle check, before instantly accessing the day’s work orders. Integrated sat-nav with live traffic ensures the best route is taken and customers receive proactive ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) alerts by text and email. On arrival, the JobWatch app guides technicians step by step through job-specific workflows and captures essential information such as site-photos or test readings. Users can search for parts and add them instantly to the job. Proof-of-service and customer signature is captured and synced with the back-office instantly. The system generates invoices, custom reports, certificates, legal documents and fully branded job-cards that are automatically shared via a customer’s booking portal or email. This paperless approach is saving BigChange customers hundreds of thousands of pieces of paper annually, along with the manual back-office administration that was required to manually process these documents.

The turn-key solution is transforming the way companies manage their entire customer experience such as companies fitting and maintaining Smart Meters nationwide on behalf of the major UK Power networks. For example, Customers are handled by a centralised call centre, who use automated workflows in the BigChange back-office to quickly ascertain the type of meter installation required and offer customers a selection of available appointments via the scheduler. This triggers automatic ordering of parts and materials required and technicians complete their jobs on the BigChange app. The system can plan and manage thousands of jobs per day.

The BigChange JobWatch system is also delivering superior value for Heating, Gas, Electric and Home Automation businesses such as ImpraGas, founded by 2015 BBC Apprentice Winner Joseph Valente and owned 50/50 with Lord Sugar. The company is on a mission to revolutionise the plumbing industry, using the BigChange platform to offer customers a faster, improved service. The technology is not only managing the entire operation all the way from quotation to invoice but is also ensuring consistent service quality and compliance. Gas Safety inspections are completed on the app and stored and shared electronically with customers and landlords. BigChange JobWatch is enabling service innovations such as real-time booking on the company’s website as well as a fully-branded ImpraGas mobile booking and payments app.

Joseph Valente, Founder of ImpraGas commented:

“We chose the BigChange system because we have ambitious plans to grow the company as quickly as possible and needed a system to manage our workforce efficiently and help us provide an excellent service to our customers. BigChange has transformed the way we do business.”

CONTACTS:

BigChange Apps: Martin Port, marketing@bigchange.com, tel +44 (0)113 457 1000
Reader enquiries: email:info@bigchange.com, phone +44 (0)113 457 1000, www.bigchange.com

About BigChange

BigChange by name, BigChange by nature! BigChange is an established force in mobile workforce management and telematics, offering a system that transforms the way companies manage their mobile operations.

JobWatch from BigChange is the paperless way to plan, manage, schedule and track a mobile workforce. This powerful all-in-one Mobile Workforce Management platform combines back office software, mobile apps, fleet management and real-time vehicle tracking in one simple to use system. Using JobWatch, customers can manage their entire operation, from quote all the way through to invoice.

Impra Gas offers boiler and central heating installation for private homeowners. Focusing on delivering an outstanding service that provides quality, reliability, honesty, value for money, and high quality workmanship to customers throughout the UK.

Having won ‘The Apprentice’ prize of £250,000 from Lord Sugar, founder and CEO Joseph Valente has used the investment to expand the business throughout the UK.

In addition to providing boiler and heating installation, Impra Gas will also be championing smart heating and smart home technologies, partnering with the industry’s most innovative technology providers as soon as they enter into the market.

Here’s what Impra Gas had to say about BigChange:

How did you hear about BigChange?

Following the investment from Lord Sugar, we began looking at strategies to expand Impra Gas sustainably and we determined that the most effective way to achieve this was through the use of technology. So we carried out thorough research into job management software that could help improve our business processes effectively and came across BigChange, which ticked all of the criteria to meet our needs.

Explain in detail what led you to choose BigChange?

In order to manage our business growth we wanted to invest in next generation technology that would help us to compete above and beyond companies like British Gas. We made the decision to rid our company of manual processes and paper based systems that created inefficiencies and limited our potential.

BigChange was chosen because it could be easily integrated into our day-to-day work practices and was scalable against our growth.

We saw BigChange as the best solution for us as it contained all of the functions that we needed to ensure that our own business objectives were met.

What services of JobWatch does your company use?

We use JobWatch for every aspect of our business activity. From booking jobs, to invoicing and coordinating our back office with our mobile workforce; there is nothing that JobWatch can’t do, other than the installation of the boilers and bringing in more clients.

Everyone in our organisation uses the software from engineers to sales advisors, to those working in scheduling to accounts. It is an all-encompassing product, which can be rolled out across any service field of business.

What direct results have you seen from using JobWatch?

JobWatch has played a crucial part in seeing manual processes streamlined and turnover increase substantially within the business. It has also allowed us to control and manage all ongoing jobs in a much more efficient way, meaning we have increased booking an extra 10 jobs a day to over 3,000 in the last 6 months.

Catering equipment supplier Hopkins has moved its entire mobile workforce to BigChange’s cutting-edge telematics system after trials showed it could save engineers and admin staff significant time and hassle.

The Leeds-based outfit has now completed a full roll-out of software vendor BigChange’s JobWatch system following a dry run involving two of its service crews.

Hopkins’ entire fleet of 17 service vehicles have been fitted with a mobile computer which not only provides satellite navigation and vehicle tracking, but communicates with the back office and allows engineers to access up-to-the-minute job schedules and job-specific electronic worksheets.

The deployment is already leading to greater operational efficiencies and eliminating paperwork across the organisation. It also comes at a time when Hopkins has added extra service capacity to support the expansion of Harry Ramsden’s, one of its main customers in the fish and chip shop market.

Managing director, Chris Hopkins, said back office staff were saving up to two hours a day on admin duties since the software was installed, while engineers could now pick up important messages without having to talk while driving or breaking from their work.

The technology is also being used to help the company plot the best route for getting to customers and avoid delays by navigating around traffic hotspots.

Hopkins said:

“It improves our operational processes. We can see where our engineers are in real time and what they are working on, meaning we can allocate the best-placed, suitably-qualified technician. Our people are put to more productive use, spend less time on administration and more on delivering value.”

He said the firm’s customer service had been transformed by the system.

“We can allocate jobs immediately, even on route, and tell customers exactly when our engineer will arrive. Our engineers arrive fully armed with the right information, documentation and work management applications to guide and record progress on each job.”

The company’s engineers have particular reason to be happy that the system has been introduced in time for the festive holiday system. It means that this year, for the first time, they will be able to base themselves at home when on call over Christmas rather than having to visit the office to schedule emergency jobs.

BigChange

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