Homeserve case study

How PartsArena helps HomeServe put customer care first

“If we’re quicker on a job, it’s better for the Customer and cheaper for us. Our engineer is available for his next job. That’s a massive timesaving and therefore, we’re more profitable.”

That’s the view of Gavin Young, Service Delivery Manager at HomeServe.

We caught up with Gavin to understand how PartsArena was making a difference to HomeServe’s gas servicing and boiler repair operations. We wanted to learn how, and why, such a huge household name had utilised our software, with customer care at the fore.

Support for millions

Operating nationally, HomeServe has over a million customers. Not just for gas boiler servicing either. The UK home assistance provider helps with plumbing, drainage and electrical problems too.

HomeServe is a big field service player that employs many thousands of people.

With a team of 300 gas engineers, each with a PartsArena Pro licence, work is scheduled and managed using field service software on their tablets. PartsArena Pro is vitally important to this job management process.

“When a part is required – identified by a boiler service or fault diagnosis – that’s when PartsArena Pro really comes into play,” said Gavin.

Single source of parts information

“The part number is the start of the process. Without it, things would get very fraught. Different suppliers can reference parts in different ways. But the part number, that’s industry standard. Everyone knows what the part is the world over.

So, unless the engineer is carrying the part in his van, he’ll be straight on to PartsArena Pro to identify it. Our main supplier is Wolseley, but there are times when we order from other businesses. A less common part, for example.

PartsArena Pro saves us a huge amount of time and effort in identifying the right part. It’s our central, single source of parts information. We don’t have to keep speaking to suppliers, we just use PartsArena. And that’s what our 300 gas engineers are doing daily,” he said.

When HomeServe started using PartsArena Pro, mobile signal was not always reliable. Even today, there are geographic areas where this is the case. Given that PartsArena works offline, Gavin acknowledged this distinct advantage for their engineers.

“It’s one of the reasons we run PartsArena Pro locally on every engineer’s tablet. There could be times when you’re in the middle of Dartmoor. So, installing it locally means it’s always available,” explained Gavin.

Ease of use

HomeServe’s engineers include newly recruited apprentices and seasoned veterans that have worked elsewhere. Many already know what they’re doing. And that makes the introduction to PartsArena Pro straight forward.

“Engineers that have worked elsewhere see the benefit straight away. They can directly compare their past experience of not having PartsArena Pro to hand.

They don’t need to spend much time working out how to use the program either. It’s covered in half an hour as part of their induction. Integral to their tablet, it’s not difficult to use. And whilst some engineers are more digitally native than others, we have no issues getting everyone on-board. They’re a mobile digital workforce these days,” said Gavin.

Why customer care comes first

As a service provider, the customer remains at the core of HomeServe. The objective is always to deliver a fix as quickly as possible. With good business reasons too.

“Everything that benefits the Customer is good for us. It means we’re more efficient. And if we’re more efficient, we’re better off in terms of cost. The two go hand in hand; they always should. If we’re giving a better Customer experience, we’ll be delivering efficiencies for the business too. We’re making more money.

Everybody should work this way. Better Customer service means better Customer retention. It all feeds into the bottom line eventually. Being Customer focused is a more profitable route to take,” said Gavin.

PartsArena Pro helps to deliver the speed of fix that HomeServe strives to maintain. Gavin was quite clear that the tool is there to identify the right part more quickly, reducing time wasted on-site.

Adding PartsArena Office to the mix

You’d be forgiven for thinking that PartsArena is always a tool for your mobile device. That’s certainly the job of the Pro version.

But HomeServe demonstrates how another format, PartsArena Office, powers its parts team and other support areas of the business.

“Our tablet app automatically feeds orders into the parts team, here at HomeServe. They’re picking up the details and can check for accuracy using PartsArena Office on the PC. Sometimes, an engineer forgets to give a part number, or perhaps the boiler number. This is when our parts team can smooth the process.

We have an ordering team using PartsArena Office too. They might be replenishing van stock to our internal model or ordering parts that are out of stock at Wolsley. Essentially, they’re charged with getting the right parts at the right price in the right time.” Gavin explained.

