BigChange Transforms Ficep’s Steel Industry Maintenance Engineers

BigChange Ficep employee holds tablet

Ficep, the supplier of structural steel and plate fabrication equipment, has deployed the latest mobile technology as part of a real-time management system that has transformed customer service.

Supplied by Leeds-based BigChange, the cloud-based mobile resource management system sees Ficep field services engineers equipped with tablets that synchronise in real time with central systems as part of a completely paperless system.

First established in Italy in 1930 and celebrating 20 years in the UK this year, Ficep manufactures machine tools for the metalworking industry. The construction industry worldwide relies on steel work made to measure and fit using Ficep’s equipment. With UK headquarters at Europort Wakefield in West Yorkshire, Ficep has a team of engineers installing and maintaining machinery across the UK and Scandinavia.

Richard Clark, UK Service Manager at Ficep UK Ltd comments:

“Our steel fabricating machinery plays a key part in preparing steel for construction and keeping the equipment in optimum working condition with minimal downtime is crucial. We have been improving our engineering support services to support an increasing number of installations and the introduction of BigChange has completely transformed our customer service,”

Previously Ficep engineers filled out paper services sheets and other forms by hand which were then sent to the office for processing and actioning, such as the ordering of parts, the production of quotes and issuing of invoices. This paperwork and administrative work was becoming untenable as the demand for Ficep equipment grew and the company decided to look at the best way to switch to digital working.

Clark explains:

“Previously it could take 2 or 3 weeks to get a quote out to a customer; now we achieve that within 24 hours. It’s the same for invoices and with electronic sign offs from customers onsite we can invoice almost immediately. As a result there has been a much better and quicker conversion rate of quote to order and queries on invoices have virtually disappeared,”

BigChange gives Ficep customer service teams and management up-to-the-minute visibility of every service job. Engineer movements are continually tracked and displayed on maps and this will allow automatic estimated time of arrival notifications to be sent to customers, so they know exactly when an engineer is about to arrive.

Ficep’s engineers receive their jobs on their tablets which provide navigation to site and allow access to all documentation, with workflows ensuring proper procedures are followed and information reported from site. The devices are used to take photographs which are, together with time and GPS location, matched to service sheets for the job. This provides an accurate and indisputable record of work done.

“The tablets have really revolutionised the way we work giving engineers instant access to the information they need,”

says Clark.

Clark continued:

“We now have service sheets customised for each machine that identifies the correct parts and even gives the engineer a complete history of previous service work and parts used. It really helps them do a good job every time and helps ensure machine downtime is minimised. Customers have been markedly impressed with the system and the information it provides.”

As well as the benefits to the field engineering services, Ficep has reported significant time savings back at the office.

“By eliminating paperwork we are saving about 20 hours a week in administration time and as managers we spend much less time sorting out customer and service issues as we have all the information we need at our fingertips 24/7; no longer do we need to track back into paper records or call an engineer to ask about a job,”

says Clark.

Clark concludes:

“The support from BigChange is fantastic,”

“There is always someone ready to answer our questions over the phone and when they say they’ll call back, they do, and we never have to wait.”

BigChange Ficep work

Thetford International Disposes of Paper with BigChange Tech

BigChange Thetford employee holding tablet

Thetford International has deployed a mobile service management system equipping field service engineers with tablets connected in real-time to central management systems.

The cloud-based system from BigChange has allowed the Norfolk-based manufacturer of waste compactors to switch to paperless working to improve efficiency, productivity and customer service.

Established for 50 years, Thetford International is a founder member of CHEM, the Container Handling Equipment Manufacturers Association. The company has become a market leader in the design and manufacture of all types of compaction equipment, supplying to a diversity of sectors, from the print industry and supermarkets to industrial complexes, recycling centres and refuse transfer stations.

Thetford uses JobWatch, the BigChange solution for managing mobile service operations using live-connected mobile devices running a multi-functional app to replace all paperwork, integrated with vehicle tracking to monitor the fleet and drivers. As well as replacing nine A4 carbon-copy installation and service forms, the JobWatch 5 in 1 app is also used for engineer time sheets, risk assessments, driver vehicle checks and the management of parts.

Thetford carries out routine maintenance of compactors but the majority of work is reactive and requires a fast response due to the safety concerns of potentially dangerous equipment. Job details are sent to the assigned engineer to complete with JobWatch managing the entire process from start to job completion.

