Herefordshire Housing is using mobile workforce software from 1st Touch to support responsive repairs services for residents in its 5000 properties.
Integrating with Herefordshire Housing’s Orchard housing management system, the 1st Touch mobile system replaces the previous paper-based job system by sending electronic job tickets directly to 25 maintenance and repair workers’ PDAs. This simultaneously reduces dead time, monitors real-time job performance and reduces the wasted time associated with operatives returning to base to hand in completed job tickets and collect paperwork. The electronic solution also provides access online to a wealth of customer and property information.
One of the key reasons that Herefordshire Housing chose 1st Touch was the system’s use of Smart Airtime technology which sends information in short, encrypted and compressed bursts whenever airtime is available. This was a significant advantage over alternative systems as many of Herefordshire Housing’s homes are in remote rural areas where it is often impossible to maintain a continuous signal. It also reduces airtime costs; 1st Touch says that users can typically reduce airtime costs by up to 75 per cent compared with ‘always on’ systems.
The 1st Touch system enables programming-free, user-customisable applications and forms to be created, closely replicating working practices in Hereford Housing’s Orchard housing management system, without the need for business process mapping.
Mark Bissell, IT manager, Herefordshire Housing, said, “Overall, this new technology will make a significant difference to our residents in terms of our efficiency, responsiveness and customer satisfaction. The trade colleagues who use the system will see benefits too as we remove as much dead time as possible through sending information directly to their PDAs and provide them with a wealth of information about the resident and the property.”
The implementation of the 1st Touch system was carried out without disrupting day-to-day working due its integration with the housing provider’s existing housing management system. Herefordshire Housing is now considering extending 1st Touch into other areas of its organisation, including updating imprest van stock from builders’ merchants to reduce the time taken for operatives to return to Herefordshire Housing’s stores.