Wellingborough Homes is a not for profit housing association set up to meet the housing needs of people across the borough of Wellingborough in Northamptonshire and surrounding areas. Managing over 4,500 homes the social landlord's mission is to successfully work with its customers and communities to provide great services and high quality living environments.
Wellingborough Homes has been a client of PIMSS Data Systems since 2008 and was a long-term user of the company's asset management system, PIMSS Asset Management (PIMSS).
Due to wholesale staff changes at the organisation over a number of years, there was uncertainty among a new user group as to how to utilise the PIMSS system and as such, investment planning and asset management data relating to cyclical compliance was being manually recorded in spreadsheets. They had also invested in a new mobile application for on-site data collection, PanConnect from Housing Insight, and needed to be able to integrate this with the PIMSS system, as their existing method of extracting data from PanConnect onto spreadsheets and manually loading these into PIMSS was labour intensive and time consuming.
In addition, Wellingborough Homes identified issues with the interpretation of data between its Orchard Housing Management application and the PIMSS system.
All these issues placed a heavy administration burden on the organisation and a loss in productivity. In addition, Wellingborough Homes was becoming increasingly concerned that their existing processes and management of data was not giving the organisation the accuracy it required in order to make informed decisions regarding the management, maintenance and investment in its housing stock.
Mark Wenborn, Applications Specialist at Wellingborough Homes, takes up the story: "The amount of time it was taking to import and validate data was killing our productivity. The lack of integration with our new PanConnect system, and discrepancies in data between our housing management and asset management systems, meant we weren't getting an accurate view of our housing stock. We were also extremely concerned about meeting our compliance responsibilities. Something had to change and fast."
A meeting was arranged in September 2016 at the request of Mike Killeen, the recently appointed Asset Manager for Wellingborough Homes, in order to explore the full capabilities of PIMSS and to understand if they could use the system more effectively than they were.
As soon as PIMSS Data Systems was aware that Wellingborough Homes was having issues, the first thing that the company did was to hold a workshop to understand what the challenges were, to explain the capabilities of the PIMSS system and to put in place an action plan to rectify the situation.
Mike Killeen recalls: "We quickly realised that, due to nobody's fault, we were not using the PIMSS system, never mind to its full capability, and that it could handle everything that we needed it to. To be honest this was an immense relief as it meant that we didn't have to go out to tender and incur the time and expense this involves."
PIMSS Data Systems undertook a series of training sessions involving 20 staff from across Wellingborough Homes including property surveyors, heating surveyors, property technicians, asset managers and asset compliance officers.
In addition, they engaged with Housing Solutions to create an interface mechanism to ensure that the data captured by the PanConnect mobile application was validated and converted correctly before being automatically imported into the PIMSS system without the need for manual intervention.
PIMSS Data Systems also provided a solution to the issues Wellingborough were having with their Orchard Housing interface.
In the PIMSS system, Wellingborough Homes now has a central register of asset data for accurate analysis and planning, leading to informed decision making about maintenance and investment. The social landlord also has a system for managing compliance, reducing risk to tenants and improving governance.
Cyclical field testing is now carried out with ease, with data fed back into the central database. The organisation is now confident on reporting on compliance with gas safety, electrical services, emergency lighting, fire equipment and system servicing, hot water solar systems, lift servicing, lightening protection, smoke vent and Mansafe system servicing all provided for.
Following the training the relevant staff are making better use of the Planning and Contracts modules of the PIMSS system, which in turn is resulting in higher productivity due to smoother workflows, automation of processes and more effective use of people and resources. The PIMSS system is scalable and flexible and able to respond to changes in organisational infrastructure and working practices, thus offering Wellingborough Homes a system that can adapt to their future requirements.
Data gathered using the PanConnect app by Wellingborough Homes' surveyors is sent from mobile devices out in the field to the PIMSS system without the need for manual intervention, resulting in more accurate data gathering, management and reporting.
The interface between the Orchard and PIMSS systems creates an accurate picture of the exact asset situation leading to more informed decision making regarding management and investment.
Mike Killeen concludes: "We're now very happy with the PIMSS system. Almost one third of the people who should have used the system didn't but this has now changed thanks to the training and we're utilising the full functionality of the PIMSS system with so with more assurance. We are confident in the accuracy of the data, are making more informed decisions and now have a system that will continue to grow and adapt as we change as an organisation."