Submitted by Editor on 17th August 2015
Through deploying 1st Touch mobile workforce software running on Android technology, South Kesteven District Council’s repairs and maintenance operation has achieved significant quantifiable efficiency benefits.
Based in South Lincolnshire, South Kesteven District Council has over 6250 properties in management, spread across a largely rural area covering 367 square miles. The area includes four towns Grantham, Bourne, Stamford and Deepings and numerous villages where many of the properties are located. These are a mainly a mixture of general needs and supported housing units, comprising one and two bedroom flats and three bedroom houses. The Council also manages a number of schemes which promote independence for older and vulnerable people.
Keeping tenants and customers happy is of paramount importance to South Kesteven District Council, which has been named as one of the top two in England for residents' happiness by the Office For National Statistics.
Running a good maintenance and responsive repairs operation is an important element in achieving this exceptional result. With a maintenance team of 30 experienced multi-tasking operatives, South Kesteven District Council is able to provide residents with a comprehensive responsive repairs operation alongside out of hours ‘on-call’ cover.
As an on-going service requirement the Council looks to:
• Improve efficiency
• Ensure quicker repair times
• Reduce reliance on external contractors
• Reduce travel time for our repair operatives
• Improve management information
South Kesteven District Council realised that a huge step towards achieving these goals would be achieved by moving to mobile technology. This led to a review of the mobile platforms and workforce management systems capable of delivering on these aims. In reviewing the options available on the market, South Kesteven District Council realised that Android mobile offered the best platform solution in terms of value for money. And, in reviewing mobile workforce solutions South Kesteven District Council discovered that 1st Touch mobile workforce software had recently become available for Android technology. As 1st Touch mobile workforce technology seemed to tick all the boxes in the review, this was ultimately a major factor behind the system’s choice.
As David Lewis ICT Manager at South Kesteven District Council notes, “We conducted a review of the different options available on the market. Android has become the market leading mobile platform and the potential value for money advantages it offered us were significant. The devices available were ideal too, as they were small enough to be handy but large enough to be useful. In addition, as 1st Touch had launched an Android version of their service, this fitted well with our use of this exciting new alternative.”
Stuart Sheardown the Project Manager at South Kesteven’s Property Services Team was involved in the procurement process. He takes up the story.
“Working closely with the ICT team we produced a specification for what we needed from the technology and during the evaluation of the received tenders 1st Touch ticked all the boxes, including the availability of an Android version. So it not only met all of our specifications, it also delivered an effective value for money mobile workforce solution. In addition, 1st Touch could work seamlessly with our Northgate OHMS management system and that is very important to us.
“There was also the ‘Smart Airtime’ feature of 1st Touch mobile. This is proven for use in rural areas and this was ideal as signal issues are very challenging here. The software only sends and receives information in short encrypted bursts when there is a signal. In terms of communicating with our operatives, this works very well in practise.
“It was also evident, within their tender submission, that they were already working with many other social landlords and were well respected in the supply of mobile technology to social housing organisations. We checked with a number of these organisations who used the software and discovered that they were very happy. Indeed 1st Touch is seen as the market leader.
“There was another important consideration behind our choice of 1st Touch too. We needed a contractor that was willing to not only provide the support detailed within the specification but also one that would provide some flexibility, as in many ways this was a design and learning process for us as we had not used mobile technology before. This proved invaluable when we introduced Android and we worked well with 1st Touch on its introduction.
“In practise too, the system works very well. The calls come into the call centre and the repairs scheduler, who takes the call, will put it through to the planning team for an appointment to be made. The planners will then fire the job into the 1st Touch application. Thus, when the relevant operative logs on the following morning he will automatically be sent from home to the first job having done their van checks and risk assessments.”
Since its deployment, South Kesteven has derived a number of significant efficiency benefits from 1st Touch Mobile. As Liz Bishop of the South Kesteven Property Services team notes, “There are a number of benefits we have received from using 1st Touch. On average we achieve two more repairs per operative per day, which over 30 operatives is 60 extra jobs per day. This is phenomenal in terms of adding to our efficiency. In addition, the operatives are certainly travelling less miles between jobs, thereby reducing fuel and servicing costs. We’re also less dependent on external contractors. Indeed overall, we’re highly delighted with the 1st Touch solution.”
South Kesteven is looking to use 1st Touch across a number of other areas of the business. As Liz Bishop says, “1st Touch gives us the platform for developing our mobile technology usage in the future. The next step is to implement void working and we will then follow that up by introducing automatic van stocking over the coming months.”
Commenting on the use of 1st Touch mobile software at South Kesteven District Council, Robert Dent the CEO of 1st Touch commented, “South Kesteven has been recognised independently by the Office For National Statistics as delivering the very highest levels of tenant happiness in England. This is a major endorsement of just how effective their management team has been in delivering services. Naturally, a key element of this is the responsive repairs operation and we are delighted to hear that by choosing 1st Touch they have derived such significant and quantifiable efficiency benefits. We look forward to working closely with them as they develop the use of mobile technology across the enterprise.”
You can view the South Kesteven District Council video case study on the video download page.
1st Touch helped us to design and build a first rate system that will not only transform what we do but add a whole new positive dimension to the customer experience we deliver.
Director of ICT
The 1st Touch solution ticked all the boxes in respect of our pre-defined criteria. In particular, we liked their approach to implementation and flexibility in delivering
Systems Development Manager