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BigChange, the mobile workforce technology company, today announced that it intends to adopt a four-day working week across its business by the end of 2021.

BigChange – which has its headquarters in Leeds and employs 125 people in the UK and France – plans to make greater use of automation and machine learning technologies so that all of its employees can move to a 32 hour working week.

The company plans to identify the best way to introduce a four-day working week over the next 18 months, with a view to moving to this new way of working during 2021. It will establish a taskforce with representatives from across the business to lead this activity and has committed to retraining people for new roles should automation replace their work entirely.

Martin Port, founder and managing director of BigChange, comments:

Machine learning and automation are the future of BigChange. Our technology is being used by customers to automate many tasks undertaken in organisations employing mobile workers, and there is a fantastic opportunity with tools such as A.I. to enhance productivity, job satisfaction and quality of life for our people.”

“We want to give people at BigChange the tools and the opportunity to do their jobs in four days, not five. They will make the same money as they would if they were working a full week, but they’ll also have more time for relaxing and spending time with their families.”

BigChange provides a pioneering mobile workforce management system called JobWatch that is used by over 1,000 organisations globally. JobWatch combines CRM, smart job scheduling, vehicle tracking and a series of mobile applications to eliminate paper record keeping, automate manual processes and facilitate collaboration on the go between companies. BigChange works primarily with organisations in the construction, facilities management, field service, transport, logistics and waste management industries.

Prioritising road safety is something we truly value at BigChange. With our Leaders for Life initiative, we have partnered with Transaid & Brake, the UK Road Safety Charity, to do our part to improve responsible driving habits across the UK.

This month, we’re very excited to announce that Richard Burnett of the Road Haulage Association has won this month’s Leaders for Life Most Improved Driver Award.

We sat down with Richard to discuss his experience in the logistics industry and how BigChange and the Leaders for Life programme have impacted his driving behaviour.

BigChange: Could you briefly explain your background and relevant industry experience?

Richard Burnett: I have, so far spent 34 years in the logistics industry working for many well-known companies including TDG, Hays Distribution and Wincanton who, in turn, are responsible for the distribution of many well-known household brands such as H J Heinz, GSK, Panasonic and adidas. Before becoming chief exec of the RHA I was MD of Samworth Brothers Supply Chain.

BigChange: How long have you worked with Martin Port & BigChange?

Richard Burnett: I first met Martin at the Motor Transport Awards in 2017. During the evening, several chief executives were ‘auctioned’ to raise money for Transaid. Martin won the bidding and I subsequently spent a evening with him, finding out more about him and his company, BigChange.

BigChange: How has BigChange impacted your business?

Richard Burnett: The advantage of Jobwatch isn’t just an end-to-end transport management system – it provides job tracking and traceability.

Being chief executive of the UKs only organisation dedicated to the road transport industry, I am always supportive of any IT platform that improves driver efficiency and safety.

BigChange: Why are you committed to being a leader for life? Why do you value improving road and driver safety?

Richard Burnett: Even though the UK has some of the safest roads in the world, one accident involving a fatality is one too many. Our pace of life is so fast and there are so many distractions, all inevitably leading to poor driving.

It’s a well-known fact that 94% of accidents are caused by people’s behavior. To change that needs demonstrable leadership. That’s why I felt so committed to lead from the front and show that if my driving style could change, so could that of others.

BigChange: Why should other business and industry leaders participate in Leaders for Life and other road safety campaigns?

Richard Burnett: For the logistics industry, the roads are our place of work and it’s critical for them to be safe. As an industry it’s important that we practice what we preach and therefore our industry leaders should demonstrate their commitment to road safety and embrace the Leaders for Life programme.

Why did human beings develop machines, computers, and – ultimately – artificial intelligence? To reduce the work that had to be completed by us. Yet here we all are, working harder than ever.

In Britain, we work longer hours than any other country in the European Union. We work two hours more than the average European – and yet our productivity lags behind many other nations. I want to take action. I want to reverse this trend, and boost productivity while slashing down the hours my people have to work.

