In the last five years, cleaning contractor DOC Cleaning of Bishops Stortford has doubled its annual turnover to nearly £20m. In order to manage such rapid growth, DOC elected in 2012 to streamline its administration by swapping its existing bundle of software systems and spreadsheets for an integrated contract management system, TemplaCMS.
When it comes to new contract mobilisations, no matter how much notice of a start date a client gives, information is always needed quickly, placing short-term pressure on field management, payroll and admin.
For DOC, contract mobilisation has become a constant feature in the daily workload of both its office and operations teams, but the company is living proof of how technology can be harnessed to eliminate what could otherwise be a torrent of meetings and paperwork.
So how did they streamline this process to make it easier, faster and more accurate?
Take the old procedure and convert it to an electronic one
In essence, mobilisation is about co-ordinating the activity of different departments, suppliers and subcontractors to ensure that everything is ready to go live on a certain date.
As Jamie Bull of DOC explains, “We now manage mobilisations using TemplaCMS, via its integrated Customer Service, Workflow and Advanced Forms modules. Customer Service provides internal helpdesk/project management functions from where, as the mobilisation controller, I can coordinate and manage the work of everyone involved, whilst retaining visibility of progress. Workflow is a system-wide feature that sends actions and electronic documents around the business for completion, review and electronic sign-off. Advanced Forms is a centralised forms design facility for ‘intelligent’ documents containing data fields that will automatically populate the central database once they are accepted onto the system – a new starter form is a good example.”
All through the process, Jamie can view the any one of his live mobilisations on screen, which tells him which tasks have been completed, which are outstanding and to whom each task was assigned. Automatic time delay alerts are set up for critical tasks, such as new starter forms, to ensure they don’t fall behind schedule.
Jamie says, “The benefits of the system can be summed up in one word – control. Contract mobilisations used to be completely paper-based. There were lots of meetings, paperwork flying around the office, and me in the middle with tick sheets, spending a lot of time just keeping track of progress. That might be okay when a mobilisation happens every now and again, but when you’ve two or three sizeable contracts mobilising simultaneously, with different operations managers, a paper system is not sustainable.
A software-driven approach involves all the stakeholders from the start and makes it simple for staff based in the field, or at different offices, to do their job updating the system and view progress without having to travel to a meeting at head office. I don’t have to wait days for forms to arrive and I know exactly where we stand on each mobilisation, no matter how big the contract is."