Fryer supplier moves mobile workforce fully online
Founded in 1957, Hopkins is a family-owned catering equipment manufacturer based on the outskirts of Leeds. It specialises in the manufacture and maintenance of fish and chip shop fryers and other commercial catering equipment.
The firm’s UK service team includes refrigeration, plumbing, gas fitting and electrical engineers, who install and service equipment located on customer premises across the length and breadth of Britain. It operates a fleet of 17 service vehicles, each of which is fitted with the BigChange mobile computer. Many of its customers are small, independent fish and chip shops, however it also works with schools, hotels and large restaurant chains, and recently added extra service capacity to support Harry Ramsden’s nationwide expansion plans.
Hopkins is one of a growing number of smaller businesses to become more efficient and eliminate paper across its mobile workforce by using the JobWatch system. Initially trialled with two crews, Hopkins decided to move its entire mobile workforce onto the JobWatch system within a month.
Its engineers now use the same rugged mobile computer installed in their vehicles for satellite navigation and vehicle tracking, to communicate with the back office, access up-to-the-minute job schedules and complete job specific electronic worksheets.
“We can plot the best route for getting to customers and avoid delays by navigating around traffic hotspots.”
“BigChange saves us a lot of time and hassle. You know engineers will get important messages without having to talk while driving or interrupt another job. It is saving our back office team up to two hours a day,” said Chris Hopkins, Managing Director at Hopkins. “We can plot the best route for getting to customers and avoid delays by navigating around traffic hotspots.”
“It improves our operational processes. We can see where our engineers are in real time and what they are working on, meaning we can allocate the best placed, suitably qualified technician. Our people are put to more productive use, they spend less time on administration and more on delivering value.”
“Our customer service has improved out of sight. We can allocate jobs immediately, even on route, and tell customers exactly when our engineer will arrive. Our engineers arrive fully armed with the right information, documentation and work management applications to guide and record progress on each job.”
Easier life for back office teams
Hopkins used to generate a huge pile of paperwork. By moving its existing business processes online it eliminated paperwork and many administrative tasks. The business is now operating more efficiently and more focused on delivering direct value to clients. The firm is able to complete and book jobs out in real time. Drivers don’t need to return paperwork to the office to complete the job, which means we can invoice for work immediately it is completed.
Manage business on a mobile phone
“JobWatch is a brilliant management tool,” added Chris Hopkins. “It allows us to pick up trends in service data that we can study to improve operational performance. Timesheet, stock control and turnaround time data can be analysed, all are getting better.”
“Working with BigChange has been brilliant for us. We’ve had direct access to the development team, which has worked tirelessly to make the product work exactly as we need it. When we’ve suggested things we’d like, they’ve built them. If there is a problem they solve it straight away. That hasn’t always been the case with bigger telematics firms we’ve worked with in the past.”
“If there is a problem they solve it straight away. That hasn’t always been the case with bigger telematics firms we’ve worked with in the past.”
“I love the control it provides over the business. We can manage the entire mobile workforce from a computer, tablet or even mobile phone, without being pedantic.”
Administrators can access JobWatch from their own personal computers, tablets and mobile phones. They do not need to visit the office to schedule emergency jobs. This year, for the first time, Hopkins engineers will also be able to base themselves at home when on call over Christmas.
“Environmental and efficiency savings are close to our hearts. Operating a super-efficient, paperless mobile workforce management system enables us to calculate the best routes and timings, minimise the administrative burden and fit in more jobs each week. Our record keeping is more reliable and available in real time,” added Chris Hopkins.
“Although we are quite specialised in what we do, the challenges we face managing a mobile workforce will be common to many businesses. It’s great to know that the new software applications we’ve helped develop will be used to benefit other businesses too.”
About Hopkins Catering Equipment
Hopkins is a family-owned catering equipment manufacturer specialising in the production and maintenance of fish and chip shop fryers and other commercial catering equipment. One of the most experienced and reputable companies in the world of catering equipment, Hopkins has combined the best modern technology with traditional craftsmanship for over 50 years. www.hopkins.biz
BigChange is a rapidly growing technology business led by Martin Port, the award winning entrepreneur who previously built and sold the UK’s largest vehicle telematics business. BigChange’s complete, outof-the-box JobWatch system integrates timesheets, driver pre-use checks, expenses, jobs, stock and workflow management linked to vehicle tracking, satellite navigation and messaging services on a rugged touchscreen mobile computer. It significantly reduces the cost of mobile computing and enables any business with transport, fleet or field service operators to eliminate paperwork and run more efficiently.