This may sound like wishful thinking but I have a plan. Machine learning and automation are the future of BigChange. We are actively using big data to make decisions for us. If necessary, we will take out the human element completely. Our technology lets users’ book jobs on the platform but there still can be a human element. I want to retrain those people and move them into more important roles while letting a computer do it automatically.

This is just the beginning. There is a whole layer of people who can move up into more challenging roles while machines analyse all our past data to work out the outcomes and answers we need to push the business forward. This is so exciting for the business but it also means that I can pass the benefits on to my hard-working people.

They will make the same money but will be given the tools to do their jobs in four days, not five. That means more time to relax, spend with their families, and exercise. They will take fewer sick days and experience less stress. And when people come to work, they will be fresh and engaged; how many people turn up to work on a Friday and are only running at 50% productivity because they are already exhausted? Doing less for the same salary is the dream, so I believe this step will also help us to recruit the industry’s best talent.

The four-day work week is already being employed by other organisations. A string of smaller firms have made the move and now even the Wellcome Trust has announced its commitment to the four-day week.

Back in the 1930’s, the economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that we would be working just 15 hours a week by now. My plan to get to 32 hours isn’t quite there, but it is a step in the right direction.


Martin Port
Founder & CEO

Customer-Relationship Management software, commonly known as CRM’s have become an impact technology in recent years.

Providing a digital platform to bring together customer data, service histories and invoicing (among other potential functionality), CRM’s are forcing a fundamental shift in how service sector businesses organise and manage their operations.

In this blog, we’ll look at the top 6 reasons your business should consider switching to a comprehensive CRM platform, such as JobWatch by BigChange.

From the ease in accessing customer data across multiple devices to the vast potential savings in time and fuel costs for mobile technicians, CRM’s can simplify burdensome tasks, ensure mandatory workflows are followed and automatically create detailed service information all at the click of a button.

Unlike the standalone desktop systems of the past, newer fully integrated CRM’s are quick, agile and far more user-friendly. This new generation of CRM’s is cost-effective for small and medium-sized businesses while providing the dynamic benefits previously only accessible to large corporations.

Why should you consider implementing a CRM system?

  • The Power of the Cloud
  • Improve Customer Retention
  • Savings to your bottom line
  • Improve customer satisfaction
  • Increase your team’s productivity
  • Improve your conversion rate

The Power of the Cloud

The proof is in the numbers. Of the diverse CRM systems on the market today, 87% are driven by the cloud compared to just 12% just in 2008. By centralising the various functionality of a CRM in the cloud, staff in the back office and technicians in the field can access and share vital service data across mobile and desktop portals in real-time.

Through the increased data transparency provided by cloud-based CRM platforms, such as JobWatch by BigChange, companies can expect a 3 fold increase in reaching sales quotas (65% using a CRM vs just 22% without) according to a recent study by Nucleus Research.

CRM systems like JobWatch have adapted to market demands for improved mobile accessibility by shifting operations to cloud-based servers. Additionally, the cloud provides a secure repository for critical service data facilitating broad visibility for all relevant parties, thus improving customer attentiveness and first-time fix rate.

Improve Customer Retention

The ultimate goal of any successful business is to perpetually gain new customers while actively improving the relationships with existing ones. With effective CRM onboarding, many key elements necessary for improving customer retention can be accomplished automatically through system functionality.

In the rapid paced, instant gratification society we live in today, customers demand a comprehensive and transparent view of the entire service experience, easily accessible at their fingertips.

Through the use of an all in one CRM system, such as JobWatch by BigChange, your business can provide, in real time, all of these data points, concisely organised and custom branded to your business’ needs.

Through the use of system features such as; Real-time SMS alerts, Live driver tracking, Automatic invoicing and creation of standard reports & Detailed customer histories accessible on mobile devices, your business could improve customer retention by as much as 27%, according to Nucleus Research.