HomeServe also has gas safety officers using PartsArena Office on their laptops. Their role is to check the work for legal compliance, ensuring the correct parts have been installed. Additionally, team leaders will have access to PartsArena Office, giving them parts knowledge to supplement their technical expertise.

The future looks integrated

Not surprisingly, HomeServe wants to raise its game further with more integration and faster service. Gavin told us they’re working towards full automation. Parts orders would ultimately be created by engineers and directly processed by Wolseley for swift delivery.

“It’s very much a case of putting the power in the engineers’ hands. They should be able to identify the right part quickly, order it in minutes and know exactly when it’ll be available. It’s all about resolving the Customer’s problem quickly.

I think there is potential for us to reduce the visit time further. For example, if the part is available and close enough, the engineer might be able to pick it up and return to the customer immediately, achieving a fix. This removes the need to re-allocate additional time for the job and undertake a further visit.

Even if this ideal world isn’t possible soon, we aim to be in a position where we can communicate much more clearly and immediately with the Customer. If the engineer can see the planning and scheduling, he should be able to explain when he’ll return with the replacement part and complete the job.

And that is what the Customer wants, which is why it’s our focus.”

swale-heating

Swale Heating delivers cost savings through smart integration with PartsArena Pro

Swale Heating keeps over 100,000 houses safe and warm across London, the South-East and the Midlands. Over 45 years old, with 280 heating engineers, the company has been using a stand-alone version of PartsArena Pro since 2007.

“It’s essential to our daily operation, playing a huge part in us delivering great service to all our customers,” said Steve Parish, CIO of Swale Heating.

But Swale Heating was ready for a game-changer. Aware how costly and inefficient it was to order wrong parts and return to site excessively, the company wanted to take a smart step forward and integrate its field service technology. Customer service levels, in addition to costs were at stake.The move was important on many levels.

Game-changing integration

A revolutionary, fully integrated version of PartsArena Pro from field service management system provider, Aeromark was the next move for Swale Heating.

“The Plumb and Parts Center eBusiness team together with Infomill’s PartsArena Pro experts and Aeromark have worked together to implement an efficient system that will help move our business forward significantly in a demanding market. Not only this, we can also tailor our service to the most convenient time for our customers, with limited impact on the business,” said Steve.

PartsArena Pro is the leading source of approved boiler manuals and parts data for the UK heating industry. It is used by more than 50,000 service and breakdown engineers, offering significant time efficiencies and cost savings due to swift and accurate diagnosis of the parts required to fix the problem.

The power of integrating PartsArena into a logistical service management and parts ordering process is tremendous. From first visit to final fix, everything is seamless. Errors are eliminated. Duplication is avoided. Cost and time are saved, whilst the customer experience is unsurpassed.

Here’s how it works

When Swale Heating receives a job order, Smarter Parts, Aeromark’s integrated parts system goes to work immediately, identifying the Asset and Serial Number whilst matching common faults with previously ordered parts for the same model. Using the Aeromark scheduling system the job is allocated to the best engineer which instantly sends all the necessary information to their mobile device.

Once the engineer is on site, the Aeromark app seamlessly integrates with PartsArena Pro, providing instant access to the relevant technical information needed at the point of service. The engineer can view interactive exploded diagrams, service and installation manuals in addition to parts lists; all of which allow easy identification of the parts required to complete the job. The correct part can then be selected by simply clicking on the link or diagram hotspot.

PartsArena Pro then promptly passes this information back to the Aeromark system.It then checks stock levels at all Plumb and Parts Center branches,plusthe location of customer vans in the vicinity in real time. Having carried out an automated approval process, the system orders the part, either for immediate collection or delivery, depending on the forecast travel time.

Roger Marks, MD of Aeromark sees the huge potential for this fully integrated system with PartsArena Pro: “The integration enables Aeromark to provide a more powerful solution for some of the biggest challenges in field service operations – getting the right parts, to the right place, in the optimum time. We are even able to forecast delivery times for the more obscure non-stock items and optimise dynamically whether the engineer should collect or order for delivery, based on daily workload and travel times”.

