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Industry news and latest posts by Aeromark.

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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Tuesday, 21 February 2017 16:05

Smart Optimatics Gets Thumbs up from Yo! Sushi

Originally Published on 08/04/2014

YO! Sushi has reported successful deployment of Aeromark’s Smart Optimatics technology and immediate return on investment in the first month following implementation.

In 2013 YO! Sushi was looking for a system that would improve the management of its Facilities and Assets including conveyor belts, fridges, freezers, cookers and air conditioning units, and its service supply chain for planned and reactive maintenance. Aeromark offered a single configurable solution and within three months the system was deployed, instantly saving management time and associated administration when managing subcontractors.

‘Our previous system resulted in needless expenditure, as we had no transparency of costs, which caused a financial impact on the restaurants ongoing expenditure. We needed a system that provided visibility and central control of finance, to ensure that faulty assets were fixed immediately within budget’. Said Mike Bonaker, Facilities Manager at YO! Sushi.

Following evaluation on different facilities management software at the Service Management Expo, YO! Sushi chose Aeromark Optimatics. ‘The ability for their system to be configured to meet exactly what we needed in terms of keeping the restaurant equipment and facilities running smoothly , faster response times to our restaurants and complete audit trails of subcontractor performance, are the reasons why we chose Optimatics as opposed to other software on the shelf’ said Mike.

Optimatics provides YO! Sushi restaurant managers with a single solution for asset management, a central storage for all data and integration with subcontractor systems. ‘This system allows restaurant managers to plan reactive jobs quickly and efficiently by simply using a Smartphone to scan the QR code on the faulty asset. The trouble ticket is then emailed to the subcontractor and they update the status allowing for reports on service level agreement hits to be generated’ said Mike.
Since the deployment of Aeromark Optimatics Asset Management, YO! Sushi’s assets costs and service intervals have improved through the visibility of subcontracting service history.

‘We find this systematic approach to operating much easier and we are reassured that the restaurant facilities will continue to be addressed within service level agreement as we are constantly tweaking features of the system to meet the needs of our business.’ said Mike.

Heating engineers across the UK will enjoy a new, updated version of PartsArena Pro from January 2017 as creator, Infomill rolls out its latest improvements to the leading source of heating parts and technical data to over 2,600 licensed users.

With the ability to access the app offline on iOS, Android and Windows, PartsArena Pro has fast become an essential efficiency tool for heating engineers whilst out in the field. Instant access to technical manuals, part imagery, interactive exploded views, parts codes and a stockist locator helps engineers to reduce time on-site and improve the first time fix rate by ensuring much more accurate parts ordering.

The system is being used by heating companies including larger organisations and SME’s to enhance customer service and cut cost on site. Many engineers are benefitting from integration with their field management systems, enabling automated parts ordering.

The January update of PartsArena Pro will see many improvements and enhancements, often developed from valuable user feedback. These include:

  • A new user interface with dropdown menu replacing tabs
  •  One-time log-in account for activation
  • Manually add notes to an appliance or part for handy reminders
  • Create a Favourites list of appliances and parts for swift access
  • Quick access to recently viewed parts and documents
  • Copy part codes to a clipboard to paste into external documents
  • Automated feedback forms as part of the help and support available
  • Full on-screen help throughout the app

Jonathan Ralphs, Managing Director, Infomill commented on the update saying “We’re very proud of our market-leading app that continues to provide huge efficiency benefits for heating engineers nationwide. Forever wishing to keep PartsArena Pro cutting-edge, we have a highly skilled team that reviews all user feedback in addition to technological advances, to understand how we can make this invaluable app even more effective and intuitive to use. The result being that this updated version will certainly enhance service performance every single day.”

PartsArena Pro is increasingly being integrated into field service management systems to offer efficiencies at every level coupled with a better customer experience. A recent example concerned field service management company Aeromark working with Infomill and Plumb & Parts Center to deliver a brand new, fully integrated system for use by Swale Heating; a ground-breaking USP for this heating company.


Originally featured on the Field Service News website at: http://fieldservicenews.com/infomill-rolls-new-version-partsarena-pro-2600-heating-engineers/


To read more about the innovative integration between Infomill and Aeromark click here: http://www.aeromark.co.uk/news/aeromark-and-wolseley-uk-announce-successful-integration-for-aeromark-s-new-smarter-parts-solution

 

....How do you ensure that your field service technicians are completing their jobs effectively and fulfilling customers’ expectations? First, you’re going to have to identify what your customers’ expectations really are. Many businesses assume that because they know the product or service, they know best what customers need. This assumption is incredibly risky. It can lead customers to feel like they’re not valued, that their needs aren’t going to be met, and in the end selecting another company to do business with.

What can you do to better understand and meet your customers’ expectations in order to keep customers satisfied and loyal to your business?

Time Management

When a customer has a problem, they want it resolved in a timely fashion. While they understand that they’re not your only customer, what expectations are you setting in regards to their service call? Are you even setting an expectation? One of the biggest disservices to a company is customers having low or no expectations at all. When customers’ expectations are met it builds trust in the relationship with the business.

When it comes to service calls, customers feel more comfortable when provided with a time frame, even before they submit their request.

When it comes to service calls, customers feel more comfortable when provided with a time frame, even before they submit their request. Take a look at your current service calls, are you typically able to make a service call within 72 hours of their request? Can you provide with reasonable accuracy when the field service technician will arrive at their location? If customers are provided with this information, you can start to build trust even before you speak with them.

Using a resource scheduling tool will help you to better calculate, with accuracy, when technicians will be able to complete work orders, and allow you to fit more work orders into each day. Setting those time expectations with your customers can provide huge benefits to your company, because the reality is, the competition likely isn’t making them or holding to them.


Originally featured on the Field Service News website at: http://fieldservicenews.com/understanding-field-service-customers-expectations-2017-game-changer/

This article was originally published by Infomill at http://www.infomillblog.com/2016/10/20/demonstrating-the-benefits-of-ground-breaking-integration/

A recent project undertaken with a collection of leading businesses highlights just how powerful PartsArena Pro can be when it is fully integrated into a field service management system – in fact, such a move can offer substantial cost savings whilst greatly enhancing customer service.

Working closely with Aeromark, a leading field service management provider, Infomill helped to create a wholly integrated service management system from first visit to fix. In Aeromark’s case, this has been undertaken for use by Swale Heating, drawing stock from Wolseley UK.

PartsArena Pro is the leading source of approved boiler manuals and parts data for the UK heating industry. It is used by more than 20,000 service and breakdown engineers, offering significant time efficiencies and cost savings due to swift and accurate diagnosis of the parts required to fix the problem. Imagine the power of this tool when it is totally integrated into your system!

 Here’s how the Aeromark integration works for Swale Heating

  1. Swale Heating receives a job order and Smarter Parts (the name of the new integrated system) identifies the Asset and Serial Number, matching common faults with previously ordered parts for the same model.
  1. Route location is used to schedule the best engineer for the job, from their team of 280. All information is instantly sent to their mobile device.
  1. The engineer goes on site. They use PartsArena Pro to gain instant access to technical information required, viewing exploded diagrams, service and installation manuals in addition to parts lists.
  1. The replacement parts are identified – selected by clicking on a link or a diagram hotspot. This information is instantly passed back to Aeromark.
  1. Live stock levels are checked at all Wolseley UK branches in addition to the location of customer vans in the vicinity in real time.
  1. The system automatically orders the parts for either immediate collection or delivery, depending on the forecast travel time.