Savings to your bottom line

A recent Forrester study of 2,000 employees found that ROI, when a CRM system is properly integrated, can exceed a whopping 245%. CRM systems provide wide-reaching benefits across all areas of business operations. Some key stats that illustrate just how much impact a CRM system can have on your bottom line include:

  • 50% of teams improved productivity
  • Sales productivity and uplift was 5%
  • Consultation time was reduced by 10%
  • Revenue increased by 2%
  • Customer service labour cost was reduced by 40%
  • Labour costs overall decreased by 20%
  • Marketing budgets saved at least £60,000

Simply put, an effective CRM can jumpstart your business across the board. By removing the time constraints and human errors incumbent in paper systems, CRM platforms, which form part of BigChange’s Mobile Workforce Management system, allow staff to focus on providing the best service to their customers freeing them from focusing unneeded time and energy on data input and endlessly searching for relevant customer details.

Improve customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction often dictates the entire nature of the extended service relationship.

According to PwC “43% of all consumers would pay more for greater convenience; 42% would pay more for a friendly, welcoming experience. Among U.S. customers, 65% find a positive experience with a service provider to be more influential than great advertising.”

Through the use of a CRM system, such as JobWatch by BigChange, your business could improve customer satisfaction by 47%.

Improving customer experience is more often than not a complicated formula which requires the balancing of technical skills and emotional awareness. If blended correctly the customer experience can be enhanced and provide the basis for a symbiotic relationship between the service provider and customer.

Bringing these two parties together is the CRM element which can centralise and organise the entire service dynamic. In practice, this has resulted in 74% of businesses using CRM reporting better customer relationships and improved customer satisfaction.

Increase your team’s productivity

Getting the most out of your staff is an ongoing battle regardless of the industry you work in. In the service sectors improving productivity, in both the back office and in the field are essential to meet growing customer expectations and evolving standard business practices.

Through the use of CRM technology, such as JobWatch by BigChange, many of the factors inhibiting productivity can be resolved on the spot. CRM systems, if integrated with; a live tracking, inventory, and/ or invoicing element, can dramatically increase productivity and total jobs completed.

According to a recent study, 50% of teams using CRM reported improved productivity, and respondents saw a 20% overall decrease in labour costs.

Additionally, the use of mobile access to a CRM can increase sales force productivity by an average of 14.6% with a further 30% of mobile CRM users reporting productivity improvement by more than 20%.

This spike can most likely be attributed to how smart scheduling, improved invoicing and system automation functionality allows staff to focus their time more effectively in the field and back office.

Improve your conversion rate

A CRM system, such as JobWatch by BigChange, greatly improves the conversion potential of a sales team. Through a combination of easily accessible and centralised customer data with the automated feature set of many CRM platforms, sales teams can expect an increase in revenue generated by 41%.

Current data suggests that 79% of all marketing leads are never converted to sales. CRM systems can improve conversion rate by dramatically improving and simplifying all relevant data points and making them easily accessible to the sales team. As a result, the use of a comprehensive CRM system can improve conversion rate by 300%.

JobWatch brings CRM software to a new height

BigChange’s 5-in-1 Mobile Workforce Management platform encompasses a function-rich CRM to meet the needs of your business.

JobWatch by BigChange enables businesses of all sizes to better manage many of the most significant factors influencing the customer experience. With BigChange, your back office can easily monitor, schedule & dispatch service requests to optimise your field based teams’ strongest skills and prevent unnecessary travel.

With JobWatch, powered by BigChange, the point of contact staff can access complete customer history and ensure all service requests and customer expectations are met the first time, every time. Utilising BigChange’s innovative mobile workforce system, contractors are able to specialise service, workflow requirements and mandatory safety protocols with ease.

Through the use of an integrated CRM platform, technicians can resolve any service request with the click of a button. Additionally, the use of preventative maintenance workflows directed via the Mobile workforce management system dramatically improves the rate in which service technicians resolve all issues fully, while also alerting the operator to any upcoming scheduled maintenance.

By improving transparency and collaboration between all aspects of operations through the implementation of mobile workforce management software, such as BigChange, your business can save 10 hours of travel time, per mobile worker per month while decreasing total fuel costs by 10%.