More and more heating companies are looking at how they can integrate PartsArena Pro into their system. And many field service management software providers are now working in partnership with PartsArena, appreciating the importance of the tool for heating engineers out in the field.

To learn more about how you can integrate PartsArena Pro into your daily software, please get in touch.

AA

The Automobile Association increases productivity by 15% with Solarvista field service management and PartsArena Pro integration

One of the UK’s most trusted brands and the undisputed leader in Roadside Assistance, The Automobile Association (The AA) also provides cover for home and heating emergencies and maintenance as part of the AA Insurance Services. Both parts of the business had been operating on a single platform. But it was clear that Home Services required a separate operational system to drive the growth of the business and deliver the efficiencies it constantly sought in addition to increased customer satisfaction.

After a complex Request for Proposal process, Solarvista was chosen as the supplier best positioned to provide The AA with the service, system and support necessary. Solarvista was also poised to fully integrate its field service system with PartsArena Pro, which would prove to be of great benefit to the Home Services’ heating and plumbing engineers out in the field.

The AA Home Services operation wanted a field service management solution that would:

  • Drive and measure field engineer efficiency
  • Provide high levels of customer service
  • Ensure end-to-end job management
  • Provide a flexible system that could develop and grow with the business
  • Proven results show the benefits of integration

Whilst delivering quantifiable results from the field workforce of heating and plumbing engineers was just one objective of the software installation, this is where PartsArena Pro and Solarvista deliver the greatest value.It has so far contributed to some notable performance improvements since first launch in September 2016:

  • Overall productivity improvement of 15% (this is continually rising)
  • 17% improvement in ‘First Time Fix’ rates
  • PartsArena Pro specifically improving ‘Second Time Fix’ rates
  • 8% reduction in time on site
  • Tasks per shift improvement of 15%
  • Reduction in calls made to the contact centre by 20%
  • Mobile field service knowledge

Engineer using Solarvista field service software with PartsArena softwarePartsArena Pro is now supplying critical knowledge to The AA’s Home Service engineers, via offline mobile devices. They can access the latest interactive data and information from manufacturers and suppliers such as exploded diagrams, parts codes and manufacturer technical manuals whilst out in the field, facilitating a speedy and accurate parts search coupled with the ability to add parts lists to jobs for automated ordering.  This helps to reduce engineer and back-office effort and has markedly improved the ‘Second Time Fix’ rate.

Ash Cripps, Home Services Business Systems Manager, The AA plc said: “In the age of self-service and automation, delivering fully integrated systems to the benefit of our members, employees and business alike was a critical requirement within our transformation project. The integration between Solarvista and PartsArena Pro that we have developed supports our engineers in resolving our members’ home emergencies as effectively and quickly as possible; and more of them per day, whilst also delivering a world-class experience to our members.

The project has delivered significant improvements to both ‘First and Second Time Fix’ rates, significant improvement to our engineers’ productivity, whilst also enabling our engineers to very quickly and accurately order parts and book their own return visits face-to-face with members via their mobile devices.  Additionally, their own core van stock of parts auto-replenishes without anyone having to place orders”.

Paul Allen is an engineer for The AA. Awarded AA Engineer of the Year, he has this to say about PartsArena Pro:

“Using PartsArena Pro has become part of my routine when servicing or repairing appliances to either get part numbers, fault-finding charts or specific servicing routines that certain manufacturers ask for.

The time and money saved by not having to phone manufacturers or merchants for parts numbers or technical information is just one of the benefits of this software. The installation manuals and detailed diagrams make doing the job so much easier, which reduces the time spent on each job, helping you to get more visits completed in your working day.

And you also have the confidence that the part you have ordered will be the correct one as you can see it clearly in the diagrams. Most parts also have a photo in the information to help you identify them accurately. It is great to not have to pick up the phone to order parts or arrange any return visits.”

The provision of PartsArena Pro data and functionality is very much an ongoing process. Improvements and enhancements are introduced at frequent intervals and data updated on a daily, almost real-time basis. This utilises the bespoke Infomill CMS, built in-house. Infomill will continue to work closely with Solarvista to ensure that The AA is receiving the optimum level of service where PartsArena Pro is concerned.