Surefire, a UK provider of fire safety systems, is starting to reap the rewards of Tesseract, an Asolvi product, which it chose to replace a popular vertical solution...
Founded in 1990, Surefire began locally, providing systems in London and the South-East via a handful of engineers. Today it designs, installs and maintains full-scale fire protection solutions up and down the country for offices, financial institutions, facilities management companies, hospitals, prisons and schools. It also manufactures, sells and maintains the UltraGuard system for the residential market. A portable misting unit that detects and suppresses fire at an early stage, UltraGuard is a more intelligent, more versatile and more effective alternative to your basic, fixed sprinkler system. It is designed to protect the vulnerable in our communities and Surefire reports that it saves around ten lives every year.
Out with the old...
Surefire’s old service management system was developed and customised specifically for fire and security systems providers. Asolvi’s Tesseract solution, on the other hand, is much broader, its usefulness extending across a wide range of markets, from lifts and escalators to commercial lighting to industrial cleaning equipment. But why was this better for Surefire?
Joanna Hawkins, Surefire’s office manager, explains, “Our old system was too basic, too inflexible. Its functions were limited and it was very difficult to elicit information from it. Reporting was non-existent. Asset lists weren’t integrated, which made it impossible to see their productivity and profitability without lifting the data manually and inputting it into a spreadsheet.”
"Inflexibility is a common problem across field service management (FSM) solutions designed for particular markets..."
Inflexibility is a common problem across field service management (FSM) solutions designed for particular markets. Sometimes the basics of an FSM system get forgotten about in favour of market-specific customisations. Horizontal software like Tesseract is concerned with getting the basics right first, i.e. call control, contract management, asset management, scheduling, mobile working, invoicing and reporting. In other words: the fundamental elements of FSM regardless of the industry you’re in.
“The old system was only useful to a point,” says Joanna. “A lot of the basics were missing. That’s why we decided to go with Tesseract. We wanted a system that would streamline our call control, scheduling and contract management processes, speed up invoicing and give us a better overall view of our assets. Tesseract fitted the bill. The enhanced visibility of the new system has already improved our reporting capabilities dramatically, and we’re able to track our profitability in a way we simply couldn’t before. We’ve also seen a big reduction in admin and paperwork.”
Things have improved for Surefire’s sales teams, too. In addition to Tesseract’s call control, assets and invoicing modules, Surefire is using Tesseract’s Quote Centre. This sophisticated quoting engine streamlines the generation, management and approval of quotes and automatically converts them into ready-made contracts. “We use Quote Centre for everything,” says Joanna. “New service contracts, one-off projects, remedial work, parts—it all goes through Quote Centre. It’s a faster, more transparent system than we had before.”
An incremental approach to implementation
Surefire has decided that the best thing for the company and its people is a gentler, more incremental approach to implementation, streamlining one part of its service chain at a time. Having successfully overhauled its contract and asset management, Surefire is looking to improve the performance of its engineers by implementing Tesseract’s mobile working solution: Remote Engineer Access (REA). REA lets engineers generate live service reports, look up asset and customer information, order parts, close down jobs and obtain customer signatures—all from a phone, tablet or laptop.
"A few of our engineers are already using Tesseract on their iPads and the results have been very positive..."
“A few of our engineers are already using Tesseract on their iPads and the results have been very positive,” says Joanna. “They now have all the information they need when they arrive on site, and if they don’t, they’re able to get it directly from the system without having to call the office. REA enables them to work better and by extension give our customers a better service.”
Joanna adds, “We’re also seeing the benefits of our engineers inputting job information directly onto the system in real time instead of filling in service reports and posting them to the office. It reduces admin for them while improving efficiency and accuracy for us.”
After a successful trial, Surefire is set to roll out REA to all of its engineers by the end of the month. At that point it will start seeing the benefits of live job data, radically reduced paperwork, and same-day invoicing. Next, Surefire will turn its attention to spare parts management and implement Tesseract’s Parts Centre. This multi-location stock control platform lets you view stock quantities, raise parts requests, make purchases, and track all parts bought, sold, used, changed, moved or sent for repair.
“Asolvi has helped us open our eyes, scrutinise our processes and look closely at how we can improve them,” says Joanna. “Thanks to the Tesseract system and Asolvi’s support—particularly Graham and Chris, who’ve been superb—we have more control over our service operation than we’ve ever had. There’s more to come, too. We’re moving forward in leaps and bounds every day.”
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