Andrew Goddard, Service Manager, Thetford International, says:

“We had been on the lookout for a suitable system for a numbers of years but nothing seemed to exist that really combined the tracking and field service reporting needs,”

“The BigChange solution is very flexible and adaptable and we were able to tailor it to meet our needs.”

JobWatch has been integrated with Thetford’s own bespoke IT system called Onsite providing asset register synchronisation and the seamless interchange of data between the systems. According to Thetford, the biggest benefits are financial and in particular with regard to invoicing.

Goddard explains:

“Previously it could take up to 3 weeks to raise an invoice. Now we do it next day and potentially we could do it the same day,”

“JobWatch ensures invoices are accurate and are in line with what the customer is expecting and as they are received soon after the job, there are many fewer queries and payment is always quicker.”

Thetford’s engineers cover the UK working from their homes. With vehicle tracking fitted to the fleet of Ford Transit vans, BigChange provides an automated ‘clocking in and clocking out’ system. With van often stocked with thousands of pounds of parts, it also offers added security and driver monitoring and rating has also encouraged safer driving; important as engineers travel as much as 40,000 miles a year.

JobWatch has also been developed to manage Thetford’s stock control with engineers using their tablets to record parts used. With around 400 individual parts, the system automatically replenishes stocks with deliveries to engineer collection points.

Goddard adds:

“Previously the vast majority of information was held in people’s heads and by introducing BigChange we have brought all that knowledge into one place. It all works very well and seamlessly with our other systems. The whole service operation just runs a lot more smoothly and our customers – and the company Accountant – are a lot happier!”

BigChange Thetford employees

BigChange Gives a Lift to Gartec Business Performance

BigChange Gartec employee and vehicle

Gartec, the UK’s leading supplier and installer of passenger platform lifts, has transformed its business with a single IT system that provides end-to-end digital working, eliminating paperwork using mobile devices.

With the 5 in 1 system from BigChange, Gartec field service engineers use smartphones or tablets connected in real-time to cloud-based software that manages the entire business process from initial call to closure and invoicing.

Gartec has been at the forefront of the platform lift industry for 25 years and is a subsidiary of Artico, the Swedish lift manufacturer. Employing 50 people and based in Aylesbury, Gartec supply, install and maintain lifts with a team of 20 service engineers together with sub-contacted installers.

JobWatch – the BigChange system – has completely replaced separate software systems used for service management, audit management and tracking, and added a host of new automation capabilities.

Ben Long, UK Operations Manager at Gartec comments:

“We chose BigChange not only because they offered the best and most cost-effective solution, but because it was clear that they were a company with ambition and vision to really move things on.”

Gartec has initially implemented JobWatch within its service maintenance division but roll-out to the installation services side is planned soon.

Ben explains:

“The beauty of JobWatch is that anyone can access and use it. That means our sub-contract installers can use their smartphones to access the JobWatch app and we can then manage sub-contracted work seamlessly as if it was our own.”

Although much of Gartec’s service work is undertaken as part of Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) contracts, the company provides 24/7/365 emergency services with guaranteed response times of typically 4 hours. Customer service staff use BigChange to log incoming calls and then plan, schedule and allocate jobs to engineers, who in turn use their smartphones running the JobWatch App the gives seamless two-way connection with the back office system.

Ben comments:

“BigChange is providing huge efficiency gains with the optimisation of routes and resources and the complete automation of many administrative tasks.”

He continued:

“Since implementing BigChange the engineering team has grown from 9 to 15 and turnover has grown by £1miliion, without having to increase the number of office support staff. I reckon we are probably twice as efficient when it comes to administration and managing operations has become a lot easier.”

Gartec particularly like the bespoke functionality and reporting capability of BigChange, allowing changes to be made easily to suit their needs. Customer service has also benefited with the improvements in information and communication – automated emails confirm orders and call outs and accurate ETAs are provided using data from BigChange GPS trackers fitted to Gartec vans.

Armed with better information, there are immediate benefits on the financial side.

Ben explained:

“BigChange provides a complete audit trail of work with job reports backed tracking logs and photographs. Invoicing is now much more efficient. Previously it could take up to two weeks to get an invoice out; now we can generate invoices within 48 hours.”

BigChange and Gartec have jointly developed a series of automation tools to support the project management of installations. The application takes project engineers through a series of pre-defined procedures for step by step task completion. Backed up with site photographs that can be annotated with a drawing tool, customers are fully informed of what site work is required prior to installation and installers are provided with clear installation guides; all generated using JobWatch.

