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New research from BigChange, the mobile workforce management technology company, has revealed that company bosses are more likely to have a chequered driving history than people at any other rung on the corporate ladder.

The research, which was conducted by Opinium and published to coincide with the launch of Leaders for Life, a new campaign to help business leaders promote safer driving at work, shows that people are more reckless at the wheel as they rise the corporate ladder. While just nine percent of workers with no managerial responsibility have incurred a driving ban, the number jumps to 12 percent for middle managers and more than doubles for board level executives (25 percent).

Chief Executives and Managing Directors are the worst offenders, with more than half having received bans (51 percent). This compares to less than one in five (16 percent) commercial van drivers and just 12 percent of all people who drive on company business. Chief Executives and Managing Directors were also likely to have accrued the most penalty points, averaging 4.8 and 3.7 points respectively on their licenses. By contrast, the average van driver has accrued 2.7 points.

A third (32 percent) of all board level executives surveyed admitted to speeding at least once a week, while a quarter (25 percent) said they used a mobile phone while driving on a weekly basis. One in five (20 percent) admitted to driving while tired on a regular basis.

The level of bans can’t simply be attributed to upper management being older and therefore more likely to have accrued penalty points over time. Regardless of rank, people aged 18-34 were twice as likely to admit to have been banned from driving (28 percent) as 35-54 year olds (14 percent).

Almost half of BMW drivers have been banned before

The study also revealed that some drivers of premium car brands conformed to negative stereotypes. 42 percent of BMW drivers have at one point been served a driving ban, alongside 41 percent of Audi drivers. By contrast, just nine percent of people who drive Mercedes-Benz cars and 13 percent of Ford drivers have been banned previously.

Martin Port, CEO of BigChange, comments:

“Whether it’s the stress of work, trying to fit too much into the day or simply something in the nature of business leaders that makes us drive too fast, this research confirms our suspicions that busy bosses are at high risk of engaging in poor driving practices. These create unacceptable levels of risk and set a poor example to others in our organisations. Businesses recognise that if you can measure it you can manage it, so we are highlighting the bad driving of leaders to show that we can all improve our own driving and take steps to encourage greater road safety throughout our organisations.”

Joshua Harris, Director of Campaigns at Brake, comments:

“Speeding and mobile phone use are illegal and highly dangerous driving behaviours which can all too easily result in devastating consequences. Business leaders should be setting an example to their workforce when behind the wheel and that’s why the Leaders for Life campaign is so important. Nearly a third of all road deaths involve someone driving for work and that won’t change until business leaders take charge of their own driving habits and those of their employees. This research shows that anyone that gets behind the wheel can be guilty of dangerous driving, and business leaders must do more to manage the behaviour of everyone who drives on their behalf.”

About Leaders for Life

The Department for Transport published figures today revealing that there were 1,793 reported road deaths in Britain in 2017, five a day on average, and 170,993 casualties of all severities.

Leaders for Life is a new campaign, created by BigChange and backed by the road safety charity Brake, to raise awareness of the contribution business leaders play as role models for road safety and reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on Britain’s roads.

BigChange is providing its driving analysis technology free of charge to business leaders so that aspects such as speed, braking, acceleration and cornering can be evaluated. It will provide confidential feedback on leaders’ driving habits and donate £1,000 each month to Brake on behalf of the best and most improved drivers.

BigChange aims to recruit more than 1,000 business leaders to support its campaign by acting as role models for road safety by the end of the year. Des Evans OBE, formerly managing director of MAN Truck & Bus UK, Richard Burnett, Chief Executive of the Road Haulage Association, and the British racing driver Nic Hamilton are among the leaders who have already agreed to take part in the campaign.

Business leaders wishing to be ambassadors for safer driving can register to support the Leaders for Life campaign at https://www.bigchange.com/leadersforlife/.

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

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BigChange, the mobile workforce technology company, has been included in the Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 league table, which ranks Britain’s private technology, media and telecoms (TMT) companies with the fastest-growing sales, for the second year in succession.

The Leeds-based company, which entered the league table for the first time in 2018, was named in the Sunday Times as the third fastest growing private technology company in Yorkshire and 59th in the UK overall, with annual sales growth of 77 percent over the last three years.

Martin Port, founder and CEO of BigChange, comments:

“BigChange has a great growth story and we are delighted to be named as one of the fastest growing UK technology businesses for the second year running.”

“Fundamentally, our success comes down to helping customers become greener, more efficient and deliver even better levels of service. We’ve created 120 high value jobs here in Leeds, we’ve recruited a great team and we are continuing to grow quickly through new product innovation, geographical expansion and strategic acquisitions.”

