The 2010 National Housing Maintenance Forum featured ‘best use of IT’ as a new category in its annual awards, with Wansbeck Homes and Gentoo Group both praised for their intelligent use of technology throughout the repairs and maintenance lifecycle.
Using software from Consilium, Comino and Omfax, Wansbeck transformed the flow of information between tenants, in-house staff and contractors so that all parties had a clear view of the status of all repairs and maintenance jobs.
Each tenant has a repair handbook which replicates the approach to diagnosing repairs used by Wansbeck’s call centre, making it easier for tenants and call-centre staff to identify the nature of a job, prioritise it correctly, and then arrange an appointment of the appropriate length for a contractor with the right skills and materials to deal with it in one visit, at a time to suit the tenant.
Wansbeck’s system includes a vehicle management system to track the location of contractors and when they are starting and finishing jobs, plus automated text messages to tenants in the lead up to the contractor’s visit. Van stocks are monitored electronically, with replenishments scheduled to minimise additional travel and to avoid the contractors having to leave part-completed jobs to pick up additional materials.
The latest figures from Wansbeck report that it had saved around £350,000 over three years using its new system. Gentoo’s repairs and maintenance strategy and systems were broadly similar to Wansbeck’s, differing mainly in Gentoo’s use of software from Orchard Information Systems, M3 Housing and Wheatley Associates.