Gartec is also very enthusiastic about the benefits of BigChange vehicle tracking which not only helps operations and customer service but is being used help cut fuel use and monitor drivers.

Ben summed up:

“We have seen a significant improvement in driving and the driving performance reports are used as part of a monthly £100 performance bonus scheme.”

“Overall BigChange has streamlined the business and the whole process is much smoother. Probably the biggest benefit is the added visibility we now have and the automation provided by the system has helped to remove the human error element; the system gives us continuity and accountability.”

BigChange Gartec employee with tablet

BigChange has revolutionised BOBST customer service

BOBST at work

Bobst, the global packaging equipment and services company, has introduced the latest mobile workforce management technology from BigChange to improve its customer service offer.

The app-based system has eliminated traditional paper timesheets and Bobst Technicians and product specialists now manage all work activities and travelling time on their smartphones. The workforce app links in real-time to the BigChange cloud-based back-office management software that handles everything from work scheduling and routing, to fleet tracking and machinery safety alerts.

Thirty Bobst personnel operating across UK, Ireland and Scandinavia, are using BigChange-equipped smartphones. The introduction of electronic timesheets has boosted customer service for Bobst, as well as saving considerable time and ensuring quicker, more accurate invoicing. Previously they completed paper carbon-copy-type timesheets that were posted to the office by the field service personnel and manually transcribed by a team of three people, prior to invoicing.

Alan Letford, Head of Customer Services at Bobst UK and Ireland Ltd commented:

“The introduction of the BigChange system to replace paper-based processes has had a significant and far-reaching impact across the business and especially in customer service,”

Alan continued:

“We now have up to the minute, accurate data reporting, with Time sheets signed-off by customers on the app. That means we can send an immediate confirmation to the customer and raise an invoice straight away.”

“Timesheets and job-cards are automated saving a huge amount of time. Previously it could take up to three weeks to get an invoice processed; now it is pretty much instantaneous. There is less ambiguity now and invoice disputes have been reduced as everything is much clearer from a customer perspective.”

Bobst Technicians all drive company cars and BigChange incorporates vehicle tracking giving customer service teams a real time view of the whereabouts of all the company fleet. Soon customers will receive automated notifications on the expected arrival time of their Technician. The tracking also allows business versus personal mileage to be recorded at the touch of a button and monitors driving behaviour from a duty of care perspective when on the road.

With Technicians maintaining equipment at customer sites, health and safety is an important aspect of the customer care provided by Bobst UK and Ireland Ltd. Alan Letford is also Head of Health and Safety at Bobst and has taken a lead in introducing safety procedures. Recently accredited as an Alcumus ‘Safe Contractor ‘member, Bobst has developed health and safety functionality within BigChange. This allows Field Service Technicians to send confirmation using the correct PPE, Risk assessments and any identified safety issues – such as a serious Health and Safety machine defect – direct from their smartphones. The system requests sign-off with a customer signature on-screen and then triggers an automated advisory letter.

Alan Added:

“It would be fair to say BigChange has revolutionised our customer service and given us a really useful tool to support our health and safety accreditation. It’s fantastic that BigChange is so easy to use and simply available on a standard smartphone or tablet.”

“We are currently the only Bobst Customer Care centre to introduce electronic timesheets and the team at BigChange have been very responsive in enhancing their software to meet our needs”.

BOBST BigChange Van

Waste & Recycling machinery leader Blue Group rolls out BigChange Mobile Workforce Management technology

Blue Group x BigChange

Waste and Recycling machinery leader Blue Group rolls out BigChange Mobile Workforce Management technology, fully integrated with SAP Business One.

Blue Group, leading specialist provider of materials processing equipment for the quarrying and waste recycling industry has implemented BigChange’s 4-in-1 Mobile Workforce Management Platform across its Service division. The all-in-one system is fully integrated with Blue’s SAP Business One ERP system and provides intelligent job scheduling, an Android mobile app for service technicians and real-time tracking of all vehicles across the fleet. The solution was implemented by BigChange in partnership with Blue’s SAP Business One integrator, Frontline Consultancy.

Blue Group chose BigChange as part of a digital transformation project to enhance customer service and automate the warranty claims process. The BigChange system has revolutionised the booking and scheduling of planned and reactive maintenance, connecting customer service teams with mobile technicians in real-time. Intelligent scheduling has replaced the use of Outlook and jobs raised in SAP are instantly synced with the BigChange platform. It allows advisers to quickly offer customers urgent maintenance slots at a time and date to suit them, considering real-time technician and equipment availability, proximity to the customer and live traffic data. The intelligent scheduling engine ensures maximum flexibility for the customer whilst minimising travel time and distance, driving fuel savings and a reduction in emissions.