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.

It’s not often that I attend an industry event and leave feeling as though my eyes have been opened to something completely new.

But at the recent Women in Logistics conference organised by its founder BigChange Director Ruth Wearing, I was completely bowled over by one speaker: Jennifer Swain.

She works for Clipper, one of the UK’s leading logistics companies. Clipper, like many British companies, is likely to be hit by staff shortages in the wake of Brexit. Unlike many companies, it decided to take decisive action. However, the action it has taken is truly extraordinary.

Clipper has created a Fresh Start programme to widen its talent pool and help support long-term unemployed people into work. The initiative was created in partnership with several charities, all supporting vulnerable, excluded, or disabled people who have struggled to find work elsewhere. Clipper has teamed up with the likes of MenCap, the charity for people with special needs, Scope, which helps those with physical disabilities, Tempus Novo, which works with ex-offenders, and Emmaus, a charity for the ex-homeless, to name but a few. These charities represent around 11m people between them: an extraordinary talent pool that has been almost entirely untapped.

Fresh Start is an incredible example of what’s possible when you marry corporate social responsibility with smart business strategy. It’s inspiring how they have tackled an issue – finding great people to do manual work – but done it in a way where everyone benefits.

It’s not easy to run a project like this. You need to make sure your offices are completely accessible to those with disabilities. You need to make sure you are able to support those with mental health issues or special needs. You need champions on the ground to mentor and guide new recruits. You need to be completely flexible, and allow people to work when they can. Clipper has achieved a Disability Confident Committed award for its approach.

There are a few firms out there doing great work like this. Timpson, the cobblers and locksmith chain, was a trailblazer in employing ex-offenders. Recycling Lives, the waste management company, a BigChange customer is another amazing business that supports the homeless, ex-offenders and the long-term unemployed into meaningful work.

Clipper has now employed many capable staff through Fresh Start. These people are likely to be incredibly loyal and long-serving because they have been given the opportunity to forge a career with a great company. I take my hat off to Clipper.

This has spurred me on to think of how we can do more to help people who have struggled to find work into a rewarding job here at BigChange. I have a vested interest in making this work: as the father of two children with special needs, it’s a cause close to my heart. They are wonderful young adults one does work for BigChange in a software testing role and my other son works on a care farm.

This country needs innovators like Clipper, who take a problem and find enduring and ingenious solutions. Let’s all join the charge.


Martin Port
Founder & CEO

What is it about entrepreneurs? There is a feeling that hangs in the air when you visit a business where the founder is present. It’s hard to put into words, but it’s a charge, a sense of urgency.

The closest thing I’ve seen to this effect is in football. Sir Alex Ferguson, the legendary football manager, created that same sense of urgency. Players called him ‘boss’ and he presided over Manchester United’s most triumphant period, winning 38 trophies. Fergie may have been a divisive character but there is no doubting his ability. He is still the most successful manager in the history of football. But what about the succession?

I recently conducted an employee survey at BigChange. The results were overwhelmingly positive. People love working here, they respect me as a leader, and they are happy with the training and opportunities available to them. But there was a red flag: some of my colleagues think that I am too involved in the day to day running of the business. I attend every meeting that I can, and maintain a presence across every department. I make no apologies for this approach. This is how I keep my feet on the ground and stay aware of the needs of the customer.

Colleagues also commended on how visible I am as a founder. When people talk about BigChange, my name always comes up. But isn’t that the way it should be? I started this business seven years ago: we are still young, we are still growing. I feel that it’s too soon for me to disappear into the background. There is still so much I want to achieve.

I don’t know whether to take these comments as a compliment or a criticism. But I do know that I want to listen and take action if there is any way I can improve as a leader.

With that in mind, maybe it’s time to appoint a Chief Operating Officer. That would give other leaders in the business room to spread their wings, take more risks, and have more agency at BigChange.

This survey has also helped me realise that having me as the main man is a risk. If I were hit by a bus, it would be hard to replace me. As we scale, I need to let specialists take on more responsibility.

Don’t get me wrong. I want to remain the driving force behind this business. I’ll be here for the next 10 years, at least. And that decision is not about ego, it’s practical. Our backers funded me, as an entrepreneur. That’s what investment is all about: belief in an individual’s ability to execute a vision. But it makes sense to bring in another leader to complement me, and bring more diversity to the leadership team.

I want people to feel the same charge, when they come and see us at BigChange, as I experience when I visit founder-led companies. I believe I can still create that feeling here, while handing over some of the day-to-day duties to brilliant, capable people – or a person – who will do the job even better than me. It’s time to be brave, and let go.


