Sandwell Council Partners with Kirona to Transform Housing Repairs and Gas Servicing across 28,000 Properties

By Laraine Geddes

The Asset Management and Maintenance Service has overhauled its systems including back-office, scheduling, mobile and text messaging to transform services covering Repairs, Voids and Gas Servicing

Sandwell Council has been working in collaboration with field service management technology specialist Kirona to undertake a programme of work to overhaul its systems including:

  1. Replacing the repairs back-office and updating the scheduling system
  2. Replacing the existing mobile working approach for Response Repairs and further extending mobile working to both Voids and Gas Servicing
  3. Improving text messaging to keep customers better informed on their appointments, support avoidable contact, minimise no access & obtain immediate customer feedback on the work undertaken

Sandwell was using an alternative back office system to manage repairs and maintenance requests in its back-office. There were issues with information not synchronising between field-based employees using mobile and the back office, along with ageing legacy mobile hardware that led to frequent downtime.

The council decided to procure new mobile and back-office systems that were fully customisable to handle complex workforce management and Kirona submitted successful tenders.

Sandwell had previously worked with Kirona having implemented their dynamic resource scheduling software (DRS) to optimise planning for appointed, planned and reactive jobs in real-time. As a trusted partner of the council, Sandwell knew that Kirona could help deliver a programme of work within agreed timeframes benefitting the council’s different departments and services.

After going live with both mobile and the new back-office platform with its Repairs and Voids Service in March 2018, Sandwell and Kirona embarked on the next phase of the rollout. Modernising the Gas Service by introducing dynamic resource scheduling, mobile job management and further developing text messaging solutions already in place within the Repairs Service.

Historically the Gas Service managed schedules on paper, assigning engineers with a list of work which made compliance to gas certification more challenging. With Kirona’s Dynamic Resource Scheduling they now have greater transparency with what work has been assigned to individual operatives, along with real-time progress on how each external contractor is performing.

The cyclical module of DRS automatically identifies properties due a gas service, based on the last gas servicing anniversary date. DRS assigns around 500 jobs per week, scheduling them and sending out appointment texts and reminders to not only minimise no-access incidents but keep customers better informed and help avoid unnecessary calls relating to the scheduled appointment.

Kirona’s Work Hub is a work management solution that unites back office teams, mobile workforces and customers by providing a single, centralised source of information and delivers real-time information to mobile workers.

Neil Martin, Business Manager in the Asset Management and Maintenance Service at Sandwell Council said: “The cultural change that Kirona’s software is delivering is really important to us. We’ve achieved a greater degree of transparency than we ever have before.  We are able to carry out more work in-house and have consolidated a lot of disparate datasets into a unified and dynamic format. Managing contractors effectively depends on having good visibility into the progression of jobs, the performance of individual operatives and Kirona’s software is enabling that. We are looking forward to generating more benefits from the technology over the months and years ahead.”Field Service Management Solutions

Neil Harvey, at Kirona, said: “Our suite of field service management solutions has given Sandwell Council a streamlined, stable and dynamic way of managing repairs and gas servicing across thousands of properties. Handling these tasks effectively is critical to the council’s ability to house people safely, and we’re delighted to be supporting them.”

Find out more about how Kirona helps local authorities.