Significant cost savings, excellent service

It’s the combination that all businesses strive for – to achieve sustainable, long-term cost savings whilst offering excellent customer service. This example of ingenious integration will help to deliver just this for Swale Heating.

No more incorrect parts ordered. No more time-consuming manual ordering. Far fewer re-visits, which reduce profitability.

Having used a stand-alone version of PartsArena Pro since 2007, Swale Heating already considers it “essential to our daily operation, playing a huge part in us delivering great service to all of our customers.”

But with such a huge number of engineers to organise on a daily basis, the seamless integration of PartsArena Pro into the Aeromark system will take Swale Heating to the next level, offering a significant point of difference to all of its customers.

Steve Parish, CIO of Swale Heating comments: “The Plumb and Parts Center eBusiness team together with Infomill’s PartsArena Pro solution and Aeromark have worked well together to implement an efficient system which will help move our business forward significantly in a demanding market. Not only this, we can also tailor our service to the most convenient time for our customers, with limited impact on the business.”

PartsArena Pro can revolutionise your business

The sheer power of PartsArena Pro is unrivalled. Not only is it an essential working tool for 20,000 heating engineers on a daily basis, the further that it is integrated into the field service system, the greater the business benefits.

Put simply, PartsArena Pro makes your business operate more efficiently. And with that, come many advantages.

Aeromark is proud to now have a powerful solution that confidently tackles the most difficult issues faced today in field service management.

Roger Marks, MD of Aeromark explains: “This integration enables Aeromark to provide a more powerful solution to some of the biggest challenges to field service operations – getting the right parts, to the right place, in the optimum time. We are now even able to forecast delivery times for the more obscure non- stock items and optimise dynamically whether the engineer should collect or order for delivery based on daily workload and travel times”.

We’d love to chat about your service and system challenges to see if we can make your business more efficient. Please email the team at Infomill or call 01332 253170 to discuss the power of PartsArena Pro or any other data management challenge that they can help you with.

Click to visit the Infomill Website

Improving vehicle utilisation has many benefits: it can reduce mileage and maintenance, cut emissions, reduce fuel usage, boost productivity and much more.

South Yorkshire Police, for example, has made capital savings of more than £1.3 million and revenue savings of £260,000 by removing under-utilised vehicles from its fleet.

“Primarily due to budget cuts, we looked at our vehicle utilisation and we wanted to know if we needed all of the vehicles we had,” says Sarah Gilding, head of vehicle fleet management at South Yorkshire Police.

“We wanted to know if any were under-utilised and, if they were, we wanted to know if we could remove them.”

Gilding identified vehicles that were covering fewer than 5,000 miles a year by looking at mileage records.

“Quite a number had been doing below that benchmark figure so we needed to analyse each of those vehicles,” she says.

“Sometimes there are valid reasons why you should keep vehicles that have been doing low mileages: they may be critical to operations, or it could be down to how the vehicles are being used and in what areas.

“We had a lot of conversations within the force to identify which vehicles were being under-utilised and which we could remove.”

The review led to the removal of 40 vehicles, around 5% of the fleet including 12 protected personnel carrier vehicles (saving £741,600 capital costs), a horse box (worth £150,000) and observation vehicles. The fleet now has 713 vehicles.

As part of the initiative, the fleet team created a pool of specialist vehicles that can be called on when needed to fulfil operational duties.

South Yorkshire Police’s driver services division also has vehicles which are hired out across the force to further increase utilisation.

The review took place in 2013, with Gilding using mileage reports for the analysis. The force currently has a tender out for a telematics system and she says this will make future reviews simpler to carry out.

“While we can get a mileage report for each vehicle at the moment, it’s a very manual process, whereas when we get telematics we will be able to see if a vehicle is being used only on a few days a week for a few miles,” adds Gilding.

“Telematics will give us a clearer picture than we have now.”

This technology can allow a fleet manager to easily capture the necessary data to establish exactly how a fleet is being utilised and where improvements can be made, says John Wisdom, European managing director of Ctrack.

“A mileage banding report can clearly present mileage and usage data to identify where assets are being under-used,” he adds. “For example, a company may want to pinpoint how many vehicles are being driven for fewer than 100 miles per month to see if it can reduce its asset base or introduce some kind of car pool facility for low-use or occasional drivers.

“A tracking tool can also verify whether vehicles are being used for the right activity and operating in line with an organisation’s company car policy.

“In addition to this, the data can be used to see where high and low usage vehicles could be swapped to protect residual values, reduce wear and tear, and keep maintenance to a minimum.”

Using data from telematics helped West Yorkshire Police reduce its fleet size by more than 20% and cut its mileage by more than 10%.

“In 2011/2012 we did 19.67 million miles: in the past four years the use of telematics has contributed to us being able to reduce this annual mileage by more than 2.3m,” says Steve Thompson, head of transport at West Yorkshire Police.

“During the same time, we have seen an improvement in our actual vehicle fuel economy, which is now averaging 35.7mpg from the 30mpg recorded in 2012. We originally started with a fleet of 1,200; now, for the first time, we’ve dipped under 1,000 vehicles, so we are getting better utilisation out of the existing fleet, which is saving us a lot of money.”

However, while reducing the number of vehicles on a fleet can result in significant savings, any utilisation review should not be focused purely on this, says Ashley Sowerby, managing director of Chevin Fleet Solutions (click the link for more details).

“When it comes to improving fleet utilisation, the aim is not simply to reduce the number of vehicles in use, but to reduce waste around their overall use; to ensure that all the vehicles are being used to their maximum efficiency and potential,” he says. “Whether, for example, it’s ensuring that one fully-loaded lorry is sent on a trip instead of two half-loaded lorries; putting processes in place to make sure individual drivers are assigned smaller company pool cars; or even taking steps to ensure that low-emission pool vehicles are always available for use in low-emission zones, ensuring better vehicle utilisation can have a great effect in helping managers bring down the costs of their operation.”

Using telematics in a job dispatch capacity, or in conjunction with that kind of system, can also aid utilisation, says Wayne Millward, fleet consultant at Arval UK.

“Measurement of the length of time the vehicle is on the road, managing its uptime and working out whether strategies such as double-shifting can be used, all work very effectively,” he adds.

One company which has seen its productivity increase significantly since implementing a web-based planning and tracking telematics system is Kings Security Systems.

When a job comes into the company, its Aeromark system, which went live at the beginning of the year, seeks out the nearest available driver who has the right skill set to carry out the work.

“Since the implementation of the system, our customer response time has improved enormously, from 75% to 95%, increasing the number of calls we can do by 1.5 per day per engineer,” says Jacob Telemaque, the company’s fleet manager.

