Broadacres Housing Association has introduced mobile workforce software from 1st Touch for its repairs and maintenance operations, three years after bringing them in-house.
Chris Fawcett, ICT manager, Broadacres Housing Association, said, “We chose 1st Touch as it had an existing integration with our Aareon housing management system. In addition, with our housing stock spread over a very large area, including many rural locations with limited network coverage, we needed a solution that would work offline. 1st Touch proved ideal as it has a ‘smart airtime’ feature that only sends information in short encrypted bursts when a signal is available.”
Tom Gallafant, a business analyst at Broadacres, said, “We’re currently using the Windows mobile version running on a Motorola MC65 device. However, we are thinking about extending our use of 1st Touch to include its multi-platform device capabilities so that we can also use it with iPhones, iPads and Android devices.”
Katherine Proctor, repairs manager of Broadacres, said, “The system gives us greater visibility of what the operatives are working on and their performance. We can therefore capture a lot of KPIs such as the ‘number of first-time fixes’ or where there was no access possible.
“The software also gives us an automatic link with Jewsons for ordering materials. The operatives carry a certain amount of van stock which is listed on their PDAs. When that stock needs to be replenished, they can place an order through the PDA which goes automatically to Jewsons which has the goods ready for collection next time the operative is passing.”
Broadacres reported that since the 1st Touch system went live, the number of jobs completed by each operative has increased in some areas from 4.5 jobs a day to 6.5 jobs per day, representing an increase in overall productivity of almost 50 per cent.
Fawcett added, “We are now looking at the other 1st Touch modules to use across our services, including tenancy management, estate management and anti-social behaviour management modules. In addition, welfare reform is a big challenge for us so having a mobile solution in the housing services and income management side of the organisation will be really important.”