Running a fleet? Join us in Leeds for this free event on 12th June from 11am – 2pm to learn more from our experts about fleet safety.

Talks will cover reducing the risks of having a road traffic collision and how you can protect your workforce from workplace transport risk, ensuring that you stay on the right side of the law and saving you money.

Lunch is included.

To book please email events@bigchange.com to secure your place; numbers are limited.

SYNETIQ, the largest vehicle salvage and recycling company in the UK, has introduced a high tech system from Leeds-based BigChange that provides real-time 24/7 visibility of its collection and delivery operations.

SYNETIQ operates over 16 sites around the country and processes in excess of 100,000 vehicles per year. The new system combines mobile apps and vehicle tracking software integrated with SYNETIQ’s own salvage IT systems.

SYNETIQ, which was formed following the merger of Motorhog, Car Transplants, DH Systems and Fab Recycling. The Doncaster-headquartered company works with a number of Insurance companies, police forces and fleet management companies to collect and process written-off and unroadworthy vehicles from around the UK operating a fleet of 97 car transporters with 20 vans for transporting parts.

SYNETIQ now owns its specialist IT system, Frontier, and this is being enhanced with the mobile computing and real-time communications provided by JobWatch, the BigChange 5 in 1 mobile app.

Jason Cross, Business Development Director at SYNETIQ, says:

“With various company acquisitions and our growth plans for the business we knew our transport management system needed an overhaul as it was just not flexible enough to meet our needs,”

“It soon became clear that BigChange offered the best solution – not just through the very flexible JobWatch platform but also as a company willing to engage with us and provide integration with our Frontier IT system.”

SYNETIQ drivers run the JobWatch app on their smartphones and details for collections and deliveries are received on their phones. The app completely eliminates paperwork with on screen data entry of vehicle safety checks, vehicle collection appraisals and customer sign-offs. SYNETIQ particularly like the fact that JobWatch is an all-in-one system that can be easily adapted as their particular requirements called for a bespoke solution.

Tom Moore, Transport Manager, SYNETIQ, says:

“JobWatch makes it much easier to manage our often complex transport operations and the integrated live tracking and paper-free reporting has transformed the way we work,”

“The ease with which JobWatch can be adapted is particularly impressive. We can now simply drag and drop jobs into routes upfront or on the fly and driver check reports can be easily customised for our mixed fleet.”

As SYNETIQ’s customers include major insurance companies accurate, consistent reporting is crucial. JobWatch has been configured to handle vehicle appraisals, both those undertaken on collection and more detailed appraisals on arrival at the SYNETIQ yard. The JobWatch app includes the required damage diagrams and record-linked photographs.

Cross explains:

“We needed to provide our insurance customers with a perfect solution and BigChange gives us that important capability. JobWatch makes it much easier to manage the business; it’s easy to track our vehicles, add and remove jobs on the fly and get up to the minute images and signature of vehicles and parts being delivered,”

Crucially, we can further integrate with Frontier for seamless working across both vehicle collection logistics and parts delivery logistics and it is all backed up with a fast and efficient service from BigChange.

In terms of tangible benefits SYNETIQ is already seeing important returns according to Cross.

“JobWatch certainly allows for better visuals on safety for drivers – working hours, breaks and mileage for example – and we have been able to track average delivery costs and try and reduce by smarter routing and utilisation; ultimately it will make us more efficient and safer.”

BigChange real-time vehicle

We’ve started 2019 on a high here at BigChange, with growth up 65% year-on-year in the first three months. This is an incredible time for the business. We recently acquired two businesses, which shows how mature the company has become.

We have successfully brought them into the fold and it’s another step on our journey to becoming a much larger organisation. I’m so excited and delighted by the progress we’ve made, and 2019 has only just begun! Here are some of BigChange’s highlights from the first quarter.