FOUR PILLARS OF EFFICIENT FLEET UTILISATION

1. Quantify key metrics

Before measuring your fleet’s utilisation, it’s important to make sure you are evaluating the right metrics. Ideally, you’re collecting data at vehicle level so you can spot vehicles or routes that are sending your averages up or down.

The best metrics to measure are:

  • Miles travelled
  • After-hours utilisation
  • Drive time versus on-site time versus idle time

2 Analyse job history

The only way to assess your original plan and resulting performance is to review and analyse your job history. How does the planned compare to the actual? This kind of inquiry can be hard to do without capable software because the technology pulls data right out of the field in real-time and stores it in your system for later review across all your vehicles. With this knowledge, you can make  
incremental changes that have a significant impact on fleet  
utilisation.

3 Address last-minute re-routing challenges

The inevitable but unpredictable last-minute change can throw off a company’s fleet utilisation rate. If you have days where delivery plans change by the hour, or if your service delivery is dependent on customers whose demands change, you need to secure a system for handling these changes and rerouting drivers optimally.  
Real-time routing can make or break your fleet utilisation and productivity rate.

4 Be prepared for changes  

In weather and traffic it’s wise to have your fleet utilisation to include a plan for storm response. It should also include plans for navigating around traffic or road blockage issues, so you can continue to meet customers’ needs. The key here is getting weather and traffic information up-front so your drivers do not get stuck in a jam or severe storm.

Source: Telogis

HVAC facilities are not the most noticeable assets in an organisation until something goes wrong. Then there is pressure to resolve the issue quickly and although Aeromark know it is far better to schedule preventative maintenance activities in advance, most businesses continue to operate in a reactive mode spending large amounts on repair costs.

This is false economy. Systems that are dirty not only result in significant reduction in performance and higher energy costs, but also the increased workloads on mechanical parts increase wear and tear and result in shorter component lifetimes.

There are many other problems associated with a solely reactive approach to HVAC maintenance. It’s not just about keeping the air at the right temperature, it is also about maintaining air quality for healthy ventilation which is essential for regulatory environmental conditions in commercial buildings.

Temperatures and humidity levels that fall outside the safe recommended range combined with poor cleaning regime can result in HVAC systems becoming a breeding ground for bacteria and dirt which can be detrimental to health of employees and add additional costs to staff welfare.

To prevent poor air ventilation and keep air conditioning and heating operating properly, businesses must schedule regular inspections to avoid hassle and unnecessary costs on continuous repairs and even replacement systems.

Most organisations rely on reactive maintenance because they have not budgeted for regular servicing but organisations that have implemented planned maintenance have decreased overall maintenance costs, reduce the running costs year on year.

Centre Parcs are one of the companies who have witnessed savings to their HVAC maintenance since planning regular facilities management with UK’s Leading National Refrigeration and Air Conditioning specialists – Flowrite Services LTD.

Centre Parcs Commercial, Retail and Leisure facilities have reduced asset downtime, decreased interruptions to operations and reduced energy use said Wayne Matton, Woburn Forest General Manager.

To help deliver this service efficiently, Flowrite have invested in the very latest market leading technology called ‘Optimatics’ from Aeromark, a comprehensive system that plans appointments and then optimises routes for their engineers, whilst providing increased visibility of assets, jobs and status.

By using Aeromark’s mobile app, the engineers have the right information every time, which results in greater efficiency, accurate parts ordering and better first time fix rates, even the job sheets are created in real time and are emailed as the engineer leaves the job.

Aeromark’s Service Management system has now enabled Flowrite to deliver a first class service to Centre Parcs, managing their HVAC equipment and making it possible to meet the business’ needs and customers’ expectations.

Intelligent technology like ‘Optimatics’ combined with preventative maintenance can:

  • Decrease interruptions to operations
  • Reduce Energy Use
  • Extend Equipment Life
  • Have Less Frequent Asset Downtime
  • Lower costs

All of which increases your mobile workforce efficiently, ensures you are able to manage your sub-contractors – in real time and enables you to get on with your business.

If you are seeking to build better, faster, safer store operations we can help.

Call us today on 0345 330 5757 OR Request a live demo here.

Flowrite Services tell us how their refrigeration and air conditioning service engineers are setting the standard in both repair and reactive maintenance by using Aeromark’s Optimatics technology.

Flowrite’s customers can raise a job request via the website or call centre and Optimatics will provide a full audit trail of equipment on site and the full history of when the asset was last serviced. Once the call is logged, the job will be scheduled out to the service engineer. The system keeps track of engineer’s locations and gives full visibility over job progression as engineers are working.

Optimatics priorities the job to meet SLA’s and knows what skill is required to ensure that the issue is fixed quickly and the job is allocated to the best engineer. The job details are then sent in real time to the engineer’s device with all the information they need including service history, customer information and job details.

Flowrite understand that convenience and customer service are top priorities in smooth running business operations, which is why they ensure equipment is always operational.

 

All the techies are talking about it, but what exactly is IoT?

IoT has been around for the past few years, however recently there has been more buzz around this topic. But why are service management businesses so interested in this phenomenon now?

We did it… and with your help!

15 rookie cyclists got on their bike and took the challenge of 300 miles in 4 days,from MK to Paris.

Despite steep hills, scorching temperatures, rain and little sleep, we proudly accomplished our cycling challenge!

Through our perseverance and hard work, the cycling challenge was a massive success and raised £9145.00!

Thursday, 12 May 2016 14:49

Delivering service to service providers

Effective workforce management is essential for companies offering field service who are looking to develop and grow sustainably. If you’re looking to upgrade your systems, chances are you’re also looking to adopt new processes to improve efficiency. Yet, on reaching this critical turning point within business operations, implementing new workforce strategies and software can be an extremely daunting task. In most cases it affects the entire culture of the business, which is why it’s so important to ensure that the software you opt for is provided by a company who understand these complexities.

In the current climate, all organisations need to find every possible way of reducing their running costs whilst optimising their efficiency.

Most Companies can monitor their fuel usage without investing in sophisticated technology. All they have to do is to total up the quantity of fuel they use. In most cases this can be easily achieved down to vehicle level.

The difficulty comes when you want to reduce fuel usage. The simple way is to reduce the amount of miles driven per unit of work (unnecessary mileage) and to improve the way the necessary miles are driven.

The biggest win is often the reduction of unnecessary mileage, using a combination of Vehicle Tracking, Scheduling and Optimisation, to reduce Private Mileage, idling and deviation and to select the best possible planning and routing for each job.

Aeromark offers standard reports on different driver behaviour such as speeding and start/end times. We also offer a private/business mileage switch, which reminds the driver each time the ignition is started to specify which purpose the journey is for. Idling reports are also available upon request. What is more, if you give us a list of your key locations, we can plot customer sites, depot sites and more, so that any deviation from prescribed routes can be easily spotted, too.

