Mobile working has been introduced at Northwards Housing’s repairs and maintenance operations after Manchester Working, Northwards’ external contractor, installed new IT systems from 1st Touch, Civica, ROCC and Xmbrace.
As a three-star rated ALMO for Manchester City Council with over 12,500 properties, one of Northward’s primary objectives is delivering very high levels of service to its tenants through a team of 350 responsive repairs and maintenance staff from Manchester Working, a joint venture between maintenance provider Morrison and Manchester City Council.
The number of properties and repairs staff meant that Manchester Working decided to install a new Civica housing management system linked to ROCC’s Uniclass contractor management software and Xmbrace’s Opti-Time appointment scheduling software. From day one, MWL felt that there were potentially huge benefits for the responsive repairs and maintenance operation if they could utilise mobile and handheld technologies to support, manage and control mobile operatives.
Recognising the need for a mobile solution to support Manchester Working’s repairs and maintenance staff, 1st Touch mobile technology was chosen as it already offered close integration with Civica, ROCC and Opti-Time. Danny Hussey, database group leader, Manchester Working, explained, “When we went live, we needed to find a mobile solution for Northwards Housing but it had to be something that sat well with the back-office systems.”
With 1st Touch installed at Manchester Working, job information could be sent from the Opti-Time scheduling system direct to the appropriate operative’s PDA. 1st Touch was piloted with a small number of staff at first then rolled out on a trade-by-trade basis across Manchester Working’s maintenance and repairs staff.
Des Morris, managing director, Manchester Working, said, “The implementation of the 1st Touch technology was very well managed, which was important given the potentially high impact of this technology on Northwards Housing and its residents.”
Larry Patrick, director of property services, Northwards Housing, added, “1st Touch has certainly helped us to improve service performance for our tenants. However, it has been really productive in quantifiable terms too. There are a number of performance indicators which had been static for some time and these have improved dramatically with the mobile technology, including statistics for tenant satisfaction and the percentage of jobs completed first time.”