A boost to growth

The major milestone is that we have now hit 1,000 customers. That’s an amazing achievement and a credit to our incredible teams. Our two acquisitions have been an overwhelming success. Back in January, I blogged about buying Labyrinth Logistics Consulting, an award-winning supply chain, logistics and compliance consultancy, and Trace Systems, a creator of fleet, garage and workshop management software https://www.martinport.com/news/my-2019-scale-up-secrets-revealed/

Between them, these companies have added around 100 customers to our roster, and BigChange won 100 new clients independently. Overall, this represents £5m in new contract wins and brings our total number of users to 35,000. More than half of these are mobile workers, so we are having a major impact on the gig economy, which was one of my big goals for this year.

Our fast-growing customer base means that BigChange is on target to hit £18m in turnover this year. We have expanded internationally, establishing a company in France, and a reseller covering Cyprus & Greece. The US is next on the hit list, and we have now registered our trademark over there.

Maximising efficiencies

I’m very proud to say that BigChange has achieved BSI ISO 9001, which means we’ve made significant improvements to our products and services, and we’ve ensured that our business model is as resilient as it can be. We are also proud to be a certified Platinum Partner to Sage, the accounting giant. These kinds of certifications are important because they show that we are doing all we can to keep building efficiencies into our model and striving for excellence in all things.

A great way to show that you’ve made your business as lean and innovative as it can be is to apply for awards. We’ve been lucky enough to secure quite a few already this year. We came ninth in the Tech North Top 50 fastest-growing technology companies in the North of England. BigChange has also featured in the Tech Nation Future Fifty Awards for the second year running . We were recognised as one of the Maserati 100 – a ranking of the UK’s most innovative entrepreneurs, published in The Sunday Times. Finally, BigChange was dubbed one of Yorkshire’s Most Exciting Company by Ian Leech, editor of Insider Yorkshire Magazine.

It’s all about the people

One of the new developments that will have the biggest impact over the next few years is the BigChange Network, which launched this year. We’ve signed up the impressive Kevin Keegan OBE, former England manager, as Network Ambassador, and he will be giving his invaluable advice to our customer members. In June, a new network director will be joining the business too, and will be developing the network globally for the first time.

My colleagues are the lifeblood of this company. BigChange now employs 120 people. It feels really good to be growing fast and bringing in new talent, while encouraging long-serving employees to keep developing their skills. To help my colleagues reach for the stars, we have continued with our “Motivational Mondays” series in 2019, bringing in people like TV personality and businesswoman Michelle Dewberry and former football coach Lawrence McMenemy MBE.

One of the other ways we make sure people feel that BigChange is a great place to work is through charitable giving. This year, we will give more than £200,000 to good causes. I am personally planning to raise £50,000 for Brake and Transaid over the next 12 months first activity is a half marathon in October.

These are just a handful of the great things that have happened over the past three months. Share your 2019 business successes with me in the comments below.

https://www.bigchange.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/8/2019/05/BigChange-Company-Introduction.pdf


Martin Port
Founder & CEO

Road safety campaigners have taken their message to Westminster on a vintage Routemaster London bus and called on the Government to legislate to encourage higher road safety standards from UK businesses.

BigChange CEO Martin Port, founder of the Leaders for Life road safety at work campaign, organised the mission to Westminster. He was joined on the bus by the racing driver Nick Hamilton and representatives from the road safety charity Brake.

The bus is owned and was driven by Sir Peter Hendy CBE, the chairman of Network Rail and former Commissioner of Transport for London.

Martin Port, founder and CEO of BigChange, comments:

“We went to Westminster because we want politicians to drive higher safety standards on UK roads. More than 500 people a year are killed in the UK as a result of crashes involving people driving for work. While responsible business leaders are already improving road safety standards in their own organisations and we are in a position to be able to help them with that, we want Government to legislate to hold everyone who employs company drivers to the same high standards.”

“The UK should be aiming to achieve the highest road safety standards in the world. Vehicle tracking devices should be compulsory for all vehicles used on company business, and all organisations employing people who drive for work – whether in a truck, company car or their own vehicle – should have a nominated director responsible for road safety policy and reporting on KPIs such as miles driven, speeding incidents and time and distance driven.”

