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The Aeromark Blog

Industry news and latest posts by Aeromark.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018 10:22

Property & Asset Management for Food Retail

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DISCOVER HOW OUR TECHNOLOGY CAN DRIVE EFFICIENCY WITHIN YOUR BUSINESS

Controlling maintenance costs, minimising asset downtime, managing contractors and maintenance costs can be difficult and time consuming.

Aeromark Optimatics provides an end to end solution for Property & Asset Management reducing maintenance costs, ensuring both planned and reactive tasks are completed efficiently and cost efficiently.

Aeromark optimatics puts you in control!

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WE WORK WITH SOME OF THE MOST RECOGNISABLE AND SUCCESSFUL BRANDS

Aeromark Optimatics enable our customers to effectively manage their business operation and therefore provide exceptional service to their customers.

Optimatics provides you with a full audit of every single asset, customer and job in a single system allowing your business to complete real-time reports on performance or historical reports to help improve your operations.

 


 

AN EXAMPLE OF HOW OPTIMATICS CAN OPERATE IN THE SERVICE CONSUMER MODEL

HOW TO INCREASE YOUR EFFICIENCY & PRODUCTIVITY

Aeromark have been helping food retail companies maximise the use of their subcontractors and direct employees. This ensures that stores continue to be able to deliver excellent service and increased customer satisfaction.

PLANNED MAINTENANCE:

  • Planned maintenance schedule stored in the system and updates dynamically
  • Ensuring PPMs are never missed and completed at an optimum time

REACTIVE MAINTENANCE:

  • Update asset database
  • Report on cost BER
  • Improve first-time fix

WHAT COULD AEROMARK OPTIMATICS OFFER YOUR BUSINESS?

Aeromark Optimatics is one of very few Service & Asset Management solutions that operate on a single platform; despite the claims of many providers.

  • Improved the management of facilities
  • Maximise assets productivity
  • Total cost control
  • Complete visibility of contractors’ performance
  • Taking your costs straight from the bottom line
  • Improved customer service level

Aeromark Helps Businesses Achieve Optimal Business Efficiency!


Customer Case Study - YO! Sushi

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YO! Sushi recognised they needed to improve the management of its facilities, assets and service supply chain for planned and reactive maintenance.
Aeromark offered a single bespoke solution and within three months the system was deployed, instantly saving the restaurants management time and associated administration when allocating a job to subcontractors.

Benefits at a glance:

  • Manage 70 restaurants on Aeromark Optimatics platform
  • Complete audit trail of contractors’ performance
  • Three month Immediate Return on Investment
  • Streamline work procedures
  • Lower administration cost

Customer Case Study - Greggs

Greggs Aeromark Case Study

Greggs recognised improvements were needed to their shop Service & Asset Management system to allow them to use their own service engineers and outsourced service supply chain more efficiently.
Since the deployment of Aeromark Optimatics system, Greggs real-time closure of planned and reactive jobs has improved through engineers data capture via effective workflows when allocating a job to subcontractors.

Benefits at a glance:

  • Manage the complete service chain
  • 60% increase in productivity
  • Full visibility reactive jobs and PPM
  • Delivers quantifiable savings
  • Own resources productivity increase from 3.5 to 5.5 completed jobs per day and per engineer

Flowrite Services Ltd prides itself on utilising the latest technology to deliver all of its services to our customers. We strive to be industry-leading in inventing ways in which our service delivery teams can be deliver their works more efficiently and with greater customer focus.
The continuous improvement of our services is so important to Flowrite that we have made significant investment in it and dedicated a division of the company specifically to leading the way in the different technologies across air conditioning and refrigeration.


Aeromark is one of Flowrite’s greatest assets – it provides the foundations of our service delivery to our customers; from the initial call all the way through to final invoicing.
Each of our client’s site assets is individually logged onto our Aeromark system. This means that each item of equipment which we service on site has a full history of works carried out, age, warranty monitor, cost and spend and unaccepted quotations logged against the item. This history facilitates stricter cost controls, reduction in breakdowns and bespoke reporting, such as gas usage.
Aeromark follows the service from original report to our helpdesk through to final completion and invoicing, showing a full path of actions along the way. The history is integrated with the engineer’s PDA so they have full information prior to attending of what has occurred previously.