For another level of reporting altogether, some of our customers have invested in Smartdash, our interactive reporting suite, which gives trends on a wide variety of key performance indicators. It also allows you to drill down so you can locate and resolve any problem areas. Captured parameters include:

  • Average CO2 Emissions per journey
  • Average CO2 Emissions Per Km
  • Average Excess Speed Events
  • Average Mileage Per Journey
  • Average Speed
  • Fleet Running Cost
  • Total Excess Speed Events
  • Total Fuel Consumption
  • Total Mileage Driven
  • Total CO2 Emissions
  • Average Finish Time
  • Average Start Time
  • Average Time Worked
  • Average Journey Distance
  • Average Journey Time
  • Average Journeys
  • Time spent at Depots
  • Time Spent at Customers
  • Time spent at Unknown

For more about Smartdash and other features, just talk to us – email info@aeromark.co.uk or call 0345 330 5757.

15 rookie cyclists from leading technology organisation Aeromark take on the challenge cycling from Milton Keynes to Paris, all in aid of Willen Hospice.

We will be celebrating the return of the lunatics in Lycra at the Hollywood Glamour Ball and you and your team are invited.

The ball will be held on Friday 25th September at 7pm with a three course meal, live singers, raffle and entertainment at the David Lloyd centre in Milton Keynes.

At Aeromark, preparations are well underway for exhibiting at this year’s Service Management Expo which takes place from the 16th – 18th June at London’s Excel. SME 2015 is the perfect place for us to exhibit our innovative developments and demonstrate just how Optimatics benefits Service and FM companies.

The relationship between excellent service and forward-thinking technology is key to successful business operations. This year has already seen a change in the way service companies do business with more taking on cloud software, mobile devices and enhanced technology. At SME Aeromark will show how our unique and agile solution can add value to your business through our unmatched dedication to innovation, business processes and service delivery.

The team will be giving presentations to demonstrate Optimatics single platform solution with fully dynamic, integrated modules including service and asset management, enhanced scheduling, mobile workflow applications, GPS tracking and reporting tools. Our demonstration will follow the intricate process of a job coming into a company, being scheduled out to engineers and the ability to report and analyse all this information through accurate data; ultimately optimising productivity to increase jobs per day.

As a constantly evolving product every year we’re able to bring something new to the show. This will be Aeromark’s 6th year of exhibiting and were not short of exciting developments in our technology with numerous updates including enhanced map based scheduling, image editor for mobile workflows and smart-dash analytical tool, giving companies full management and visibility over business activity.

With only 2 months to go, we’re looking forward to meeting lots of new faces at SME 2015 and demonstrating exactly why Aeromark Optimatics is at the forefront of modern business technology with another great year at the show.

If you’re interested in learning more about Optimatics software come and visit our stand. You can book a slot with us here; or get in touch with marketing@aeromark.co.uk with any questions in the mean time.

In support of a worthwhile cause that is close to a number of hearts, the marketing department at Aeromark have decided to get involved in the 10k ‘Race for Life’.

The run will take place around Bedford’s embankment and sees countless participants putting on their game face to take on the fight against cancer by walking, running or even skipping the hefty 10k. The ‘Race for life’ is a chance for women to come together in support of each other and everyone else who has been affected by cancer, and at Aeromark we’re ready to take on the challenge.

The running gear is out and trainers are on as the girls begin preparations for the long distance ‘race’. Evenings and Saturday morning are being spent building up fitness levels as the team hope to complete the 10k within one hour.

Gemma, Sophie and Amanda will be running as the Aeromark Team and as a charity close to ours and so many other people’s hearts we’re keen to gain as much sponsorship as possible. So please dig deep and help us support this worthy cause and all those people affected by it.

To sponsor the Aeromark team, you can go to; http://www.justgiving.com/teams/aeromark

Aeromark’s service management software ‘Optimatics’ has improved business operations within leading food retail outlets Greggs and YO! Sushi.

Today it is more important than ever for food retailers to provide the level of service that consumers demand. With rising costs and increased competition, delivering brand promise has never been more difficult.

The answer lies within your assets. Effectively managing your workforce with direct or sub contractors is the answer to creating an optimal and consistent in-store experience.

Aeromark's service management software has taken the stress out of managing the workforce and sub contract companies, making it possible to meet customer expectations.

Proactive preventative maintenance and reactive break/fix need to be monitored, managed and completed within tight Service Level Agreements – whether through their own resource or as an outsourced service through Sub-contract organisations. Aeromark works with both.

Greggs, the UK’s leading bakery food-on-the-go retailer has reported productivity boost of 60% in their service supply chain as a direct result of implementing Aeromark Optimatics. In the first six months since implementation of Aeromark’s smart technology, Greggs directly employed service engineers productivity has improved from 3.5 to 5.5 completed jobs per day.

YO! Sushi, the iconic Japanese restaurant brand has reported successful deployment of Aeromark’s Smart Optimatics technology and immediate ROI (Return on Investment) in the first month following implementation.

We asked Greggs and YO! Sushi why they chose Aeromark amongst other technology providers and this is what they said:

We needed a system that managed the whole process from our assets on site through to efficient scheduling of maintenance, to mobile apps and sub-contractor performance measurement. Whilst we evaluated alternatives, Aeromark Optimatics technology, along with the company’s approach for working with customers was way ahead of the competition. Said Chris, Greggs, Shop Maintenance Manager.

The ability for Aeromark system to be configured to meet exactly what we needed in terms of keeping the restaurant equipment and facilities running smoothly, faster response times to our restaurants and complete audit trails of subcontractor performance, are the reasons why we chose Optimatics as opposed to other software on the shelf said Mike, YO! Sushi, Facilities Manager.

The wolf run fitness challenge encourages employees at Aeromark to increase fitness levels and run 10k for charity.

The Wolf Run is all about the experience of running wild and being involved in the experience. The Wolf Run is not a race; it’s a physical and mental challenge that every wolf runner tackles their own way – whether it’s running in a pack or running alone as the lone wolf!

Our Finance Administrator, Anna took part in the Wolf Run last month and raised over £300.00 for ‘Wonky Pets Rescue’ who specialise in helping animals with physical, medical or behavioural issues to get them foster homes or permanent homes.

Customer Services Manager Jody and Business Administrator Rebecca have also agreed to take the challenge in June on behalf of local charity Keech Hospice, to help with the care and support of adults and children across Bedfordshire, Hertforshire and Milton Keynes.

I’m looking forward to the Wolf Run challenging me to my limits, in order for me to help patients who are unable to do things. Said Jody.

If I can make one child’s life slightly more bearable in an unthinkable situation I would do 100 wolf runs. Said Rebecca.

For anyone wishing to make a donation to Keech Hospice and support Jody and Rebecca, please give generously at:

Aeromark’s service management software ‘Optimatics’ has improved many large and varied businesses across the UK in sectors such as Facilities Management, HVAC, Domestic Gas, ICT Services, maintenance, installation, transport & logistics enabling them to increase productivity and optimise efficiency.

Over the past year, Aeromark has seen a rise in demand for service management within the food retail service supply chain. Is this any surprise when modern technology has changed the way retailers do business? The issue is not whetnher to deploy technology but what technology to deploy?

Within their competitive market it’s important for retailers to stay one step ahead of the competition. Every asset within a supermarket, outlet or restaurant contributes to ongoing revenues, productivity and efficiency of operation, which is why every asset needs to be managed in order to achieve maximum productivity.

