Leading family-owned construction, civil engineering and property services business Osborne (www.osborne.co.uk) has chosen a consortium led by 1st Touch (www.1sttouch.com) to deliver a mobile workforce solution that allows its property services team to undertake repairs and maintenance work more efficiently for its UK social housing customers.
Osborne’s property services team is a leading provider of responsive, cyclical and planned maintenance for social housing in London and the South East, looking after around 60,000 homes for customers including Circle, Peabody, Places for People and Winchester City Council.
Osborne has a direct labour operation of over 320 and a number of specialist subcontractors that will use the new PDA-based solution in the field.
The new solution is being phased in over the coming months and will be fully operational as a managed service by March 2012. The deal is estimated to be worth £900,000. The system comprises OptiTime scheduling from Xmbrace, mobile PDA software from 1st Touch, contract management software from AccuServ and Keyfax job diagnostics.
Opti-Time scheduling from Xmbrace is a dynamic resource scheduler that will plan operatives’ routes so they spend as little time as possible travelling between jobs, leaving more time and capacity for undertaking repairs and maintenance needed. As new jobs come in, the schedule adjusts, ensuring the best use of time while still meeting customer deadlines.
1st Touch mobile software will give Osborne operatives PDA based access to step by step procedures for all aspects of their work to help maintain best practice and ensure consistency across the company. Programs can be updated regularly and the system captures information needed by customers to help them manage their own decision making processes on products and services.
Contractor management software from AccuServ automates manual tasks, including billing and administration, ensuring that teams can spend more time working directly with their customers. Real time status reporting is also included allowing customers to track jobs more effectively.
Keyfax job diagnostics from Omfax will be used in call centres to take householders through a consistent, stage by stage process, so that more accurate diagnoses of property issues can be given, with the certainty that the right team will be sent to fix any problems.
Under the terms of the agreement, 1st Touch will provide a single point of technical support for all the individual systems involved. They will also support the operatives’ devices, guaranteeing, where required, to supply a replacement device pre-loaded with all the software by the next working day.
Nick Sterling, Managing Director of Osborne’s property services team is keen to stress the unique advantages this combination of technologies will bring to Osborne’s customers. “All of our partnerships have in common the priority to achieve consistently outstanding levels of customer satisfaction. One of the ways we respond to this is by delivering value for money through working efficiently, supported by ‘best of breed’ IT systems that ensure excellent repair diagnosis, dynamic scheduling of our neighbourhood service teams and readily accessible real time reporting of repair status, financial information and performance statistics. We also help our customers to manage their assets efficiently, with cost saving initiatives and innovations to boost productivity. To help do this, we needed a best of breed solution that combined proven systems, each one recognised as a leader in its own field and we believe that the 1st Touch consortium will deliver this.
“As a result, we will be able to focus our teams even more on delivering improvements for our customers. In turn they will see a much better service and happier tenants.”
For his part Robert Dent, CEO of 1st Touch, welcomed Sterling’s comments adding, “As a thriving business that has retained its family ethos as it has grown, Osborne has a well-deserved reputation for setting high standards in the construction industry. Osborne’s approach to investing heavily in quality and customer satisfaction meant that they needed a system configurable enough to meet these high levels of quality in all respects. They also needed a supply side alternative capable of combining and managing a best of breed solution and one that could move swiftly to a managed service delivery.
“As we have built strong partnerships with market leading organisations such as AccuServ for contract management, Xmbrace for scheduling and Omfax for diagnostics, to deliver complete IT solutions in the UK social housing market, we were in a strong position to put together a consortium of tightly integrated solutions that will deliver what Osborne requires. As outsourcing becomes more prevalent it’s imperative that the contractors use the best technology in order to deliver better and more economical services for repairs and maintenance to Social Housing providers. Mobile plays a big part in this because they can manage their workforces so much better.
“Following Osborne’s decision to go with the 1st Touch-led consortium, they will be able to raise service levels even higher still. We look forward to working closely with them on rolling the solution out and rapidly delivering the demonstrable benefits it will bring.”
About 1st Touch (www.1sttouch.com)
1st Touch, based in Southampton UK, develops a widely acclaimed range of software systems that have enabled numerous field workforce-based organisations to fully embrace mobile technology and so achieve significant savings, greater productivity and more cost-effective use of resources.
1st Touch Mobile delivers clear and unique benefits that make a real and positive impact. These include:
-Enhanced operative route planning and service delivery– better time usage and reduced fuel costs.
- Significant cost reductions for organisations because airtime is minimised and the system is always available – with or without airtime.
-Lone worker safety.
- Flexibility through simple customer control over forms creation and amendment.
- Smooth integration with multiple leading back office and other enterprise software applications, so that data is entered only once.
1st Touch has a clear focus on the public sector and in particular Local Government; where the software has already been adopted for a wide range of mobile workforce uses.
Ready to use applications for local authority organisations include: Public Buildings, Highways/Street Services, Environmental/Waste Management and Revenues and Benefits, along with Surveying , Planning Control, and Trading Standards. Together with key sectors such social housing, and care delivery, many organisations now benefit from the fast and tangible, best of breed benefits that 1st Touch mobile technology delivers across the enterprise. Users include: Powys County Council, 2010 Rotherham, Wakefield & District Housing, Homeserve, North Ayrshire Council, Philips Collection Services, Amicus Horizon, Peabody and Manchester Northwards
1st Touch is a PartnerSelect Authorised ISV for Motorola, Authorised ISV for Intermec, a certified Gold Partner for Windows Embedded Technology and certified Microsoft Gold ISV Partner .
Osborne is one of the UK's leading family-owned construction, civil engineering and property services businesses, with expertise in delivering projects for our clients in affordable homes, civic & amenities, education healthcare, commercial, civil engineering, rail, airports and property services sectors. Founded in 1966 by civil engineer Geoffrey Osborne, the company employs over 900 people across seven offices in the southern half of the UK and turned over £287 million in its last financial year.
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