Customer portal

Each of our customers are provided with their own bespoke portal which enables them to track all the activities on their portfolio. This gives them the ability to monitor the performance of their contracts at every level; from stock management, mileage and fuel consumption through to individual reporting on each asset and overall budgetary cost control. We are constantly improving these portals to meet customer’s specific process requests and requirements of each site.
The package can be integrated with our customer’s own helpdesk package giving a seamless update of the job’s progress whilst the engineer is still on site.
As a single point of information it has the facility to report on each of our service performance areas and is therefore an ideal tool for dynamic monitoring of contract KPIs and SLAs.

Scheduling expertise

One of the things that sits our service above our competition is our dynamic scheduling portal. It allows for a slicker service by instantaneously communicating the tasks requirements to our engineer through his handheld PDA unit as soon as it is logged through Aeromark by our helpdesk – taking the paperwork out of scheduling.
The scheduler suggests the nearest available engineers with the correct skills for the task and then provides a list to highlight those who can provide promptest attendance.
All of Flowrite’s service partners and customers also have access to Aeromark’s system ensuring consistent and real-time information is provided. Through this facility we can embed our core behaviours of trust and visibility within the business from the start of each engineering task.

Overnight van stock replenishing

Flowrite have an agreement in place with our suppliers to restock our team’s vans overnight straight to the back of their vehicles. The van’s stock levels are monitored through our Aeromark system and are automatically ordered when quantities drop below an agreed threshold. This means that our company’s vans are never without the critical stock required to enable our engineers to resolve any routine service issues as rapidly as possible. In addition our specialist parts can also be delivered overnight allowing for a speedy resolution to less common breakdowns.

Thursday, 11 January 2018 11:09

Our Dynamic Scheduling Features Featured

DISCOVER HOW SERVICE MANAGEMENT SCHEDULING CAN DRIVE EFFICIENCY WITHIN YOUR BUSINESS

Aeromark Smart Workforce Scheduling is designed to effectively manage your engineers with a mix of planned and reactive work, maximising utilisation and encouraging multi-intervention (covered more detail below). This results in an increased numbers of jobs completed each day.

Whatever the level of scheduling and route optimisation you’re looking for we can help. From simple drag and drop planning boards, to fully automated dynamic scheduling, our software offers the perfect level of functionality for your business now and in the future.

Right Resource, First Time!


OVERVIEW OF AEROMARK DYNAMIC SCHEDULING FEATURES

Slide 2 Service Management Scheduling

Aeromark Dynamic Scheduling is a simple configurable system customised to fit your business.


SYSTEM ASSISTED SCHEDULING

“Find next best job”:

An engineer will be allocated to a new job automatically when a planner uses the “next best job” action. With a simple click, the system assisted scheduler will suggest the next job based on the engineer’s location, skill and SLA.

“Suggest the best engineer”:

The “suggest” function on a reactive task will quickly find the range of resources available based on the engineer’s skill set, location, route and SLA.


MAP BASED SCHEDULING

Jobs are shown on a simple map view allowing planners to highlight engineers’ starting positions for the coming day, and join the dots to build the most effective route.

Effective geo visibility means business miles  are reduced significantly and planners can quickly react throughout the working day by adding more jobs as opportunities arise.


MULTI-INTERVENTION SCHEDULING

Multi-intervention scheduling grants the scheduler full visibility of any additional tasks on a particular site or close by.

This allows the scheduler to maximise the engineer’s activity and minimise unproductive driving time.


MAP BASED SCHEDULING

Jobs are shown on a simple map view allowing planners to highlight engineers’ starting positions for the coming day, and join the dots to build the most effective route.

Effective geo visibility means business miles  are reduced significantly and planners can quickly react throughout the working day by adding more jobs as opportunities arise.


DYNAMIC SCHEDULING FUNCTIONS

Optimatics uses sophisticated algorithms to create intelligent jobs and automatically schedule turn-by-turn routines, reducing costs and increasing productivity.

The Aeromark team works with your business, customising the system, to find the most efficient level of scheduling for your organisation.


REPORTING & ANALYSIS

Reports:

There are many standard reports as part of the Optimatics portfolio including; Timesheets, KPI (Key Performance Indicator) reports, vehicle activity and key location reports.
In addition, reports can be set-up to be delivered on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Analysis:

Aeromark offer a full KPI reporting suite to give instant graphical trends using the Smartdash system.
Smartdash looks at trend analysis for you, saving time and enabling you to see long term business trends and short term business progress.

An MD’s guide to successfully deploying a ‘Software as a Service’ project by Roger Marks, Managing Director, Aeromark

Table of contents

 SaaS – just another buzz word?

