Kinect Services is a thriving business with significant growth since it was established in 2013. Specialising in transport, domiciliary care and training services in Essex and the surrounding areas, the business offers travel services to vulnerable adults and children, in particular, home to school transport.
To support their busy operations, Stuart Smith, Operations Manager, was keen to implement a system to manage all of their transport requirements.
Stuart commented, “I joined Kinect Services last year and I was eager to implement a digital transport management system, as we were just working on spreadsheets. This is manageable for a small number of routes, however we needed a system that could manage things more efficiently as we expanded into new markets and higher journey volumes.”
Stuart continued, “I began by looking at various well-known systems, but they were often just digitalised spreadsheets with reporting capability. We knew we needed a dispatch system with more comprehensive functionality, enabling us to manage our journey planning, dispatch, compliance and reporting.”
With a growing fleet of over 70 vehicles and ambitious growth plans, Stuart discussed that they needed a system that was less basic and had a little more ‘magic and flair’.
“We’re currently responsible for eighty home to school transport routes, but we are expanding into patient transport services. We were keen to work with 365 Response, as we knew that they worked with ambulance trusts, and we could therefore have confidence that they would suit our needs both now and in the future.”
Kinect Services works with a variety of passengers, specialising in vulnerable children and adults, so simplicity of use and total compliance to highly regulated standards were a key factor in their choice to implement the 365 Smart Platform.
“We needed something that offers rich functionality but looks good and is easy for everyone to use. The 365 Smart Platform offered that for us.”
“The system demo was really good, and as soon as I saw the Driver App and Parent App I knew it was exactly what I was looking for – and something I had not managed to find anywhere else. We found similar functionality, but the systems were clunky, not very robust and in need of modernisation.”
Stuart Smith | Operations Manager | Kinect Services
Understanding the needs of their customers is an area where Kinect Services really excel, and Stuart highlighted how improved communications was absolutely integral to the implementation of the software.
“We work closely with all the local authorities that procure our services and they are keen to ensure that parents/carers are always updated with any changes in a timely manner. Using the Parent and Driver Apps will save us valuable time and help us to build confidence with the families that are entrusting us to transport their children to and from school. It is very important to us that we build good relationships with them and provide a high level of service, which in turn, builds a strong, positive reputation for Kinect Services.”
Speaking candidly, Stuart shared that it can result in a particularly bad day for the team at Kinect if there is multiple instances of staff or driver sickness – this has been intensified with the impact of Covid-19. A situation such as this, can be particularly concerning for parents of vulnerable children, such as those who are autistic and rely on familiarity and routine in their day.
Stuart continued, “explaining the changes to parents of vulnerable children over the phone or via email, can be difficult as we know it will have a negative impact on their day and the travel of their child. Using the 365 Smart Platform, we can easily update the driver and vehicle details with photos, so that the parent can immediately start to prepare their child for the change. This is hugely important to us.”
Building and maintaining a positive reputation and strong relationships with all stakeholders is a priority for Kinect Services. Due to the sensitive nature of transporting vulnerable children and adults, it is imperative that service users and families are able to have complete trust in their service. In order to ensure trust and confidence, Stuart and the whole team are focused on important service user engagement. This includes regularly working with the Local Authorities, family forums and schools for community outreach and to create opportunities to interact with parents and children.
“We want to take the time to physically introduce the parents to the app and show them exactly how to use it. We’ll be sharing updates in our newsletter to encourage everyone to use it for their benefit.”
Having always worked with digital systems, it was of high importance to Stuart to bring in a system that could reduce user error and automate processes to better utilise staff time.
“It can be difficult and time consuming to manually scroll through a spreadsheet to make small and frequent changes to schedules or journeys. Using the platform, I know that if the system won’t allow it then it cannot be done, so we are eliminating the possibility of human error.
“Using the 365 Smart Platform, we can automate the process of updating the information so that if there is a change in driver, there is no longer a need to make phone calls and send emails to individually update everyone who needs to know. Instead, automated notifications can quickly share the necessary data with those that need to see it.”
When Stuart first joined Kinect Services, he quickly identified that a crucial area of improvement was the time that was spent answering phone calls, supporting families with queries.
“We have high call volumes due to the nature of the transport that we provide. Communication is key and families require continuous updates sometimes throughout the duration of a journey, depending on the individual need. We wanted to increase and improve the way we communicate, and the messaging facility in the 365 smart platform allows us to do this. As the number of phone calls will be reduced this will significantly improve just how responsive our team are.”
To support the rapidly growing business, Stuart is looking forward to utilising the Compliance Management. Using the comprehensive module, all staff and vehicle compliance can be easily managed in the platform, with convenient reminders and notifications to reduce the manual task of managing large volumes of documentation.
“We have a dedicated training team and all staff begin with a three day induction to cover safeguarding, internal policies and processes as well as business knowledge. We were looking for a system that is able to manage everything in one place and we intend to use the platform as much as possible.”
As a new customer, Kinect Services will benefit from our fully managed onboarding process. Working with Account Manager, Katie Dodgson, all data will be loaded into the 365 Smart Platform and staff will benefit from comprehensive training before they go live.
If you would like to get in touch to discuss how we can help with your transport management, contact us today via [email protected]