With more than 30,000 homes across the West Midlands, WM Housing Group is one of the region’s largest not-for-profit social housing businesses. With a vision to create places where people are proud to live and work, the group structure allows WM Housing Group to combine all the benefits of being a large organisation, with the close connections and capacity to meet customer needs and invest in local communities.
Recognising a need for change
Prior to investing in Promaster Mobile, stock data was collected differently across different parts of the group. Principally, it was a paper-based exercise and data was handled twice before it became useful. This method was considered to be inefficient and open to error. In all instances, different surveyors used different forms and there was not one standard practice. As a result, sometimes opportunities to collect data were overlooked due to the onerous nature of the work. Ultimately, the Group could not afford to miss opportunities to collect stock data. They felt that if things remained as they were, although they would have still delivered stock surveys, they would not have been to the standard or the scale that they are committed to.
What WM Housing Group did
WM Housing Group was looking for a way to enable its existing Stock Surveyor to work more efficiently but also to bolster the effectiveness of its Building Surveyors and Option Appraisals team by giving them the tools to collect data. A move to Promaster Mobile ensured that the same standard of data collection was employed group-wide and it also broadened the exposure of Promaster to local teams. In doing so, it increased the value of Promaster as a key business tool.
The Group was an existing Promaster customer and had already trialled a previous Mobile solution from Promaster. After having recently commissioned a review of its business systems, the decision was made to retain Promaster as the Asset Management Solution. Part of that commitment, and in keeping with a desire to develop mobile working, was to implement Promaster Mobile. WM Housing Group recognised Promaster Mobile as a robust mobile solution with positive user experience. A significant benefit to the Group was the ability to continue working even when a data connection was not available. As some of its sites are remote and rural, any performance issues resulting from a lack of connectivity could offset the anticipated benefits.
Outcomes and benefits
Since adopting our Mobile solution, WM Housing Group has recognised the following value and return on investment:
- Reduced likelihood of data errors
- Ability to verify and validate existing stock data
- Quicker availability of new data for reporting
- Increased productivity
- No requirement to re-key data
- The option to verify and amend asbestos data remotely
- Wider uptake of Stock Surveying and use of Promaster
Neil Warne, Stock Condition Systems Manager at WM Housing Group commented, “For many years Promaster has provided us with the tools needed to manage assets, collect data, and administer projects. The implementation of Promaster Mobile has strengthened our position and helped us add greater credibility to the data we hold. It means that our surveyors can spend more time on site and there is no requirement to handle information more than once. In addition, we have found Promaster Mobile to be a robust and reliable product. Promaster is available in many rural locations and the ability to operate without a permanent data connection allows us to be reassured that all the information collected will be present on our live system.
From a user perspective, all of our surveyors have commented on how user-friendly, logical and uncluttered Promaster Mobile is: if our users are confident with Promaster Mobile we are confident in the data collected.”
Pamela Bell, WM Housing Group’s Account Manager at Orchard, commented on Orchard’s relationship with the Group, saying, “We have enjoyed a strong working relationship with WM Housing since 2004 and it is great to see that mobile working has been embraced and that WM Housing has realised the benefits. As Promaster Mobile is now fully embedded, we are looking forward to helping WM Housing to interface its core business systems with Promaster in the near future too.”