Proactive preventative maintenance and reactive break/fix need to be monitored, managed and completed within tight Service Levels – whether through their own resource or as an outsourced service through Sub-contract organisations. Aeromark works with both.

For some food retailers this can be in-store facilities such as catering equipment, refrigeration equipment, lighting, heating, air conditioning, plumbing, electrics. For others it is Facilities issues such as leaks, glass or structural damage.

Aeromark's service management solution has now taken the stress out of managing the workforce and sub-contract companies, making it possible to meet your business’ and customers’ expectations.

Aeromark listen to your business needs and implement a service and asset management system based around your requirements.

Intelligent technology like ‘Optimatics’ can:

  • Auto-log issues with smartphone and tablet based apps
  • Identify asset with tagging technology
  • Manage and update task status through web based portals
  • Allocate appropriate resource to appropriate tasks
  • Manage preventative and planned maintenance schedules
  • Ensure all tasks at store locations are completed
  • Get real-time updates from the field
  • Put you in control of your asset and maintenance functions

All of which increases your mobile workforce efficiently, ensures you are able to manage your sub-contractors – in real time and enables you to get on with your business rather than worry about theirs.

If you are seeking to build better, faster, safer store operations we can help. Click here to find out how we helped Greggs and YoSushi.

 

Aeromark’s service management solution helps businesses improve their green credentials by simplifying processes to ensure their service delivery is as efficient as possible.

Comprised of call centre software; warranty and contract management; planned and reactive maintenance programmes; job scheduling software; GPS vehicle tracking; PDA workflows; reporting and analysis modules, Aeromark’s solution reduces the environmental impact of any field based workforce.

An effective service management solution will give you full visibility of your field based operations allowing you to minimise downtime and increase efficiency. As a result your business will:

  • Reduce mileage between jobs by optimising route planning
  • Reduce idling by monitoring driver behaviour
  • Reduce fuel consumption by reducing unnecessary travel and idling
  • Minimise CO2 emissions
  • Reduce the volume of replacement vehicle parts sent to landfill
  • Eliminate paperwork by replacing them with electronic forms

As well as the environmental savings, your business will also increase productivity, reduce duplication of work and unnecessary administration maximising the profitability of every job your field based staff complete.

Your customers will benefit from quicker response times, improved communication and more efficient service, improving customer retention and driving new opportunities via word of mouth.

If you’re interested in transforming your business into an environmentally responsible organisation or you want to know more about service management software please contact us on 0345 330 5757 or email info@aeromark.co.uk

As businesses are squeezed from every angle leaders are looking for ways to tighten up their business processes and minimise the operational costs associated with service delivery. Mobile Workforce Management Systems are essential to any business in optimising efficiency and maximising the profit margin at every stage of the service delivery process.

Regardless of whether you are looking to make the move to a Mobile Workforce Management System or debating an upgrade for your existing solution, there are a number of key points you should consider.

Here’s our top 10 list:

  1. Modular or Point Solution?
  2. Future-proofing
  3. Optimising Job Scheduling
  4. Mobile Apps & Workflow Optimisation
  5. Minimising Repeat Visits
  6. Real-time Communication & Visibility
  7. Hosting
  8. Professional Services Charges
  9. Upgrades and Development
  10. Reporting and Analysis
  1. Modular or Point Solution?

    • Many businesses have implemented mobile workforce management systems in the past that provide a point solution to address specific challenges. Whilst the tactical point solution approach may well improve an element of the service delivery function, chances are that there will be efficiency leaks in many other areas of the business. Areas of the business that interface with and are a key part of the extended service delivery process, that are overlooked during the scoping of the project, are not and cannot be addressed by a point solution. These gaps are typically filled with extensive use of spreadsheets and the like.
    • Think strategically when replacing aging systems. Deploying a modular mobile workforce management solution with a supplier that looks at the entire service delivery process throughout the whole business will eradicate efficiency leaks that would otherwise have been overlooked by taking a point solution approach. Look for a supplier that will assess your end-to-end business operations and will make recommendations on process improvements that are supported by individual modules. Ensure your supplier has an open approach to integration to ensure you can integrate with any existing systems that are too well established to replace.
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  2. Future-proofing

    • When you begin your search for a mobile workforce management system consider both your current and future requirements. Whilst you may need limited functionality to start with, chances are you will need to expand the solution to meet your future requirements.
    • Finding a system that offers a strategic roadmap for your business in the early stages will save you time and money in the long run. The last thing you need is to implement a system that meets your current requirements, but will need replacing in 12 months.
    • Modular systems offer the greatest flexibility as they are designed to allow you to adopt components at your own pace and in line with your business requirements. So whilst your business might need limited scheduling functionality now it is worth investing in a system that can offer additional functionality in the future.
    • However, you don’t want to pay for a system and only use 10% of it’s functionality, so look for a supplier that will charge you for what you need and agree a defined pricing strategy for the additional modules and features.
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  3. Optimising Job Scheduling

    • Many companies look to deploy a mobile workforce management system to make their field workers more efficient, enabling them to carry out an increasing number of jobs per day, at a lower cost. However, this often falls down when the decision on job allocation and task prioritisation is left to the customer service team who don’t have the specialist knowledge required to ensure they select the most efficient and cost effective option for the business.
    • Large savings can be made by ensuring your workforce carry out service requests in the optimum order, but more often than not, these aren’t maximised due to poor decision making on behalf of the customer service team. Consider looking for a system that supports the customer service team’s decision making process, allowing them to schedule the appointments based on their perceived best approach and then providing the option to optimise the routes and schedules based on more accurate information.
    • Some system providers also offer the option to deploy a fully automated dynamic scheduling solution, removing the need for the customer service team to physically schedule appointments. Care should be taken to avoid trying to fit your business into a standard automatic scheduling system, which doesn’t consider all the “What ifs” that are commonplace for most businesses.
    • The best approach with the lowest risk is to work from the bottom up. Provide enhanced tools for the planners to improve efficiency and then the supplier can add layers of intelligence based on your business processes that deal with the “What ifs” until a point is reached that the system can be run with minimum intervention.
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  4. Mobile Apps & Workflow Optimisation

    • Mobile workforce management systems can help your workforce to achieve more each day by eliminating the need for unnecessary paperwork. By replacing paper forms with mobile applications and workflows on a mobile device you will not only make your workforce more efficient but your business will also ensure no information is missed and that the associated time and cost of manual data entry of these paper forms is eliminated. Not to mention the cost savings associated with the time required to rectify errors due to incorrect transcription or lost paperwork.
    • In order to minimise the volume of administration and data entry it is important to find a mobile workforce management system that supports real-time mobile device data capture to eliminate the need for forms to be filled out by hand in the field. The information captured then needs to be automatically uploaded to the mobile workforce management system to deliver the information back to the office in real-time. This could include re-ordering of parts used, signatures for work completed, pictures of faulty assets and so on.
    • You should also consider whether the system will support the import and export of data between your different systems. Once you’ve captured a signature on site and completed a job, how will the finance team know to raise an invoice if it’s for chargeable work? If a part is used, how will the stores know to re-order that part to prevent it being out of stock for the next requirement?
    • It is important to take a top level view of mobile workforce management within the business and to identify all of the systems and departments that the team interfaces with to ensure your system can support the transfer of data where required. Some system providers will even help you to do this, sharing the knowledge they have gained from deploying solutions to similar companies to yours.
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  5. Minimising Repeat Visits

