Web based operations management system delivers business transformation to Emergency Response building contractors

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Response Maintenance and Building Services, a Wolverhampton based provider of emergency response building services to local authorities, housing associations and insurance groups, has engaged Impact Applications, provider of zero-client e-business and mobile solutions, to design, develop and implement a first-of-a-kind, fully integrated and web-based operations management system. The system sits at the core of a 100,000 business-wide re-engineering process that is transforming the productivity, customer service and profitability of Response Maintenances business.

The Impact:Response solution provides end-to-end management of Response Maintenances key business processes, delivering client management, stock control, estimating and scheduling, health & safety, job management, and invoicing through a web-based application accessible from the office, at home and on-the-road.

The system is unique in its class due to the zero-client, web based environment in which it was developed, which for the first time takes true advantage of always-on networks and real time communication.

Martin Taylor, managing director of Impact Applications, explains, Businesses are increasingly demanding mobile solutions that can be easily deployed to deliver real time communication with field based staff. Yet, this real time communication between the mobile device and head office requires a new software model. Using always-on networks, there is no longer a need for thin client solutions that offer intermittent communication and demand costly deployment and upgrade of the mobile devices.

Rugged handheld PDAs provide Response Maintenances 36 service engineers with real time, remote access to the system, and customers can view filtered data via an integrated website. The system, which is currently in the fourth phase of development, has so far delivered bottom-line savings through reducing administrative overheads, maximising stock control and reducing engineer downtime. It also facilitates ground-breaking customer service with real-time information about job progress and integration options with customers own back office systems. Since phase one went live 18 months ago, Impact:Response has underpinned Response Maintenances business transformation, doubling the companys profitability and providing a return on investment within 12 months.

Phase four, which is due to go live in early 2005, will provide Response Maintenances field engineers with the ability to take digital photography in the field for insurance assessment purposes, as well as further enhance the companys customer service function by sending SMS alerts to customers when field engineers are on route to a job with names, contact details and the estimated arrival time.

Response Maintenance approached Impact Applications three years ago, further to a recommendation by the local Business Link IT advisor. Response Maintenance was looking for a single, integrated system that would enable it to respond faster to emergency customer calls, improve the productivity of service engineers, and better manage the availability of stock and materials.

Andrew Cornaby, managing director of Response Maintenance & Building Services, explains, As an organisation, we were struggling with the complexities of having four different IT systems for different - yet integrated business processes. We had a complex paper trail, forcing us to manually duplicate data entries - a scenario which was creating inefficiencies and error within the business that we could ill afford.

After a thorough investigation of solutions available on the market, Response Maintenance chose to work with Impact Applications because they were the only supplier able to meet Response Maintenances specific objectives without requiring a significant amount of system or business process re-engineering and cost. Furthermore, Impact Applications was the only organisation who demonstrated a true understanding of Response Maintenances business objectives and their ability to interpret those to develop an intuitive, flexible and future-proof system that would meet business requirements now and moving forwards.

Andrew Cornaby continued, Impact:Response is incredibly low cost, easy maintenance and delivers real time communications. Furthermore, the system is so easy to use that my field engineers - one of whom cannot even programme his own video player - have wholly bought into the solution.

He concludes, We are a rapid response business so having a back office system which allows us to offer industry-leading response times is crucial. The solution from Impact:applications not only enhances our unique selling points, but will also save us thousands through more effective stock control and improved buying power. The close working relationship we have developed with Impact has been crucial in delivering an effective system which met our expectations and even raised our game a little.

The system is providing us with a critical five, ten or fifteen minute head start which is resulting in significant competitive advantage and financial benefit. It fundamentally underpins our entire way of doing business today and moving forwards.

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