Golden Gates Housing Trust has completed its main implementation of voids and repairs management software from Footprint Solutions.

Footprint’s Works Connect solution was initially implemented within the housing provider’s voids team, on the basis that if it could be made to work amid the complexity of voids, typically involving multiple tradespeople working at the same time, it could then be easily rolled out to other areas.

Works Connect is a service, project and asset management solution designed to keep projects and costs on track from start to finish. The software can be used to generate fast, accurate estimates to maximise remote worker productivity and efficiency.

Golden Gates will initially use Works Connect to plan jobs, provide tradespeople with information on current workloads and allow them to upload data sent by the mobile operatives working on the jobs. The software can also be used to order supplies and manage the costing and accounting of work carried out.

The housing provider typically has 30-40 voids at any one time; these need to be repaired where necessary and turned around as quickly as possible. With Works Connect, Golden Gates has been able to speed up the process by removing much of the paperwork and reduced unnecessary trips to its head office.

Zoe Wrench, customer service advisor, Golden Gates Housing Trust, said “The voids team was a good test to stretch the capabilities of Works Connect which easily handled the complex work carried out by our operatives. Historically, the voids team worked solely on paper which was time consuming because they had to return to the office to file information on the system; this sometimes meant they were making multiple return visits per day.

“We also have the ability to monitor a job from start to finish and when the work is complete, the system will automatically cost the job. From a voids perspective, it’s given us a lot more information than we had before.”

Golden Gates’ operatives have embraced Works Connect due to its simplicity and seamless integration with existing back office systems. Other benefits have included reduced fuel costs, shorter completion times and less wastage.

Shaun McDermott, empty homes manager, Golden Gates, said, “In the past, if we had a tradesperson that encountered a problem which meant they couldn’t complete the job, they would have had to have brought the paperwork back before it could be resolved. Now we can take that work and allocate it elsewhere without causing significant delays.”

Prior to the use of Works Connect, Golden Gates completed 285 voids in an average 18 days (June-October 2014). Since June 2015, it has managed to complete 356 voids in an average 16 days.

Golden Gates has now begun to roll out Works Connect to its programmed works team, with the responsive repairs team to follow afterwards.

John Sant, CEO, Footprint Solutions, said, “Works Connect is a feature-rich business management tool designed from the ground up for the trade and service industry. Because we understand the way trade companies operate, we’ve covered every aspect, from estimating budgets and project management to service delivery.”

Peter Fitzhenry, director of housing, Golden Gates, said, “Void repairs require a significant degree of preparation to ensure tradespeople are carrying out tasks in a timely and cost-effective manner. Having implemented Works Connect for voids management, we intend to extend its use to all planned works and responsive repairs.

“Furthermore, due to the framework agreement we have with Footprint, we’ve been able to bypass our usual procurement processes and purchase Works Connect at a fixed price with minimal hassle or delay.”

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