How Ongo Homes Improved Void Management

By Laraine Geddes

Breaking The Paper Chain
Planning & Scheduling With Greater Visibility

 

Ongo Homes was set up in 2007 and are now the largest social housing landlord, renting about 10,000 houses and flats across North Lincolnshire. Working together with many agencies, Ongo Homes offer people affordable homes with the standard set out by the Government’s Homes and Communities Agency. Ongo Homes also help people carry out repairs and improvements in their homes.

 

The Challenge

We used to “collect void data and allocate work on pieces of paper,” says maintenance services manager Margaret Slingsby at Scunthorpe-based Ongo Homes, the largest social housing landlord in North Lincolnshire with 10,000 homes.

When Ongo’s tradespeople had completed one job they would return to the office for the next. They would be back and forth all day. It was a process that not only left the empty homes team wasting much of the planned day and inviting errors but key performance indicators flatlining.

 

The Solution

But almost a decade after launching in 2007, Ongo now handles voids in a very different way.

Over the past 18 months Ms Slingsby and her team have consigned their paper-based processes to the wastebasket in favour of the latest dynamic resource scheduling software from Kirona, DRS Project Planner.

Project Planner Logo Kirona

The software automatically triggers inspections, deploying a member of the empty homes team armed with a tablet that enables them record real-time data to a central management system.

Ongo Homes team wearing colourful company branded t-shirtsThree area managers, two planners and 27 tradespeople use project planner. At the click of a mouse, it offers them full visibility of materials ordered, delivery times, job starts and completion dates.

This visibility helps letting staff to manage customer expectations by providing them with realistic dates for when work will be completed and when they can move into their new home.

Now we have a date for customers they can plan for removals, carpet fitting and delivery of white goods and furniture,” says Ms Slingsby.

 

Key Outcomes

With the processes now in place to drive efficiency, customer satisfaction is just one of the benefits Ongo Homes is benefiting from.

While Ms Slingsby says it is too early to calculate the overall financial savings, she says the back office is now an almost paper-free environment and the size of the empty homes team has reduced as a direct result of the planner’s use.

But she is keen to stress that any savings have not come at the cost of quality. “We have reduced the number of tradespeople by five, but homes are getting turned around faster and more efficiently than ever before. We also have a consistent inspection process that means all our homes are inspected and meet our lettable standard,” she concludes.