Samuel Nahk, Senior Public Affairs Officer at Brake, comments:

“There are many things that business leaders can do to encourage safer driving at work. They can make sure drivers are not using their phones at work, that they are not exceeding the speed limit and that they are sticking to their working hours and taking the appropriate rest breaks. Leaders should also set an example to their people and make sure that everyone is working together to make our roads as safe as possible.”

Nic Hamilton, racing driver and ambassador for the Leaders for Life campaign, comments:

“My cars are built for driving to the limit, but the roads aren’t and people need to understand how dangerous the roads can be. It is all about getting from A to B as safely as possible and people need to understand the consequences of driving erratically. I race on a circuit but I don’t race on the road. There is absolutely nothing to gain from racing on the road and it is super important to drive home the fact that people need to be as safe as possible.”

1,793 reported road deaths in Britain in 2017

The latest annual figures from the Department for Transport show there were 1,793 reported road deaths in Britain in 2017, five a day on average, and 170,993 casualties of all severities. It is believed that around a third of fatal crashes would have involved someone driving for work

Leaders for Life was developed by BigChange in partnership with road safety charity Brake to encourage business leaders to become ambassadors for safer driving in their workplaces. The company is providing driving analysis technology free of charge to the leaders of medium and large UK businesses to help them understand and improve their own driving.

Leaders can register to support the campaign at https://www.bigchange.com/leadersforlife/.

These days, everyone is obsessed with titles. They want something grand on their business card. There’s an idea that one’s self-worth gets a boost simply because you have the word “chief” in front of your job title. But fancy names don’t impress me.

First of all, the term “chief executive” is an American invention. I’m not from the States – I’m a Yorkshireman. In this country, the boss has always been the managing director. That’s one reason why I’ll never call myself CEO of BigChange.

But there is another explanation for my choice to remain MD, even as the business grows internationally (one day, we hope to be trading in the US). The fact is that chief executives tend to be one level removed from the shop floor of any business.

In my experience, chief executives tend to have fewer reports – maybe two or three people. An MD runs various teams and can have many more people reporting to them. I have seven reports. Managing directors get their hands dirty. I like to stay closer to the daily workings of my organisation.

I am still the founder and the leader of this business. That means that my role encompasses strategy and funding and culture – things that are typically assigned to the CEO. But I am honest about my strengths and my weaknesses, which is why I buy in expertise every time I need to go outside my comfort zone. I call these people my “coaches”, although I suppose the old-fashioned term is “consultants”. Right now, I have a coach helping me hone my three-year plan.

I could write this forecast on my own but this coach has a vast amount of experience at companies of all sizes – some that generate billions in revenue. He has also worked across many industries. He brings a new perspective, a skillset that goes beyond my own; I’ve never worked in a big corporation so I have never made plans that suit a really large organisation – I hope that BigChange will be one of these before long.

Over the years, I have seen many private equity firms appoint specialists like these to help their acquisition companies to grow. Who says you need to wait until you’re acquired? I’m going to find and absorb all the knowledge I can.

I’ve been told this is an unusual strategy: buying in CEO smarts, as and when I need it. Coaches are expensive, they say. Well, even £2,000 a day or above is cheaper than taking on a new member of staff to do the job. And with these experts, there’s no downtime. It’s an intensive process and usually you see immediate ROI.

Most people also don’t like to admit they have gaps in their knowledge – or are desperate to secure the coveted title of CEO. I prefer to stay humble.


Martin Port
Founder & CEO

Thetford International has deployed a mobile service management system equipping field service engineers with tablets connected in real-time to central management systems.

The cloud-based system from BigChange has allowed the Norfolk-based manufacturer of waste compactors to switch to paperless working to improve efficiency, productivity and customer service.

Established for 50 years, Thetford International is a founder member of CHEM, the Container Handling Equipment Manufacturers Association. The company has become a market leader in the design and manufacture of all types of compaction equipment, supplying to a diversity of sectors, from the print industry and supermarkets to industrial complexes, recycling centres and refuse transfer stations.

