How can technology help to manage 3,500 individual and 1,000 groups of trees covering an area from North Essex to North Norfolk? This was the question posed to Flagship Group’s business intelligence and GIS teams.
Victoria Green, business intelligence developer, Flagship Group, said, “Our passion is delivering a great service for our customers, so we were very keen to support our arborists by designing a solution to help them work as effectively and efficiently as possible.”
The Flagship BI team developed a Microsoft PowerApp, included as part of Flagship’s Office 365 subscription, which all staff can use to request tree works. The app includes functionality to allow attachments, pictures and GPS location, all vital given the wide geographic area covered by the arborists.
Following a tree request, the arborists receive an automated email for them to assess the work. The arborists then use a second bespoke ‘assessment’ PowerApp which has been automatically populated from the original request. With this app, an arborist can pinpoint the tree’s location, assess the work required, add more detailed information and carry out the necessary planning and when satisfied, the app (via Microsoft Flow) generates an assignment in ESRI’s Workforce for ArcGIS software.
Green said, “By using their own PowerApp, the arborists can provide clarity about what’s needed, identify the work required and how this will be delivered. This creates significant efficiencies because the arborists can complete the entire process while in the field.”
The next stage in the process is assigning the work and this is supported by Workforce for ArcGIS. Part of the solution automatically produces a pre-populated job sheet and attaches each one to its respective assignment. Using Workforce for ArcGIS, arborists can record their start and finish times, any breaks and attach pictures to an assignment.
Andy Blackman, GIS developer, Flagship Group, said, “The use of Workforce for ArcGIS has enabled us to visualise the team’s work on a map, combined with the arborist’s live location to enable maximum efficiency when assigning and recording work. This combined with ESRI’s Collector for ArcGIS allows the arborists to amend existing and add new tree data while in the field, allowing us to better understand and manage our assets.”
The development of the new process took Flagship’s business intelligence Team around 100 hours to complete from planning to launch and it is set to transform how the arborists operate.
Blackman said, “What we’ve done is take an entirely manual and outdated process and automate it, making it easier for everyone involved, from the initial job request to the delivery of the work.”
The bespoke system is unique to Flagship who are happy to share their experiences and knowledge with other housing providers; please contact them at email@example.com and/or firstname.lastname@example.org.