CHP has replaced its in-house mobile working system with an integrated solution from TotalMobile to improve repairs and maintenance productivity by 40 per cent and cut its external contractor costs by £300,000.
CHP originally built its own mobile working system, known as Electronic Job Distribution (EJD), in 2005. This was a web-based application which its 30 field-based workers could access via mobile devices to pick up daily job lists and update the progress of current work.
While the EJD system had many advantages, such as removing the need for workers to visit the office each morning to pick up job information, reducing the need for paper work tickets (14,000 each year) and saving fuel, it also had several disadvantages. These included a lack of integration with CHP’s works order management system, an inability to work without a signal, no means of recording how long jobs took and what was involved in their completion, and no way of issuing van stocks to current jobs or updating the stores. Furthermore, although EJD improved worker productivity and customer service, the system still required significant manual administration by CHP’s staff.
Marion Jordan, repairs manager, CHP, said, “We had a good mobile system which was well received, but we had to change it because it lacked the ability to integrate with our works order management system. This was one of the key motivators of our choice of system.”
David Parry, electrical team leader, CHP, added, “There were times and places where you couldn’t access your job information when you needed it as the signal cut out. That was a problem.”
CHP selected TotalMobile’s system to replace its existing mobile working system, along with the Opti-Time dynamic scheduling system. The overall TotalMobile system comprises job management to deliver daily workloads to field-based workers and report on their progress, timesheets to automatically assign time to each job and update the status of work completed, and materials to allow workers to manage and update imprest van stock.
The TotalMobile implementation included a set of pre-configured integration adaptors to ensure that information would flow seamlessly to and from CHP’s works order management system, significantly reducing its manual back-office administration.
All information is regularly synchronised with CHP’s back-office systems to reduce the need for further manual data entry and to ensure that office-based staff are up-to-date on worker productivity and job status.
Jordan explained, “Using the integration capability of TotalMobile, job status and completion information is immediately updated in Total Repairs which means that all the job information is in one system. This has also helped to improve efficiency through the reduction in paperwork and double keying.”
The Opti-Time system organises daily schedules for each worker and then sends these instantly to workers in the field through TotalMobile, planning their jobs and route for the day. When tenants are not available, new jobs are instantly delivered, maximising the use of available maintenance time.
Parry said, “It’s a good system and I like it, you can book your materials, book SORs and the system automatically re-allocates work to other operative when jobs overrun.”
Once at an appointment, workers use PDAs to enter their maintenance reports which are then transmitted securely to the office management system via the mobile network or WiFi. Applications are stored locally on each device so that when there is no mobile signal, no information is lost and workers can continue with their jobs.
The system also tracks stock management, linking front-line operations to CHP’s stores depot. Once a job is completed, information about the materials used is captured from the completed electronic form and transmitted to the stores. Replacement supplies can then be readied, while real-time back-office integration allows for constant stock ordering and replenishment.
Jordan said, “Total Mobile has given us a much-improved method of allocating van stocks to job costs through the materials module as well as making us far more efficient at restocking vans using pick lists generated by information from the handhelds. Previously tradesmen used to visit our stores almost every day – this has now been reduced to around twice a week.”
After the first six months of using the new system, the productivity of CHP’s repair teams had increased by 40 per cent, with its workers now being able to complete at least one extra job per day.
Other benefits have included lead times for appointments for non-repair works falling from six weeks to three weeks, the elimination of three emergency staff who were on ‘stand-by’ duties, and a reduction of around £300,000 in CHP’s costs for external contractors.