    • In order to minimise repeat visits it is vital that in addition to knowing the location or the service or repair, the customer service operative also knows exactly what asset needs attention, the type of repair or service to be carried out, and the parts required. Without this knowledge the customer service operative may schedule an engineer to arrive on site without the necessary parts or without the knowledge to carry out the repair. This leads to costly and preventable repeat visits and a poor customer experience.
    • Look for a system that enables the customer service team to schedule the engineer with the correct experience and the right parts on their vehicle for each service request. Ensure that the mobile apps and workflows prompt the engineer to check the asset ID when on site and to capture the parts used. I, ideally this will automatically update the parts management module within the mobile workforce management system. Get it right first time and your operating costs per call out will be drastically reduced.
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  6. Real-time Communication & Visibility

    • Real-time communication and visibility is vital to the efficiency of your business and the satisfaction of your customers. Mobile workforce management systems that incorporate mobile applications allow you to speed up data transfer and job closure processes, increase efficiency and reduce the communication costs associated with chasing engineers for updates. But make sure the mobile app works fully off line when network coverage is unavailable without any user self-management.
    • By implementing a system that enables both internal and external resources to access real-time information you could eliminate the need for time consuming calls throughout the working day. Remove the need for internal staff to call mobile workers to allocate work, chase location information and check job progress and you can significantly reduce your communication costs.
    • Improving the visibility of business activities allows you to change the nature of your communication with customers from reactive to proactive, tighten up service windows and keep control of customer service level agreements. Communication is the key to customer satisfaction and by utilising the real-time information your mobile workforce management system captures to provide immediate feedback to customers and mobile workers your service levels will improve resulting in new opportunities.
    • There are a number of ways to provide your engineers with remote access to your mobile workforce management system. These include mobile access from a web browser, which requires constant good network connection through semi-offline HTML5 apps, to fully functioning off-line mobile workflow apps that continue to work even when they are out of network coverage. Whilst it may cost a bit more, wherever possible look for the fully functioning off-line mobile apps as the quality and timeliness of the data will be far better and will result in greater visibility and resulting productivity.
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  7. Hosting

    • It is important to consider where and how your system will be hosted. There are three main options:
      • Onsite hosting
      • Cloud based hosting
      • Software as a Service (SaaS)
    • Onsite hosting of mobile workforce management systems may give you the reassurance that your system is housed ‘under your own roof’, however it is often complex, expensive and costly to support and upgrade. The key things to think about if you are considering onsite hosting are whether your IT team has the time to monitor and manage the hosting. How will any updates be administered? Who will be responsible for taking regular backups and adding any security updates that are required? Who will put a robust disaster recovery plan into place and who will manage that if something goes wrong? Chances are that your IT team won’t have the time and if there is a problem with your onsite hosting or a critical system failure your whole mobile workforce management team will grind to a halt.
    • Cloud based hosting may be simpler and more cost effective but still needs someone to manage any security updates, system updates and a disaster recovery plan. The only real difference between cloud based and onsite hosting is that often your cloud hosting provider will provide added resilience via the provision of additional data centres that will guarantee extremely high levels of service and minimal downtime.
    • Software as a Service (SaaS) however, is becoming the accepted norm and provides a fully managed and hosted mobile workforce management system where every customer uses the same software and the same shared hosting. Customers’ differing requirements are catered for by configuration of the mobile workforce management system which means that their system can be upgraded seamlessly in the future. This differs from bespoke software that has been written specifically for the end user and is an important point to consider.
    • SaaS is normally sold on a different model to the old “upfront + maintenance” pricing of legacy systems and you should expect to pay per user or per enterprise on a monthly basis.
    • The SaaS system will be upgraded seamlessly to ensure that you are always operating on the latest version. SaaS platforms will be designed to cope with high bandwidth as they are generally serving many organisations with varying levels of usage and will provide dependable availability. The SaaS mobile workforce management system provider will manage all of the security and system updates and regular backups and will have a robust disaster recovery plan to ensure business continuity for its customers. In summary, SaaS takes the headache of managing your hosting and upgrades away.
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  8. Professional Services Charges

    • Unforecasted professional services charges can often be the cause of systems becoming unfit for purpose, especially if you’re working with a number of different systems throughout your service delivery process. A single change to your business processes could cost you extensively if each system provider charges for changes.
    • A sure fire way of avoiding multiple professional services charges is to implement a single platform SaaS solution where the cost of change is included. However if you have to use multiple systems be clear about the changes that are included in your contract and those that aren’t before making a decision that could potentially hinder the future development of your business. Ensure you know what the costs are for additional changes you may require in the future. Typical ‘hidden’ charges include:
      • Module upgrades – to benefit from new functionality
      • Changes to your configuration of the system such as:
        • field names
        • drop down menu categories
        • layouts for new mobile devices
      • Creation of additional workflows/data capture screens for your hand held devices
      • Additional licenses for internal and external users
      • Early termination of contracts
    • Be clear on what is and what isn’t included and you’ll ensure you avoid any nasty surprises in the future.
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  9. Upgrades and Development

    • Historically when a business purchased a system it would remain the same throughout the term of your contract. Whilst this offers continuity, the trade off is that your business doesn’t benefit from future advancements in technology and as business processes look to change, inflexible systems start to act as a costly barrier.
    • To ensure that you get the greatest return from your mobile workforce management system, you should look for a supplier that provides an agile solution that offers future development to its customers at no additional cost. Consider moving to a Software as a Service (SaaS) style system that guarantees your business will always be operating on the latest version.
    • Your business evolves over time and your mobile workforce management system needs to evolve alongside it.
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  10. Reporting and Analysis

    • So you have decided to implement a mobile workforce management system and you understand that the system will deliver positive results in terms of improved efficiency and reduced costs. However, the system should also provide you with detailed analysis of where the efficiencies and savings were made as well as information to help you drive further improvements.
    • Look for a provider who pulls all the information gathered from individual modules into a central reporting and analysis dashboard. Utilising multiple data feeds will result in more accurate and reliable information on your business performance.
    • Interpretation of your business data is what will drive the greatest improvements, so rather than choosing a system that offers you reporting tools alone, choose a system that goes that extra mile and offers graphical analysis of your data in an easy to understand dashboard. The dashboard solution will enable your management team to see instantly how your business is performing long term, identify any trends and highlight areas for further improvement. Having quick access to your business data enables a more dynamic and timely approach to effective decision making throughout your organisation.
    • Some systems allow you to drill down into the analysis from a general business view to regions and individuals, select specific date ranges and set your own targets. By identifying underperformance, tackling retraining and changing business processes you could generate a bigger return on your investment than you ever imagined.
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In Summary

Learn from the mistakes of others, make sure you do your research and take time to look at all your options. Spend time making sure you have considered both your current and future requirements before choosing your next system and hopefully you’ll be rewarded with a system and a mobile workforce management partner who will be with you for life.

