While most Britons are enjoying their summer holidays, GRITIT is hard at work getting ready for the long, cold winter months ahead. It's the tough winters that GRITIT counts on as the leading provider of gritting services contractor in the U.K., supplying winter services protection and winter risk management services to organisations in the retail, commercial, financial, high security, industrial, logistics, health and education sectors.
With more than 166,000 service visits of which 99.99 percent were successfully completed, maintenance of a 99.2 percent customer satisfaction rate and the British Institute of Facilities Management Service Provider of the Year 2013 distinction, it's clear that customer service is of supreme importance to GRITIT.
"We work from 6pm to 6am, so are an unseen service, therefore it is critical that we can track and manage our operatives on site and have the ability to guarantee to our customers that the services they requested have been completed," said Brendon Petsch, IT Director at GRITIT. "So confident are we of our service, and our ability to ensure customers' sites are safe for the public and employees, we stand the liability for clients in the event of an accident or claim."
Harnessing the Power of the Cloud to Manage Data
To support this bold stance GRITIT accumulates millions of pieces of data during the course of a season and employs cloud-based telematics also known as location intelligence software from Verizon Connect that works with its existing technology investments to identify the key pieces of data it needs to improve overall operations.
"The ability to create efficiencies within its workforce and streamline processes particularly through the ubiquity of mobile devices is passed on as an added value to GRITIT's customers."
Unlike most other organisations in the industry, GRITIT uses its tracking data proactively to provide proof of service, and as part of its daily reporting to clients. If any job does not go ahead as expected, an alert is produced by the Verizon Connectsystem, enabling GRITIT's management team to resolve the issue and alert the customer as necessary in real time.
"Smartphones and handheld devices are the backbone of our business. Despite the phenomenal increase in usage and adoption of mobile devices and cloud-based technologies in the last five years, the telematics software industry has not kept pace. That is where Verizon Connect is different. The combination of its cloud/Software-as-a-Service software platform and cutting-edge mobile solutions means the very latest technology is always used," said Petsch.
Platform Approach Supports Multiple Devices
The first stage of the plan was to replace GRITIT's existing systems with Verizon Connect's fully integrated, single platform for location intelligence. Previously GRITIT used two disparate systems, one for mobile device reporting and job allocation and the other for locating vehicles and assets. Getting the two systems to talk to each other in the past took some major software development.
The appeal of Verizon Connect was the automatic integration of all of its solutions, so the initial implementation was smoother, and the GRITIT team was up and running more quickly.
"Operationally, updating our systems to work with just one platform is great. The Verizon Connect system works really well and is easy to use," said Petsch.
"The rest of the industry is still in the dark ages when it comes to smartphone and tablet software, whereas with Verizon Connect we are able to use the very latest Android and iOS devices."Brendon Petsch, IT Director
Location Intelligence supports Operations in the Field
GRITIT is now using numerous solutions as part of the comprehensive Verizon Connectplatform: Verizon Connect Fleet is used to track all vehicles during and after service for proof of attendance. As the vehicle arrives on site the amount of data collected is increased to enable them to track exactly where the vehicle is within the site, as well as monitor driver behaviour like speeding, idling and out of hours use of the vehicle.
Verizon Connect Progression offers real-time job creation, tracking, alerts, job reassignment if things don't go to plan and job completion reporting.
Verizon Connect Progression provides real-time alerts that notify GRITIT supervisors when drivers have completed work, and validation that drivers were on the job site to complete their work. This helps them maintain their job completion rate throughout each shift. If staff are running behind, jobs can easily be assigned to other drivers by dragging and dropping a job onto another driver's route, where it automatically shows up on his job list. At the end of the shift GRITIT performs a final check by reconciling completed jobs with the actual location of the vehicle at that time. This allows the company to maintain its gold-standard customer satisfaction rating.
Using Verizon Connect Mobile running on a smartphone or other handheld device, drivers receive their job allocations and are able to report on each job, logging arrival and departure times, any issues and site conditions. Details specific to certain sites for example, site access codes, are stored in the Verizon Connect system and supplied to the drivers as required. This way, drivers can easily convey site conditions by attaching photos to their form responses which provides easy confirmation for supervisors and customers that a site has been serviced to spec.
"Because all the documentation received from the field is available within the Verizon Connect systems in real time these inspections can take place within minutes of jobs being completed."
Additionally, GRITIT managers complete random site inspections to ensure quality is maintained, and they too report back to head office in real time. Because all the documentation received from the field is available within the Verizon Connect systems in real time these inspections can take place within minutes of jobs being completed. In this way, if there are any issues onsite such as a leaking pipe or someone that shouldn't be there, the client is alerted immediately.
Powerful Real-time Reporting Provides Proof of Service
Strong reporting is a key part of the Verizon Connect platform, and an integral part of GRITIT's service to its customers. With Verizon Connect GRITIT is now able to build its own customised reports to exactly match client requirements.
Unlike most other organisations in the industry, GRITIT uses its tracking data proactively to provide proof of service, and as part of its daily reporting to clients. If any job does not go ahead as expected, an alert is produced by the Verizon Connect system, enabling GRITIT's management team to resolve the issue and alert the customer as necessary in real time.
Next Step: Online tracking for the customer
The next phase of the implementation is to further integrate the Verizon Connect platform with GRITIT's business systems, using Verizon Connect Data Exchange (TDE). Ultimately this will enable the collection of information from drivers' onsite via mobile devices that will pass through the entire organisation seamlessly such as providing information to contracts, finance/invoicing, and HR.
Brendon Petsch sums up; "It is still relatively early days with the Verizon Connect system, but everything is running well and we are looking forward to a long and successful partnership. Ultimately GRITIT would like to provide live tracking data to our customers through Verizon Connect Live, so that they can see for themselves exactly what is happening on site. We are proud to be taking this innovative approach, and Verizon Connect is the ideal partner to help us realise our business goals."