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Improving cost control and operational efficiency

Guinness PartnershipOne of the UK’s largest Affordable Housing and Care providers in the UK, The Guinness Partnership Ltd can trace its roots back to 1890 and the donation of £200,000 by Sir Edward Guinness to set up a fund for providing safe, affordable housing to the working class.
Through its 125-year history, the Partnership has grown to manage over 60,000 homes across the UK, housing 120,000 residents. In 2002, it acquired a maintenance and repairs organisation, City Response Ltd, to manage the increasing demand for repair, maintenance and improvement services. City Response has now been incorporated into the wider group and employs over 430 maintenance staff across the UK managing responsive and planned jobs as well as voids works to minimise empty housing stock.

The business challenge

Originally tasked with maintaining the Partnership’s stock across the North-West from its Oldham base, Guinness Property now has bases as geographically dispersed as Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes and Exeter.
Managing growth at this scale, and maintaining total control over costs, stock and staffing is a challenge for any business, but one which Guinness Property needed to tackle if they were to ensure continued good service to their housing tenants while ensuring operational efficiency.
As well as these significant operational challenges, The Guinness Property team also needed to implement a cultural change that accompanied a move from an external contractor focussed on revenue generation, to an internal resource with cost control targets.

A long-term relationship

Guinness PartnershipFor many, this would have been a daunting task. Having worked with Guinness Property since 2006, when we helped the company progress from a paper-based stock control system and a separate job management platform, InterNETalia understood the business, its people and the challenges they needed to overcome.

Over the last ten years, we’ve worked directly with Guinness staff and other suppliers to deliver solutions to the team’s problems, building specific functionality to enable Guinness Property’s 436 operations staff do their job more efficiently than ever before and for managers to track stock, costs and turnaround times down to the individual job. Throughout this relationship, our support staff have built intimate knowledge of the Guinness business over the years. Because of this, we have been able to work closely with Guinness to ensure their operational goals were met.

"AccuServ’s real strength has come in their willingness to fix anything. They have worked with us and with other partners to help us overcome operational challenges and I know that I can pick up the phone to them at any moment and get the help I need immediately."
Phil Royales, Head of Responsive and Void
Maintenance, Guinness Property


Outcome

The rollout of AccuServ across the national property portfolio necessitated a significant amount of integration, data collection and training. This included retraining staff in the Havant office on an AccuServ platform that had been acquired separately some years earlier but never used. Now fully integrated across all sites, Guinness Property and their tenants are reaping the benefits of AccuServ, with job completion rates rising from an average of 3 to over 4.5 per day per engineer. This is achieved by arming field engineers with mobile devices that enable them to see all their jobs for the day and the tools and equipment they’re likely to need, enabling them to make less visits to base or to suppliers, more productive time on site and less return visits.

Aside from the clear cost advantages of a more productive team of engineers, Guinness are able to pinpoint areas of wastage and potential improvement through AccuServ’s detailed cost reporting functionality.

The future for Guinness and AccuServ

With a move to Version 19 on the horizon, Guinness Property are already looking forward to the even greater analytic features available in the latest version of the platform. With real-time move to real-time cost tracking and the ability to identify every P.O item of stock and man-hours back to an individual job, Guinness will soon be able to report and track real job costs against price per property targets at each of their 60,000 properties across the UK.