We’re excited to introduce our new branding to coincide with our latest version of Optimatics release. Following careful review we have simplified our Optimatics software offering into four modules; Service & Asset Management; Workforce Scheduling; Mobile Apps and GPS Tracking.

Aeromark has been developing service management solutions for over 20 years and since that time the technology and our services have evolved significantly. Following a series of workshops we concluded that we needed to refresh the brand and we also wanted to make it easier for you to find the information you need regarding our Optimatics software. We hope that you’ll agree that the information is much easier to navigate and digest and we hope that you’ll come back regularly to read the new content that we’re adding all the time.

Our commitment to continuous improvement enables us to deliver the very latest advancements in technology and we wanted our new logo and brand to reflect our approach to business.

If you who would like to know more about Optimatics, meet OPTi. OPTi represents over ten years of research and development in mobile workforce management technology. OPTi, or Optimatics as he’s more formally known, is the most reliable, agile and well-rounded mobile workforce management specialist in the market. Let us show you what OPTi can do by clicking here!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support and to reassure you that the rebrand will not affect your service in any way. We look forward to delivering your services under the new branding.

Most businesses are looking for ways to reduce the impact they are having on the environment and whether the reasoning behind this is to save money, to appease shareholders or to meet contractual requirements from customers, knowing where to start can often be daunting.

If you are part of a service organisation with remote workers such as engineers then chances are you could realise substantial reductions in your carbon footprint by deploying a mobile workforce management solution. Aeromark’s Optimatics helps businesses to improve their green credentials and to save money by simplifying processes to ensure their service delivery is as efficient as possible.

Optimatics service management solution includes four individual modules: Service & Asset Management, Workforce Scheduling, Mobile Apps and GPS Tracking. The modules can be used independently or seamlessly integrated together and Optimatics powerful reporting and analysis dashboard enables you to quickly and easily identify areas where efficiency and carbon footprint improvements can be made.

Optimatics will give you full visibility of your field based personnel allowing you to minimise downtime and increase efficiency. As a result your business will be able to:

  • reduce mileage between jobs by optimising route planning
  • reduce idling time by monitoring driver behaviour
  • reduce fuel consumption by setting and then monitoring more fuel efficient speed limits for drivers
  • monitor vehicle location and date and time of usage reducing unauthorised or unnecessary travel and idling
  • minimise CO2 emissions through reduced fuel consumption
  • reduce the volume of replacement vehicle parts sent to landfill
  • eliminate paperwork by replacing paper with mobile apps

As well as the environmental savings, your business will also increase productivity, reduce duplication of work and unnecessary administration maximising the profitability of every job your field based staff complete.

Your customers will benefit from quicker response times, improved communication and more efficient service, improving customer retention and driving new opportunities via word of mouth.

To find out how your business could become more environmentally responsible and save money at the same time please contact us on 0345 330 5757 or email info@aeromark.co.uk

Aeromark have been working with a number of businesses in and around Milton Keynes this year, so when it came to selecting a charity to receive our annual Christmas donation we decided to look a little closer to home.

Ride High is a registered charity based in Milton Keynes. They aim to help disadvantaged children and children experiencing difficulties in their daily lives by giving them the opportunity to learn to ride and look after horses and ponies.

Ride High

There is evidence that for children who are angry, hurt, upset, lonely or underprivileged, contact with horses can have highly beneficial effects. Children who exhibit antisocial behaviour in their daily lives often find that riding provides an absorbing new challenge which can take the place of disruptive activities and for others it builds confidence and self esteem.

Ride High charity hopes that by intervening early the children who participate will have positive experiences to draw on to help them deal with difficult situations. By investing this time in the children they will become more attuned to the opportunities ahead and go on to make a positive contribution to the world around them.

To read more about Ride High, to make a donation, to volunteer or to get involved in a fundraising event please visit http://www.ridehigh.org

Download an introduction to Ride High here

Many employers these days have to manage a large mobile workforce, typical industry sectors include installation, servicing, maintenance, construction and logistics. For companies employing more than a handful of field based staff, it can quickly become a logistical nightmare to work out how to best use the resources at your disposal.

Optimatics Scheduling Screenshot

Allocating the best mobile worker to a job and accurately scheduling start, finish and travel times can significantly increase your business efficiency and also improve your overall customer experience.

Aeromark scheduling software can assist with both planned and reactive jobs, allowing you to manage field based teams throughout many different scenarios. Consider the following potential benefits of job scheduling software:

  1. Simple Drag and Drop to Fully Optimised Dynamic Scheduling – Your requirements will depend on the size of your business and the complexity of the tasks your resources are carrying out. Each level of Aeromark job scheduling software will have its own set of benefits and we offer you an upgrade path for the future which will save you time and money.
  2. Locate the Best Worker for a Job – Jobs can be allocated to field based resources based on location, time required to complete the job, parts available and the resources skill set. Aeromark’s dynamic scheduling software will also suggest the best resources for any unallocated jobs, or even suggest best unallocated jobs for a selected resource resulting in greater efficiencies.
  3. Improve Customer Service – View the status of all your resources at any given time. See instantly if there are jobs in danger of missing vital service level agreements or if a job has overrun and is likely to affect other customers; our scheduling software gives you the opportunity to reschedule in order to achieve the highest possible service levels for your customers. Pro-actively manage customer expectations throughout the life-cycle of the job and communicate accurate information at all times. Future planning can be made more effective by learning from historic company data to further improve customer service.
  4. Cost Effective Job Completion – Aeromark scheduling software enables efficient allocation of jobs for your resources and reduces unnecessary waste. Your business benefits from a reduction in mileage, fuel, CO2, vehicle wear and tear, repeat call outs and overtime.
  5. Always Optimising – As events change throughout the day and emergency jobs are raised our dynamic job scheduling software updates your priorities and reschedules your resources to make maximum use of their skills and time. As a result your business becomes more efficient, response times improve and invoicing speeds up.
  6. Scalable Solution – Job scheduling software is often combined with GPS vehicle tracking and PDA workflow software to get a more accurate picture of your mobile workforce and business activities. A scalable solution will help your business to grow at your own pace and offer ongoing benefits. It’s important that our team work extremely closely with you in order to perfectly align the solution with your requirements and to offer a road map for future growth. By choosing your partner wisely you should never have to replace the solution, further reducing the lifetime cost of ownership.
  7. Web Based – Our scheduling software is web based, allowing instant fully visible access to your resources from anywhere. Web based software also requires only minimum involvement from your IT department to set up and is more cost effective than traditional solutions.

There are clear compelling benefits for deploying job scheduling software if you employ a mobile workforce. Massive flexibility and a true real-time picture of your company performance will enable you to effectively manage customer expectations and service delivery. Integrate with GPS tracking increase both the functionality and accuracy, while web-based systems can be upgraded seamlessly and are accessible from anywhere.

Aeromark are a leading UK provider of comprehensive job scheduling software and agile service management systems for optimising mobile workforce management.

For a more extensive look at the benefits of job scheduling software and to see the latest developments in action you can book a short 30 minute online demonstration by contacting us on 01234 227701, emailing info@aeromark.co.uk or completing our online demo request form.

