"Our 500 mobile workers throughout Europe are managed 24/7/365 via the platform, helping us to continually deliver superior performance over our competitors"
- ANTHONY OWEN, CEO
A frontier step that has "transformed the way we do business and the service we offer our customers".
VPS Group are the European specialists in securing, maintaining and managing vacant property and construction sites. Employing over 1200 members of staff across 8 countries, VPS carry out over 350,000 work orders per annum across a range of job types from grounds maintenance to site security.
VPS Group were using a number of back office IT systems, Excel spreadsheets and paper for generating work schedules for their mobile workers. Manual planning processes, and a lack of centralised visibility on planning operations led to inefficient ways of working.
A platform for planning
Anthony Owen is the CEO of VPS UK. In 2014 VPS were gearing up for an aggressive growth plan and eventual sale of the business. Over a number of years, VPS had purchased a number of similar service management businesses across Europe - all using different systems and planning using different tools.
Anthony, along with his Group CTO, began a project to bring all these different working and planning practices together to create a coherent, optimal planning solution.
Helping design the future
We were chosen by Anthony and VPS' board following a robust procurement process. We knew that the primary problems facing Anthony were lack of consistency in data capture and planning and lack of visibility of processes. A core, in-house, ERP system ran the back office function and was a major constraint to the transformation project we were running - as was bringing together the planning function from the different disconnected functions across businesses and territories. The goals were ambitious, but we knew that our approach, long term partnership and innovative technology could help drive customer service levels up and operating costs down.
Ready to transform and optimise
We worked with Anthony and the Group CTO's team that built a process plan for transformation around VPS' business and our a2b Pathway Process. We worked with operational teams across multiple territories to develop a robust integration, development and rollout plan. We suggested the implementation of an array of technologies from handheld applications for managing jobs in the field, to optimisation and planning visualisation tools for each depot planning team. We prototyped a number of algorithms and optimisation solutions using our Rubix Optimisation Engine to automatically plan and route VPS Group's UK Inspection business, incorporating route and trip optimisation.
Supporting future growth
We began rollout of the transformation suite over a number of months, rolling out on a country by country then depot by depot basis. VPS Group benefited immediately from enhanced visibility of work and better decision making support for planners. Centralised planning and operations members were able to see work orders across multiple locations and depots, leading to opportunities to minimise costs by sharing resources. The rollout of our solution was a key component that continues to support the growth of the organisation across Europe.