  • Certainly not. Deploying a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution greatly reduces capital expenditure and has the potential to slash overall systems costs over its lifetime, which is why it is so attractive to so many businesses. It effectively allows organisations to pay for the use of an online system, rather than having to buy additional hardware, software licenses and other infrastructure components. That’s not to say they simply buy a subscription to a website and log on when they like, it’s slightly more complicated than that.
  • The IT industry seems to have acknowledged that ‘cloud-based’ computing, and in particular Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), is the future for many enterprise applications. The implementation of these new business systems and their associated projects may, however, represent uncharted water for most IT and project managers.

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 What is SaaS?

  • This has led to some confusion about what actually constitutes SaaS. Some enterprise system vendors have simply made their traditional software available through a web browser and offered a hosted server environment to run the system. Such back engineering is not delivering true SaaS and people should not be misled.
  • On the contrary, SaaS is not a minor relocation and tweak of legacy software. It is a complete transformation in the way applications are developed, funded, sold, implemented, trained, supported and upgraded. Because the mindset is so different, it is often extremely difficult for a traditional enterprise vendor to successfully change to this model. By way of a simple illustration, you could consider the change as being similar to the transformation from 35mm to digital cameras.

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 A huge leap forward

  • Traditional server-based systems have historically involved a large upfront investment to purchase things like: software; server hardware; additional infrastructure for business continuity and disaster recovery; a detailed business requirements specification against which the system was delivered; and following deployment, a support contract and costs for change at high professional services rates.
  • The principle behind SaaS is significantly different to this model. The effectiveness of the system depends on multi-tenant architecture where all customers (usually) share the same application. This enables easy horizontal scalability, and therefore computing resources to be optimised and shared.
  • By designing a system in this way the customer should benefit from: much faster delivery; more stable applications; better support; increased agility, significantly lower initial investment on hardware or infrastructure; automatic updates when new features become available; lower cost of change and overall ownership over a five year period (as SaaS is normally charged on a per user per month basis).

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 We’ve had a system in for years that does the job, why would we go through the pain of change?

  • Most senior managers will be aware of the well publicised and catastrophic failures of large IT projects, particularly in the public sector. They will almost certainly be less aware of the failures that occur every day within smaller commercial organisations – maybe even their own. This is primarily due to the spin used by project managers responsible for the procurement and installation of these projects, as well as other stakeholders, who often position a weak outcome as a success.
  • Enterprise systems are, however, at the heart of almost every business and especially those that employ a mobile workforce. The damage that an inadequate system can have on the profitability of a business is almost always under-estimated and conversely, the potential improvement to the bottom line that a good fitting system can bring is enormous.
  • An ill-fitting system results in compound inefficiencies, increased staffing levels to cover these inefficiencies and increased cost of failure. It is therefore imperative that these systems are identified and acknowledged at the earliest possible opportunity.
  • There are many cases where companies have invested more than £1m in a server-based enterprise system, only to spend subsequent years unsuccessfully attempting to make it work properly. Despite knowing that the system was a bad fit, in these cases there was always a reluctance to accept the fact it was not fit for purpose, based on the investment made and the internal political requirement for it to be seen to succeed. It is painfully clear that persisting with such fundamentally ill-fitting systems serves only to increase the damage being done to a business that can’t see or admit that it has made a poor decision.
  • The many surveys of traditional IT/development project failures cite unrealistic delivery timescales and expectations, combined with gross underestimations of the task as the largest causes of project failure. It therefore makes sense that SaaS systems, by design: reduce the implementation time and complexity; bring dividends and reduce this risk accordingly.

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 The real difference with SaaS is the ability to change

  • Expanding on the digital camera analogy above; with a 35mm camera/traditional IT procurement you decide what you want, point, and once you press the button that’s what you’re stuck with. With a digital camera/SaaS you can take, examine, retake and adjust until what you have in front of you meets your exact requirements.
  • Likewise, with a good SaaS service provider it should be less important to draft lengthy and detailed requirement specifications, because the ability to change and alter aspects during and after the implementation project allows the finer detail to be defined as an ongoing process. This will make the difference between a system that fits and one that doesn’t. It also makes selecting the most suitable supplier of the utmost importance.
  • Most company requirements mean that a SaaS service provider should be able to deliver 80% of the final solution off-the-shelf, and develop the remaining 20% to make the new system a perfect fit. Unless the business requirement is unique, the 20% development that is required should be viewed as a product enhancement by the provider, as they will be able to offer it to other customers in the future. As such, if the enhancement is generic the buyer should not expect to pay for this development. Likewise, you should expect to benefit from other customers’ improvements in the future. A true win-win.