Real-time visibility of the operation ensures customer service advisors are empowered to answer customer questions in an instant and automated estimated time of arrival (ETA) alerts by email and text message ensure customers are always fully informed.

Peter Lidbetter, Group IT Manager at Blue Group said:

“BigChange have worked extremely well with everyone involved in this project. Across the business they have always been willing to go the extra mile and give us the support needed to take the project forward. As a company they are at the cutting edge of service management, producing a fantastic product that is easy to use for everyone involved from our service engineers to the back office staff.”

Stuart Hardiman, Commercial Service Manager at Blue Group commented:

“The BigChange technology has put us in another league and has made the customer experience completely seamless. It has empowered the entire service team and gives us true real-time visibility into the KPIs that are fundamental to successful service delivery.”

Blue Group supply, install and maintain crushers, screeners, shredders, material handlers and recycling plants for leading industrial users across the UK and Ireland from 8 strategically placed sites. They provide an industry leading maintenance offering to maximise uptime and to keep machines running efficiently. The group turned over in excess of £100 million in 2017.

The BigChange technology is saving hundreds of thousands of pieces of paperwork annually, and has replaced an electronic pen and paper based legacy system with digital workflows running on rugged waterproof Samsung Android Tablets. Each day, Blue technicians complete an electronic walkaround check, logging and photographing any defects that are managed to resolution via integrated fleet management functionality. On starting their timesheet, technicians have instant access to their jobs for the day with detailed information about each customer, site and machinery. Job data is automatically loaded into the integrated sat-nav with turn-by-turn guidance and live traffic updates. On arrival, the app takes care of risk assessments and method statements and guides the technician though equipment specific service workflows, capturing a detailed audit trail. Photos are captured during the service process for added proof of service.

On completion, customers automatically receive electronic job-cards via email, proactively confirming completion. This instant sync with the back-office means no ‘paperwork’ needs to be returned for processing and allows Blue group to instantly raise warranty claims, avoiding any delays and boosting cashflow. The system is also delivering duty of care benefits for lone workers, providing confirmation that all engineers have returned home after their jobs.

BigChange founder and CEO Martin Port said:

“With their adoption of the latest BigChange technology, fully integrated with SAP Business One, Blue Group are delivering a world class-leading customer experience that will maintain their competitive winning edge in the market.”

Caine Fearn, Managing Director of Frontline Consultancy commented:

“Frontline have been working in partnership with BigChange to deliver a truly business changing solution for Blue Group. With a fully integrated SAP Business One back office and their remarkable field service application, Frontline and BigChange have delivered a complete, scalable business solution for anyone serious about field automation, job & stock control and customer service.”

CEO’s Blog – BigChange Customer Bobst Celebrates 125 Years of World Class Service

Bigchange customer bobst celebrates 125 years

A FANTASTIC MILESTONE, BigChange customer BOBST is embarking on this anniversary with its sights focused firmly on the future.

From autumn 2015 to autumn 2016 it will hold a year of events running under the motto “125 YEARS: FOR THE NEXT GENERATION”. BOBST has chosen this slogan first of all to thank its customers who have placed their trust in the brand for 125 years. It is also to pay tribute to its staff, whose enthusiastic work has given the brand’s products and services their renowned excellence.

Innovation is written into the company’s DNA, it is at the core of its strategy and has resulted in close to 1’350 patents. Today, BOBST offers equipment which provides a targeted response to its customer’s individual requirements.

Its digital print systems open up new, highly profitable, outlets and give manufacturers as well as brand owners innovative solutions, especially in personalized production and short runs of packaging and labels.

“The phrase that exemplifies BOBST is ‘People – Knowledge and Values’ because it is the people of our Group and the vast technical knowledge they have which translates into success.”

Jean-Pascal Bobst, CEO of the Group and great-grandson of the company founder.

BOBST places customer satisfaction at the centre of its operations and has been one of the first manufacturers to offer a complete range of services.

The Group intends to keep on investing in its personnel and launching new products to meet the needs of the market and consolidate its long-term growth sustainably. The BOBST vision, based on strong human values, has always been the driver of its success and will remain at the core of the next generation’s business project.

Happy Birthday Bobst

Martin Port
Founder & CEO