Thirteen boosts FM services by embracing mobile technology

A man holding a tablet in front of a Thirteen services van.

The North East’s largest housing association Thirteen has boosted its facilities management services thanks to new mobile workforce management technology from Leeds-based company BigChange.

Thirteen’s facilities management (FM) team is responsible for providing services such as grounds maintenance, caretaker and cleaning services to the housing association’s 70,000 customers.

Thirteen’s new five-in-one tech system, which incorporates customer relationship management (CRM), a customer portal, job scheduling, vehicle tracking and a mobile app, is helping it improve its services, reduce costs, and boost productivity among its staff.

“Previously we relied on a combination of paper records and spreadsheets and with the volume of work we had it was clear we needed to replace what was a cumbersome, largely manual system,” says Michael Hall, senior FM manager for Thirteen. “BigChange has transformed the way we work by eliminating paper and providing complete visibility of our work.”

Thirteen’s mobile maintenance teams have all been equipped with tablets running BigChange’s JobWatch app linked to real-time vehicle tracking.

The housing association now uses the devices for vehicle inspections and COVID-19 safety checks, as well as electronic job sheets linked to photographs from site.

The app has proved particularly useful in the face of COVID-19 as it has allowed Thirteen’s staff to work from home and negated the need for teams to come into the office at the start of the day.

Thirteen says the app has helped halve its daily mileage, reduced wasted travelling time and costs, and help it improve its productivity through better resource planning.

“The system now gives us vital management information,” added Russell Thompson, Thirteen’s executive director of assets. “We can now measure things and for the first time we have been able to introduce an optimal delivery model.  That means we can do more work in less time allowing us to improve the value of services to our customers.”

Launched in 2013, BigChange provides a range of mobile workforce management technologies that are used by 1,300 organisations across the world.

The company signed over £20m worth of new contracts in 2019. It has also been recognised by several industry awards as it won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Innovation this year.

Image: A member of Thirteen’s staff holding a tablet equipped with BigChange’s JobWatch app. Credit: Thirteen

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