Following a large corporate consolidation and restructuring, Together Housing Group has adopted the latest version of Kirona Xmbrace DRS as its preferred software for dynamic appointment scheduling.
Together Housing Group was formed in 2011 by five partner organisations. During the formation of the new group, it was able to cherry-pick the best IT applications from across the individual organisations; each IT supplier and their software was audited and only the fittest and most innovative applications survived.
The first stage in streamlining Together Housing’s IT applications was the reduction of four housing management systems to just one for all properties and tenants. This was closely tied to appointments scheduling, with Together Housing making around 2,000 appointments each week for 195 technicians. Kirona’s Xmbrace DRS dynamic scheduling software was already being used in two of the five organisations and delivering good results, so it was then deployed across the group as the scheduler of choice, at the same time as upgrading to the latest version of the software (v5).
Amanda Birtwistle, module leader, Together Housing Group, said, “Having been an Xmbrace DRS v4 user and a fan, we decided to upgrade the group to v5 so everyone had the same system, and we wanted to take advantage of the new functionality.
“Xmbrace DRS v5 ensures that no matter who answers the phone, the best appointment is made, reducing travel time and costs. There is a simple yet very clever colour-coded system which shows the agent the best appointment to offer, whereas on the earlier version, they would have only been shown as available or not. The agent knows to select a green appointment slot when it is offered, followed by blue (10-20 minutes’ travel) and finally as a last resort, a yellow slot (over 20 minutes’ travel). We also love the quotas because this prevents the planners and customer service centre from overfilling diaries and means there is always capacity for emergencies.”
Xmbrace DRS v5 lets users set certain SOR codes so the time allocated to the job will be automatically split between two technicians. Together Housing now allocates one job at a time to stop operatives cherry-picking their tasks and to increase the efficiency of every resource, with each technician now completing 6-8 jobs per day depending on their trade.
Sarah Dudley, project manager, Together Housing Group, said, “We are in the final stages of implementing the InfoSuite reporting module. We have written our reports and are excited by the visibility the dashboard will give us. One of the particularly useful features is the ability to see the productivity levels of each technician. We can drill right down by trade, by job, by area. This will give us actionable insight to make real improvements in our efficiency.”
Together Housing’s tenant satisfaction ratings are provided by external consultancy Leadership Factor, with a recent report showing that Together Housing has the highest repairs and gas servicing satisfaction levels (90 per cent) across all of Leadership Factor’s portfolio of housing customers.
Following its move to Xmbrace DRS v5, 100 per cent of Together Housing’s jobs are now appointed at the first point of contact, with a consequent 92 per cent rate of first-time fixes, and ‘no access’ appointments have fallen to only eight per cent.
Ian Rumsam, group head of repairs and maintenance, Together Housing Group, said, “Simple, yet highly-effective functionality in DRS v5, such as the colour-coded appointment slots, means we have great confidence that our resources are being used in the best way.
“Likewise, the InfoSuite dashboard will transform our knowledge from what we think we know to what we really know about our performance and enable us to make tangible, quantifiable changes that are making a real difference to our costs.”