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 What to look for in a supplier

  • Data stored in a third party cloud is at risk from security breaches. Many software suppliers are reliant on third party data centres which are certified to ISO27001:2013 ( Information Security ). On the face of it this might seem reassuring, but it also can potentially obscure the majority of significant risk, as the application level security is not being covered by the data centre at all. Therefore, to ensure that your company data is protected it is vital that you choose a supplier that is certified to ISO27001 covering their entire business scope; from staff hiring to development of the software and not just their third party data centre. It’s important that the certification is UKAS accredited and it’s worth checking out the scope on their certificate.
  • It’s also a really good idea to find a supplier that is certified to ISO22301 ( Business Continuity ) as this ensures that systems will be available in case of a disaster.
  • The effectiveness of the process can be greatly reduced, or even eliminated entirely, if the service provider uses third parties to deliver any of the core components: such as PDA software, vehicle tracking, scheduling and the like. Integrated multiple-supplier technologies always significantly increase the potential for failure, so a single supplier that will deliver all aspects of a system will act to mitigate that risk.
  • It is also vitally important that the supplier is financially stable with an established reputation. After all, its application will be running your business. Perversely, if the organisation you choose is too large, you risk inflexibility, longer timescales and possibly loss of ability to actually make the 20% changes that are required.

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 The Best Approach

  • Most projects are initiated with some key business requirements or major issues to solve. The task of solving these issues is allocated and the process of designing the solution to the problems begins. The new system requirements are built and a wish list of features created. This is normally the first fundamental mistake. Every decision about how best to achieve the objectives have been made without reference to the expertise that’s freely available.
  • The best approach is to present your key business requirements to a number of service providers and let them propose the best way of delivering the results using their systems. Have an open mind. This advice should be free and will be based on a previous track record of achieving similar objectives.
  • Chose the one that can demonstrate the track record and feels like the right long-term partner.

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 Project management is king

  • Like the traditional model, no matter how big or small the company, the role of the project manager (PM) is pivotal. For an effective project there must be a PM allocated by both the customer and the supplier that is empowered to demand any internal resources required to deliver on-time and on-budget. For most deployments the position of PM should be a full-time role, and have a direct reporting line to the board if possible. The hands-on type, who is prepared to get into the detail, is always best.
  • There are two things a PM needs to have a firm idea of from the start: timescales and functionality. With respect to timescales, as a guideline, if you have specified delivery in less than six months under pressure to get the deal done, even if the supplier has agreed to your demands, then you should stop and think again. Setting these timescale expectations will be the project killer. All projects are, of course, different, but for most SaaS enterprise wide projects somewhere between six and nine months is the industry standard timescale.
  • In terms of functionality, the biggest and most common mistake is for one member of the management team to start a list of requirements, circulate it to other managers (that inevitably make minor additions that will affect their area), hold a meeting to agree that they have the required functionality agreed, and then pass this list to the procurement department to buy an appropriate system at the lowest possible cost. Sound familiar? Neither the new systems’ end users nor potential suppliers have been involved anywhere in this process, and as such the PM will be pulled from pillar to post, and the project will be very difficult indeed.

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 The Golden Rules of Successful SaaS Deployment

  • In order to reduce risk you should review your systems fit annually with your technology partner. Your business will change over time and your systems should reflect that change. If change is necessary, your first action should be to get your senior management team to draft a non-detailed list of high level key business objectives and then to have your solutions partner propose how its systems will deliver those benefits.
  • You should choose and involve a solutions partner at the earliest possible opportunity, specifically looking for SaaS suppliers that do everything you need without using or reselling third party technology. You should also get a feel for the supplier’s ability to be agile enough to deliver the 20% tailored development you will need to make your project a success at the start, and to enter an agreement that includes the improvements that will be needed over the contract period.
  • Once your objectives are set and a solutions partner chosen, you will need to allocate a full-time project manager to ensure focus is maintained, and to get structured input from end-users at the earliest opportunity. All of the contributors can offer a different and valuable perspective, but the buck stops with the project manager, so the decision as to who that will be should not be taken lightly.
  • By following these steps you should end up with a new system that fits your needs, enables you to increase productivity and profitability, and adapts as your business evolves. You should also have a technology and process management supplier that becomes a trusted partner that works with your organisation for years to come.
  • However, what is really important is to remember is that technology is an enabler for change and normally drives changes in processes, structure and sometimes people. Technology can only do the enabling; it’s down to the management team to use it effectively.

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