We spoke with Lyndsey Farquhar, Facilities Manager and Christopher Oldland, Logistics Manager about their requirements and the process of putting a solution in place which will provide them with valuable data and allow them to create efficiencies.
The chat began with a discussion about finding a solution that fit with their requirements, and their hopes for the system…
Firstly, Lindsey, Chris, thank you so much for agreeing to do this. We really appreciate your time! I’d like to start with the basics, so how long have you been using our Courier module?
Chris: We’ve had access to the system for about six weeks now.
How did you search for an appropriate solution for your team? Was it a lengthy process?
Chris: There wasn’t a search in the traditional sense, as we had already discussed the possibility of using 365 Response for something similar around three or four years ago, so a long time ago now! Lack of funding put the project on hold for a while, but recently we were told that everything was back on track after your investment win and we jumped at the chance to work with you guys again. The software can provide all aspects of what we need, which is great for us as it means we can use one solution instead of a combination of different ones.
That’s great to hear! I know you’ve touched on this a bit already, but how does the module fit your requirements? Are you able to do what you’d like to do with it?
Chris: It looks like we could do a lot more than we had planned to do. There’s a lot that we’ve not really been able to start using yet because we don’t have all of the data prepared, but I believe in the future it will be able to keep up with what we need to use it for. We’ll be able to expand into it rather than having to try and get it to work for us. It’s already got everything that we would need in it, we just have to find out which bits work best for us!
Lyndsey: Overall, the 365 Smart Platform is going to help us implement a completely new way of working. At the moment, with the transport distribution service, we’re using it to replicate the way we’ve been working for quite some time. That’s going to help us understand where we’re putting our effort, where we’ve got time-wasting, and then we can start improving our service. It’s going to be very useful from that point of view to help us if, for example, we need additional resources and vehicles, it will help us with business cases because it will show us a true reflection of what we’re doing at the moment and then we can use that data to expand in the future.
Next, we discussed the ease of introducing the new way of working to the operational team…
How have you found introducing the Courier module to the team? Did they find it relatively easy to use?
Chris: The Courier Module is easy to use. The team didn’t need any comprehensive training, they felt they got a good understanding of the system from the video training that was provided by 365 Response. The App is simple to use and follows a logical flow, so it is all very straightforward. We can put lots of detail into the job from the logistics side of the system, but only the information that is relevant to the driver is shown. It tells them where to go and what to press.
Lyndsey: I quite like that about the system to be honest! Those tailored views. It’s very clear that the drivers only see the things they need to be able to see. They’re not cluttered by lots of information that’s not relevant to them. That very much helps with getting on with the job, as they’re not trying to work out what not to press, if you like. So many people try and do too many things with the same bit of software without considering the user, but I don’t believe that’s the case here, it’s really well done. It’s definitely helpful.
What’s been the easiest part of the process so far?
Chris: 365 Response have been really helpful getting us set up on the platoform, and any advice that we’ve needed through Jodie (our Account Manager) has been really good. She’s been really keen to get it up and running as quickly as she can but without rushing us through it, and she makes sure we’re comfortable with each stage. The 2-day training that we completed was really detailed, but at a good pace that allowed us to get to grips with the system. We were also able to work on our system alongside the training, so we could see our information in it and figure out how it would work for us once training was finished.
Lyndsey: It’s not been a difficult thing to learn at all. As Chris said before, it’s going to expand as we expand this service, so I’m confident that we won’t need a different package to do the extras, I’m convinced this is definitely going to be able to do everything we need.
Is there a feature that you consider to be the most useful? Or a benefit that’s more noticeable than others?
Chris: For us, it is being able to track all of our jobs. You get a good idea of how long everything takes on each part of the journey, rather than just knowing that a journey between A, B, C and D takes two hours. We know exactly how long each leg of that journey takes which highlights how we can adapt that journey to be more efficient. You could start with ‘D’ and work your way back around for example, as it might work out quicker after seeing which part of that journey takes the longest. Moving forward I think it is going to be important for us to look at a more efficient way of doing the same trips that we’re doing now. Also, being able to see things like if we’ve already been to a location three times that day, because then we can look at combining all of those journeys into one, instead of splitting them up.
Lyndsey: That’s why we decided to implement it based on what we’re doing at the moment because we want to know that information. We want to have demonstrable efficiencies, and we want to know for certain that we’re doing things in the best order, and you can’t do that until you start from the benchmark of what you were doing before! It’s been a good exercise for us to replicate it, and I know we will see inefficiencies, but I’m excited about seeing them, which is weird, but I am! Not just fixing them, but just knowing that they’re there. We’ve never had access to this kind of data before!
Okay, last question, although you’ve already been quite lovely with your comments about the team! How would you describe your overall experience working with 365 Response?
Chris: It’s been really good. Professional, helpful. Definitely.
Lyndsey: Jodie has been an excellent Project Manager! I’ve worked with a lot of them in the past on digital systems as it is my specialty, and she has made it feel extremely simple from our side. Jodie explained everything in a very structured way, and she’s very clear about what steps need to be taken before guiding us through them. We didn’t feel like our weekly project meetings were in any way out of control. She knew exactly what she needed to ask, she had her finger on the pulse at all times, and she listened to us as individuals and factored things in, like staff sickness or delays. She stayed on the ball and constantly helped us keep moving forward. I can’t sing her praises highly enough, to be honest, Jodie’s been amazing! We’ll be gutted when our contract is handed over once we go live, we’ll miss her.
We’re very grateful to have Jodie on the team! Thank you both for your time, we’re so pleased we’re able to support Greater Manchester Mental Health and its services.