Monday, 12 March 2012 09:50

AutoRestore Service Management Project

We recently announced that our Innovative Project of the Year Award 2011 was presented to AutoRestore®. In this article we explain more about the project and how AutoRestore have been using Aeromark Optimatics to improve their service management.

Northamptonshire based AutoRestore®, which is the UK’s leading mobile accident repair company, employs 150 Technicians who repair minor damage to vehicles in less than 1 day at customers’ homes or workplaces throughout the UK. A sister company to Autoglass, AutoRestore® originally deployed Aeromark Optimatics vehicle tracking to measure activity in the field and this year upgraded to Aeromark’s planning, scheduling and PDA workflow solutions.

Project Challenge

For AutoRestore®, the scheduling of repairs is extremely complex. Co-ordinating tasks such as arranging a timeslot around the customers’ requirement, organising any parts, checking the suitability of the customer’s chosen location and getting the closest Technician there at the right time make the end-to-end process a challenging one to manage.

In order to improve AutoRestore’s scheduling efficiency, each one of the variable elements above needed to become visible and integrated into a single solution.

Three years ago AutoRestore® installed Aeromark’s Optimatics vehicle tracking. Initially the system was used to record the time on site for each type of repair and provided reliable statistics to enable better forecasting of the duration of a certain type of repair and travel time required between jobs.

However, whilst forecasting can improve the start point, the actual time taken to complete the repair is often not known until the Technician arrives on site and inspects the damage in detail. This variation means that the scheduling of subsequent repairs requires a dynamic approach.

This year AutoRestore® added Aeromark’s scheduling and PDA workflow modules to their solution which provides dynamic planning of their workloads and is updated in real-time from two separate sources. Firstly the tracking system in the vehicle reports on the usage of the generator, providing real-time progress of the repair and secondly, the intuitive PDA controls the workflow which includes photographic documentation at each stage of the repair. Both sources feed back into the planning solution to provide improved predictability of capacity, therefore resulting in increased productivity.

Patrick Dignan, customer experience director at AutoRestore® commented We are delighted to accept this award from Aeromark. Our business is all about utilisation, which means that visibility and productivity are vital, so the move to Aeromark’s scheduling and PDA workflow modules was the next logical step for us in terms of enhancing our business processes and service delivery. Having compared the performance of separate suppliers for scheduling and tracking tasks to a single integrated solution, we believe that our partnership with Aeromark will give us a significant edge in a technology hungry automotive insurance market as well as supporting our world class service benchmarks.

Monday, 16 January 2012 11:55

On Your Bike with GPS Tracking

Each year a number of UK businesses take part in dedicated events in order to raise funds for a variety of charities all over the world.

In November Helen Pegg, Health and Safety Advisor UK & Ireland at Genus Breeding cycled 250 miles in 5 days across the Rift Valley in Kenya to raise money for Women v Cancer. Raising over £3,250 and blowing her initial target of £2,800 out of the water.

Helen’s fund raising is part of a much bigger challenge including 76 women who have raised £275,000 as a group. £45,000 is being donated to Faraja Cancer Support, a Kenyan cancer charity and the remaining funds are to be shared between Breast Cancer Care, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and Ovarian Cancer Action.

Five groups of women have taken up the challenge and Helen was part of the third group. The final two groups are completing their cycle in February 2012 and it is projected that the five groups will raise a staggering £1.3 million.

On her return to the UK Helen told us It was an amazing, hard, challenging and emotional experience. I am just pleased to report no injuries!

The next Women v Cancer ride is in India in 2012, with Cuba planned as the destination for 2013. For more details visit the Action for Charity website http://www.actionforcharity.co.uk/.

African ChildrenYou can still show your support for Helen and the other ladies who recently cycled the Rift Valley in Kenya by donating via http://www.justgiving.com/Helen-Pegg.

Back in September, 13 cyclists from Field Link customer, Kier completed a 355 mile cycle challenge from Swanley, in Kent to Cherbourg over 5 days and raised £2000 for Clarity Welfare.

Ex England and Northampton Saints rugby player, Jon Sleightholme led a team of 13 cyclists during an 8 day, 1,000 mile plus marathon to Northampton’s Twin Towns in France and Germany as they raised funds for Autism Concern.

Keen to support UK businesses with their charity events Aeromark developed a specialist GPS tracking device for use on charity cycle rides. The GPS tracking device is designed to sit snugly under the saddle of a bike taking part in such events. Location information can regularly be taken from the device and displayed on the internet in order for families, sponsors and supporters to monitor progress.

By providing round the clock visibility of your fund raising efforts and charity events using the latest GPS tracking technology, you can increase interest and as a result increase donations.

Aeromark marketing manager, Caroline Russon commented To date, Aeromark have monitored approximately 10,000 miles using our specialist GPS bike tracker and helped UK businesses raise over £20,000 worth of funds for worthy causes.

For anyone organising similar charity cycle rides and looking to get your supporters involved in the event as it happens contact Aeromark to discuss utilising our specialist GPS tracking device by calling 0845 330 5757 or emailing info@aeromark.co.uk.

Aeromark are pleased to announce the winner of our Innovative Project of the Year Award 2011.

Back in June this year we announced that Aeromark would be reviewing the customer projects of 2011 and recognising companies that were driving new developments using our technology. The award aims to highlight businesses that are embracing technology in order to drive efficiencies at a time when efficiency is a top priority for many business owners.

Nominees

Five companies were nominated for their individual projects throughout 2011 during the search for Innovative Project of the Year, all from very different industry sectors. These companies represent the most dedicated and forward thinking operations teams Aeromark have had the pleasure of working with during the last 12 months.

And the Winner is…

We are proud to announce that our Innovative Project of the Year Award 2011 goes to AutoRestore®.

Northamptonshire based AutoRestore®, which is the UK’s leading mobile accident repair company, employs 150 Technicians who repair minor damage to vehicles in less than 1 day at customers’ homes or workplaces throughout the UK. A sister company to Autoglass, AutoRestore® originally deployed Aeromark Optimatics vehicle tracking to measure activity in the field and this year upgraded to Aeromark’s planning, scheduling and PDA workflow solutions.

Roger Marks managing director of Aeromark said AutoRestore is an innovative business, always prepared to look at ways to improve. They recognised the value of investing in a partner who could offer an integrated solution and could implement the technology in line with their needs. This project is about the staged implementation of our technology to drive efficiencies in scheduling which will continue into 2012, bringing significant ongoing benefits to the business and a reduction in costs.

Patrick Dignan, customer experience director at AutoRestore® commented We are delighted to accept this award from Aeromark. Our business is all about utilisation, which means that visibility and productivity are vital, so the move to Aeromark’s scheduling and PDA workflow modules was the next logical step for us in terms of enhancing our business processes and service delivery. Having compared the performance of separate suppliers for scheduling and tracking tasks to a single integrated solution, we believe that our partnership with Aeromark will give us a significant edge in a technology hungry automotive insurance market as well as supporting our world class service benchmarks.

Look out for full details of the AutoRestore® project and further comments from Patrick Dignan coming soon