Thetford uses JobWatch, the BigChange solution for managing mobile service operations using live-connected mobile devices running a multi-functional app to replace all paperwork, integrated with vehicle tracking to monitor the fleet and drivers. As well as replacing nine A4 carbon-copy installation and service forms, the JobWatch 5 in 1 app is also used for engineer time sheets, risk assessments, driver vehicle checks and the management of parts.

Thetford carries out routine maintenance of compactors but the majority of work is reactive and requires a fast response due to the safety concerns of potentially dangerous equipment. Job details are sent to the assigned engineer to complete with JobWatch managing the entire process from start to job completion.

Andrew Goddard, Service Manager, Thetford International, says:

“We had been on the lookout for a suitable system for a numbers of years but nothing seemed to exist that really combined the tracking and field service reporting needs,”

“The BigChange solution is very flexible and adaptable and we were able to tailor it to meet our needs.”

JobWatch has been integrated with Thetford’s own bespoke IT system called Onsite providing asset register synchronisation and the seamless interchange of data between the systems. According to Thetford, the biggest benefits are financial and in particular with regard to invoicing.

Goddard explains:

“Previously it could take up to 3 weeks to raise an invoice. Now we do it next day and potentially we could do it the same day,”

“JobWatch ensures invoices are accurate and are in line with what the customer is expecting and as they are received soon after the job, there are many fewer queries and payment is always quicker.”

Thetford’s engineers cover the UK working from their homes. With vehicle tracking fitted to the fleet of Ford Transit vans, BigChange provides an automated ‘clocking in and clocking out’ system. With van often stocked with thousands of pounds of parts, it also offers added security and driver monitoring and rating has also encouraged safer driving; important as engineers travel as much as 40,000 miles a year.

JobWatch has also been developed to manage Thetford’s stock control with engineers using their tablets to record parts used. With around 400 individual parts, the system automatically replenishes stocks with deliveries to engineer collection points.

Goddard adds:

“Previously the vast majority of information was held in people’s heads and by introducing BigChange we have brought all that knowledge into one place. It all works very well and seamlessly with our other systems. The whole service operation just runs a lot more smoothly and our customers – and the company Accountant – are a lot happier!”

BigChange Thetford employees

I’ve abolished departments at BigChange. There will be no more divisions within my business. Instead, I’m creating teams. Some of these teams will be assembled according to specialty, such as RoadCrew customer service, but others will reach across different areas of the business.

This may seem like pure semantics – a change in name only – but it’s not. Language is important. When you think about departments, you envisage physical walls between different sections of your business. You think of the IT department in one part of a building, and sales over on a different floor. Teams, in contrast, have no boundaries. Teams share a common purpose. Team members support one other and work well with other like-minded groups – that’s why it’s called “teaming up”.

There is good reason for this change. When I started BigChange, we were just a few people working out of a single room in Leeds. Everyone knew everyone, and each win was celebrated by the whole company. Now that we are so much bigger, it is easier for colleagues to operate in silos where the needs of the department feel more important than those of the business as a whole. Departments lead to territoriality. This is the opposite of the culture that I want to foster at BigChange.

By creating teams that are focused on projects, it is easier to build fluidity into the business. People naturally do tasks that they are suited to, rather than just sticking to the typical activities of their department. As a business grows, sometimes people need to move into different roles. A team structure will allow me to make sure that everyone is in the right place at the right time.

The wake up call that prompted me to make the change came earlier this year when a valued colleague decided to leave. She missed the start-up feel of BigChange and, after two years, had become to feel disenfranchised. I never want to encounter that problem again, so I’m focused on implementing new ideas that all people to grow, and unite us all.

The idea of ditching the department and embracing teams isn’t original. I borrowed it from Microsoft. Its unified communications platform is called Microsoft Teams – and I imagine that many clever people and many thousands of dollars went into deciding that brand name. I don’t have millions to spend on a re-branding exercise but I can stand on the shoulders of corporate giants and learn from them.

I announced the change to the structure of BigChange at this week’s huddle. I noticed, even at that meeting, that people were standing with colleagues from their own department. Let’s hope that at future huddles, we’ll see cross-departmental “teams” grouping together instead.


Martin Port
Founder & CEO

BigChange

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