London Borough of Lewisham is saving at least £60,000 per year following the introduction of mobile devices and job scheduling software to its workers.
Lewisham employs 200 workers such as plumbers, carpenters and electricians, who deliver planned maintenance and repairs for 30,000 homes across the region. But each day, these workers had to visit the depot at least once to pick up their job allocation sheets, which could take up to 45 minutes.
Malcolm Diston, housing building services, London Borough of Lewisham, said, “The pieces of paper often didn’t contain the necessary details to complete the job. This meant workers would have to telephone the depot, or return to pick up more information or parts, which was highly inefficient.”
To keep costs down, Lewisham needed a much more reliable way of ensuring that jobs were completed on time. Furthermore, telephone calls and extensive paperwork were costly, and the amount of time workers spent at the depot was unacceptable. Malcolm Diston said, “We also had to meet the council’s asset management strategy by reducing our operational sites, condensing our operations and thus making further savings. Ideally we wanted our workers to operate from home so we decided to look for a mobility solution to streamline these processes.”
Lewisham approached TBS, whose TaskMaster application delivers information to field works wirelessly using Windows Mobile-based devices. Based on Microsoft .NET, TaskMaster integrates directly with Lewisham’s CRM system, synchronised via the O2 GPRS network. Armed with the mobile devices, workers no longer need to visit the depot on a daily basis. With at least 45 minutes saved each day, the workers are more productive and can fit in more jobs. In line with this, TaskMaster was customised by TBS to include a schedule of rates function, enabling the software to show workers how much they are earning in real time.
Previously, depot staff spent a great deal of time transferring handwritten notes into the computer system as well as allocating and planning work. Malcolm Diston said, “Now that updates load automatically into the CRM system, we expect to free up four office workers from these sorts of duties and employ their skills in other areas. As well as lower fuel, paperwork and print costs, the handheld technology has already contributed to a saving of £60,000 per year with our reduced accommodation needs.”
Lewisham is pleased by the ease with which workers have adapted to the mobile service. Malcolm Diston said, “Our workers often have little or no experience of using a computer, but they are adapting surprisingly well. The interface is easy to operate, with simple options on a touch screen. And they can do all their planning from home.”