Otter South West Limited’s plumbing and heating contractors started as an in-store-based business, but have started offering service maintenance as well. The company has a local authority contract for service and maintenance, and also works with estate agents, letting agents, and private customers.
Knowing they’d need a system to help them streamline jobs, Otter South West Limited’s directors gathered information on providers from the internet, called four of them, narrowed it down to two—and chose Commusoft.
‘We believed it was going to be the more user-friendly package,’ says Martin Conlon, Director of Otter Services. It was visually more understandable—it’s easy enough for non-IT specialists to actually get their head around it and build as they go along—and the mobile package with it was very quick and efficient for the guys to use out in the field.’
Optimising the Day-to-Day
Before Commusoft, Otter South West Limited was using a paper-based system and an Apple diary for managing jobs. It was fine when the company was smaller, but it did create a lot of extra paper—and a lot of extra work.
‘We had to produce the job sheet, transport the job sheet manually to somebody who’s then fitting out a job and transporting it back to you manually, put that through the invoicing process, and load it onto the database so people know it’s been done and so it alerts you the next year,’ explains Conlon. ‘Whereas what we have with Commusoft is a single process: Once you put it on the system, everything just follows through.’
Reaching Beyond the Store
Otter South West Limited has a store that engineers can draw most parts from. It’s an easy process, but one that won’t support the company as it grows. So the directors are busy building a spreadsheet of parts they can upload to Commusoft, which will make parts management more efficient when Otter South West Limited is at the point where they need to source parts from external suppliers. Then, Commusoft’ simple parts management feature will let them track, manage, and automatically invoice for parts.
Mastering the Schedule
Scheduling may be the area where Commusoft is handiest for Otter South West Limited. Before Commusoft, says Conlon, the process looked like this: “First you had to do go into one database to find out what to do the next month by filtering them by due date. You’d then produce X number of individual letters, you’d post the letters, and you’d receive the calls and schedule the jobs.”
Otter South West Limited has now gone from slow to fast: They’re using Commusoft to quickly choose which engineer to send to which job based on their skill set, manage the engineers’ diaries, and manage their workload. Commusoft also makes it easy to automatically send reminders to customers when their services are due, eliminating the need to filter the database manually and send letters individually.
Accounting for Change
Otter South West Limited’s invoicing has also gotten easier. Using the example of a simple boiler service, Conlon says, “The minute we put it into Commusoft, it’s automated for an immediate job—from getting the engineer, through to invoicing and chasing up to make sure everything is paid and settled.’ And because it integrates with their Xero app, they know the project is in there, ready for the next year.
Aiming to Grow
Conlon can’t say how many engineers Otter South West Limited will be taking on; how large they’ll grow depends on the workload they get. “And that’s the thing about Commusoft,’ says Conlon. ‘It does give you flexibility for the package to grow with you as a business.’