Martin Port
Founder & CEO

Brexit has dominated the news agenda for the past few years but it is now the least of my worries. Jeremy Corbyn’s radical economic agenda is the biggest threat to this country, and to entrepreneurs like me.

What has happened to our political system? The country voted to leave Europe. Whether you support that decision or not, the people have spoken. The duty of Parliament is to carry out that vote. Yet politicians are doing all they can to stall the process. Jeremy Corbyn is using the unrest as a way of bringing about a general election. This is worrying.

If he gets into power, we are in trouble.

Why do entrepreneurs create businesses? Yes, they want to disrupt industries, create new technologies or bring brilliant ideas to life but they also want decent remuneration in exchange for working day and night – and taking the risk of building a company and creating jobs. Corbyn plans to axe Entrepreneurs’ Relief if he gets in. This would mean that entrepreneurs in this country will no longer pay 10pc tax when they sell their company; the figure will rise to as much as 50pc.

Just the idea of this tax hike is enough to stifle ambition. I’ve heard of entrepreneurs trying to sell their businesses now, before a Labour government has the chance to decimate any chance of a financial reward. That means business owners’ expansion plans are being cut short – who knows what impact that could have on the UK’s economic growth over the next few years? How many new jobs will no longer be created?

Corbyn also plans to nationalise some firms and force entrepreneurs to give out shares to workers. Don’t get me wrong – I am all for employee ownership and share options – but we should not be forced to give away our companies. It should be down to the owner of the business. Can you imagine the impact on the stock market if Corbyn seizes power?

This idea of a new ministry for workers rights, which would have powers to imprison company bosses at will, is just going to heap more regulation on UK businesses. The CBI has said that Corbyn’s proposals will “turn the UK back decades”. The CBI’s deputy director-general, Josh Hardie, says: “The vast majority of firms thrive on strong employee engagement, invest in training and prioritise wellbeing. They support jobs, sustainable wage rises and enforcement of employment law. A fundamental re-write of regulation is the last thing the economy needs right now.” I couldn’t agree more.

Corbyn is an anti-Semitic Marxist and the last person that should be running the country, Give me a “no deal” any day. We survived World War II. Food and medicines still made it onto our island when we were at war. We can survive crashing out on October 31st. I know we would not survive a Corbyn-led government.


Martin Port
Founder & CEO

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.”

For a while, in the early 2000s, it seemed like every company was planting trees or offsetting its carbon. It was all a ploy to convince consumers they were environmentally conscious when, frankly, they weren’t.

The consumers have wised up. Between the Volkswagen emissions scandal and the backlash against bottled water companies claiming to be ‘environmentally responsible’, there is now a lot of scepticism out there about companies’ green credentials.

I don’t believe in greenwashing. I believe in doing your absolute best to consider the environment when making business decisions. More often than not, the greener choice is the best option for your bottom line.

Here at BigChange, we have gone paperless. Come to our office here in Leeds and you won’t see a single desk printer or filing trays full of paper. Everyone works off their laptop or tablet. That’s better for the environment because we’re not cutting down trees for paper but it is also great for keeping overheads down; no paper means no stationery.

We are also helping our customers to go paperless. We estimate that the 1,000 plus clients on our JobWatch system have saved 13,000 trees from the paper mill. Working with BigChange also helps these companies to cut down their emissions because our job scheduling and tracking technology reduces the miles travelled and saves on fuel. That has the potential to have a big impact on the environment.

I don’t believe we have gone far enough to reduce our carbon footprint. We already recycle and collect food waste separately. Staff are encouraged to take public transport instead of driving to work and to meetings. We are switching our lightbulbs to LEDs, and looking into green energy options for the office. We try to procure sustainably and don’t provide unnecessary plastics like cutlery or cups. But I want to go further.

I’m not kidding myself. BigChange is not going to be carbon neutral. Not unless we employ a consultant to do all the offsetting and tree planting. We are expanding internationally and that means I need to get on planes – hardly the most ecological way to travel. Being paperless means more devices, which also consume electricity – it’s not a perfect solution.

I don’t want to be a hypocrite on this issue but I believe it’s important to stick your head above the parapet on issues you care about. I want to encourage other bosses to do what they can to reduce their environmental impact. It’s not about being perfect, or greenwashing your image. It’s about doing your absolute best to minimise the negative impact your business has on the planet.

Let’s all support each other to make the right decisions for this world and the next generation. If anyone has some suggestions on how I can make BigChange a greener business, I’d love to hear them.


Martin Port
Founder & CEO

BigChange

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