In the second post in our case study series highlighting company innovations and core competencies, we focus on the effective management of the multi-site roll out process. First impressions count when working with a new customer; it is important that the new relationship starts positively. The roll out process, therefore, needs to be done professionally with little or no disruption to the customer’s day-to-day operations. Not everyone likes change but taking ownership of the change process is what we do best.
RP Adam (Arpal Group) have a long history of working with multi-site customers especially in the hospitality and residential care sectors. This type of customer, quite rightly, demands a level of service where it matters most – something we thrive on.
Over the last three years, our approach to mobilising large nationals has allowed us to build up a strong portfolio of more than 1,000 care homes spread across the UK, mostly within groups. Taken together, the hospitality & care sectors represent a growing proportion of our business (60% of UK turnover) as we continue to enhance our reputation as specialists to these sectors. Large scale operators in both sectors require a consistent and reliable service when it comes to the cleanliness of guest or resident accommodation, kitchens and laundry services.
For the care home sector, the need is for high volume laundry, kitchen and housekeeping products with most of the core products being auto-dosed through electronic or manual dosing systems. These require to be professionally fitted by qualified technicians in a timely manner without affecting the day-to-day operation of the home.
We fully understand the pressure that care homes face when looking after vulnerable residents 24-hours a day, seven days-a-week. It is essential that we do not disrupt the harmony of the home, ensuring continuity of day-to-day operations.
A key part of our role is to manage the smooth transition of removing the incumbent supplier’s equipment, the subsequent roll out of our own products and equipment at every location. All within a set time period.
In carrying out this role, we always treat the outgoing supplier (our competitor) with respect. Certain chemical suppliers will simply dump outgoing equipment. This is extremely wasteful. The equipment has value, can be refurbished and used again. By contrast, we carefully remove competitors’ equipment, box it up, label it and inform the customer to advise the outgoing supplier to pick it up. It should not simply be dumped in a skip.
In order to ensure high standards across all sites, we agree a clear mobilisation strategy. Based on our longstanding experience in these projects, proper planning and communication with our own service and operations team is crucial.
Each new site is set up in our CRM system and allocated a Customer Service Representative (CSR) responsible for the set-up, training and continuing service of the site. To ensure continuity and exceptional customer service assured, it is important that the person responsible for the initial roll-out also takes responsibility for the long-term service of the site.
Sites are also logged into our automated planning system enabling us to plan the initial surveys, calculating the number and types of dosing equipment required and the subsequent roll-out schedule. A one size fits all approach does not work as each site is different.
Surveys and installations are run on a rolling basis to ensure that we cover mobilisation requirements within an agreed time period.
It is also important that large roll out programme do not adversely affect our business call commitments with existing customers. Each month, we make over 5,000 service calls with our service KPIs showing that we adhere to our promises.
Equipment needs to be ordered and delivered from the manufacturer, engineering contractors need to be booked and staff need to be briefed. The new customer needs to be kept fully informed at all stages, assured that they are in safe hands and fully confident in our capability to deliver.
A Hospitality Example
One of the most challenging of our multi-site roll outs was for a budget hotel with over 500 locations. We surveyed and installed over 2,000 manual pumps, 250 automatic dosing units for dishwasher and trained thousands of staff all within an 8 week period.
Steve Lay, Head of Field Service for RP Adam Ltd says:
“The secret to getting these programme completed on time and in full is by centralising communication channels operationally and developing experienced local teams of organisers and implementers. Thankfully, we have a very experienced team, both at head office and in the field. We can rely on every member of the operations and service team to do his or her task properly. Of course you cannot underestimate the power of developing good personal relationship at this very early stage of the client journey. Our team understands the importance of this only too well. Problems get solved much easier between friends than enemies.”
During each survey, our CSRs conduct a stock take of all existing supplier chemicals advising how long these will last in order that the client does not waste money.
As surveys are received at our head office, requirements are logged and an installation and training date scheduled covering initial chemical stocks, equipment, marketing and support materials including buying guides, product alternative guides, product catalogues, wall-charts, product guidance and safety sheets.
The dates are then logged onto the mobilisation document along with the team required to carry out the installation and training. Sites are contacted by email or telephone to book the installation and training dates with jobs being raised with electrical engineers to fit all dishwasher and laundry dosing units on the agreed dates.
Just to make sure that we minimise abortive calls, we also use an automated phone text system to advise the site of the impending go live dates 48 hours before mobilisation.
An order is raised with our distributor partner to ship all start-up chemical types and quantities. These are normally delivered to sites two days before the scheduled installation.
The mobilisation document is kept up-to-date and sent to client management on a weekly basis to ensure that all key members of client staff are kept informed of progress. Many of these types of businesses have regional managers, so it is important that they are kept in the loop, not just the senior central purchasing and operations managers.
Our approach to roll out strategy and management means that electrical engineers are available to install electrical dosing systems; that our CSRs are fully briefed, organised and available to attend all sites on the agreed installation date fitting manual pumps and induction, training all departments in a timely and professional manner, ensuring that site staff members are happy with our work before we leave.
We also speed things up considerably by our clients using our online chemical safety e-learning module which covers COSHH.
Our mobilisation planning means we are able to work efficiently covering the required tasks at a time convenient for each new customer, including staff training.
Because staff are not used to new brands or equipment, we always call back seven days later to ensure everything is in working order and that staff are happy with the products and systems.
The site in question is then slotted into the contractual call frequency which can be monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly, depending on the size of the outlet and the client’s requirements.
Within this roll-out plan, we ensure that all equipment is tagged with our RFID asset management system. Moving forward, this means that there is a clear record of each sites stock and equipment levels which can then be maintained and updated at each future visit.
Head of Supply Chain at Barchester Healthcare says:
“Management of the roll-out programme by RP Adam was executed brilliantly. From clear communication at every stage, to forward planning each site launch and service visit, we felt that the team knew exactly what was happening every step of the way.”