Severn Vale Housing Society has chosen market-leading mobile technology from 1st Touch (www.1sttouch.com) to support its responsive repairs operation across 3500 homes.

 

The Society, which began life in 1998 following a Large Scale Voluntary Transfer of housing stock from the local council, provides general needs sheltered homes, market rents and student accommodation. Geographically, the stock ranges from Tewkesbury to the Forest of Dean, parts of Gloucester, Worcester and Evesham. Providing the highest possible levels of service to tenants across such a wide area is of paramount importance to Severn Vale. Naturally, a key area of this service provision is responsive repairs.

 

Following an operational review of the Society’s in-house responsive repairs operation, comprising eighteen multi-skilled tradesmen and gas engineers, it was decided to overhaul the purchasing, control and usage of materials and supplies. It was also decided to reduce travel time to suppliers and to take advantage of the economies of scale in the purchasing power that the Society has.

 

The ability to interrogate job costs on a timely basis whilst reducing administrative time was also an important consideration. It was felt that an effective PDA based mobile solution would deliver the most significant impact in these areas. The Society also felt that data about the imprest stock levels carried in the tradesmen’s vans should be transferable between the operative, the supplier and the Society’s back-office Orchard Housing Management system.

 

The Society conducted an in-depth review of the market alternatives to identify the best solution. It also used proactive networking to consult with other organisations similar to them. As a result of the review, Severn Vale Housing Society chose 1st Touch mobile technology.

 

1st Touch applications can bring significant efficiencies and productivity increases to any application where field based operatives provide services. 1st Touch has already won widespread acclaim in the social housing market where the software manages, supports and control all aspects of mobile operatives’ activities. The resilient but flexible system enables easy, programming-free, user-customisable PDA based solutions to be created through its easy to use graphical interface and is specifically designed to simplify handheld form design and data capture. Any type of electronic form can be generated without the need for Business Process Mapping. 1st Touch has also developed high quality integration solutions for most of the leading housing management systems used by local authority housing organisations and ALMOs.

 

Indeed, the 1st Touch Integrator module was the key driver behind Severn Vale’s choice. By identifying underlying application objects and utilizing the latest visual programming techniques, 1st Touch Integrator technology captures data directly from multiple back-office systems for use in 1st Touch mobile solutions. This allows interfaces to be written that link the data held on the mobile operatives’ PDAs with the Society’s back-office systems. 

 

In addition, a further integration will enable the Society to reduce significantly the administrative time taken to log numerous materials invoices in both the financial and housing management systems. The ability of 1st Touch to integrate numerous back-office systems means that this will be reduced to just one invoice per week as opposed to the one invoice per job previously required. This greatly frees up resources for the Society which can be utilised elsewhere.

 

The Society also plans to extend the use of mobile technology to other areas of the business such as Response Repairs, Voids and rents and areas. 1st Touch is therefore an ideal partner for Severn Vale; as modules for these functions are already available.

 

As Dave Johnson, Finance Manager of Severn Vale Housing Society, who was responsible for the project scope notes, “1st Touch software will significantly improve our mobile operative’s productivity; by reducing travel time and visits to the suppliers and ensuring that the customer gets their repairs completed more quickly. The Society will benefit from better pricing and control of supplies, a reduced administrative burden and greater transparency of costs.  In addition, we will be able to feed these benefits back into providing better services for our valued customers.”

 

1st Touch CEO Robert Dent welcomed these comments adding, “Severn Vale Housing Society goes to extraordinary lengths to ensure that they deliver the highest possible service levels to their tenants. The team behind the mobile initiative is particularly engaged with making the implementation of mobile technology a success. We have been impressed by their attention to detail and creativity in finding ways to improve the service they provide. We are delighted they chose 1st Touch and look forward to a productive and progressive partnership.”