Sarah Whitaker

Office Manager

Sarah Whitaker is office Manager at Mila Maintenance and Installation. Her 17 years at the company make her one of the longest serving members of the team, and the projects she has managed during that time has seen the company evolve into a highly efficient organisation managing over 600 individual jobs per week.

Evolving our processes and procedures is quite literally a never-ending journey

Sarah Whitaker is office Manager at Mila Maintenance and Installation. Her 17 years at the company make her one of the longest serving members of the team, and the projects she has managed during that time has seen the company evolve into a highly efficient organisation managing over 600 individual jobs per week.

When I first came to the company I was a part of the administration team, booking jobs in with residents and ensuring that our engineers had all the details they needed to carry out the works. It was a process which gave us a level of control and efficiency which is so necessary in this line of business.

“We always knew the resident was already in a state of some distress, so we had to attend when we said we would"

We always knew that when we were going to a job the resident was already in a state of some distress – a door lock not working, a window not locking, or a sealed unit broken – so we knew we had to attend when we said we would, take the correct parts, and do the job we needed to do. We could not add to their stress by failing in any of these areas.

In those days we were dealing with smaller quantities of jobs, now it is a minimum of 600 each and every week. The lessons we learnt in those early days has stood us in good stead for the scale of the business as it is today, and my role has also evolved considerably. Understanding the needs of the residents helped me to develop a ‘first time fix’ mentality with the team – ensuring that they had everything they needed to make just a single visit to the resident’s home. It was driven from a desire to give outstanding customer service, and to be efficient both for ourselves and for our clients. It has worked really well and is something we focus heavily on every time we receive a job to complete.

Developing processes has become a major part of my role in the business, and it has brought great variety to the job, from setting up an arm of the business to respond to the ‘pinking’ discolouration issue experienced by PVCu systems houses in the 1980s and 1990s, to developing and rolling out a major IT infrastructure programme to help manage the business and future-proof it for the challenges ahead.

“We have future-proofed the business for the challenges ahead”

As a part of this all our engineers now all work with hand-held devices to receive instruction and record the works they have completed, uploading the detail to a system which reports on the business activity, and invoices the clients. It is a fully integrated business management tool and one which I am proud to have played a major part in – I think back to Chris France’s early experiences with one not very mobile phone between three engineers, times have definitely changed!

Most recently I was a part of the team responsible for acquiring a competitor business, transferring all the staff, setting up a new office in Folkestone and novating five major contracts from their existing clients. It was another great challenge and typical of the model of Mila Maintenance and Installation that we don’t stand still. We are always looking to improve, evolve, innovate and find new ways of trying to support our clients and their residents.

After 17 years I see no end in sight to the opportunities to play a part in evolving the business and I am delighted to be so involved.

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