As service providers to the Housing Association sector for nearly 30 years now we have always been taken by what seems to be a never ending drive from the product supply chain to innovate new ideas and launch new products.
In my view the sector supply chain is to be congratulated for understanding that things can never stay the same, that even the best and most reliable products can and indeed need to be enhanced to deliver better results for the residents into whose homes they go.
Nothing stands still – there is always something more that can be done, and as a service provider into the same sector I firmly believe that this applies to us equally.
On the surface of it our performance levels to the residents of the many housing association clients we service is good – we operate at over 98% on time delivery, we service our priority one emergency call outs on time every time, and we provide excellent customer service. Good – but what can we do better?
Late last year we introduced a new measure into our business – First Time Fix – designed to tell us how many times we were able to complete a job at the first time of asking. The driver for introducing this was to make us more resident friendly – people are always happy when a repair is completed but they want to see you once, not three and four times before the work is completed – and to make us more efficient in the way we assess the specification of the products we need to procure and how we procure them.
Directly out of this has been improvements – reductions – in the number of visits we make to resident’s homes. At the outset of a contract we are working through the finest detail of specification with our clients to understand the products which they originally installed, and we are working with our suppliers to identify suitable products to replace them if, as is often the case in our field the original products are now obsolete.
It has been a great exercise and as a direct consequence we are now developing formal partnership programmes with our supply chain in which we don’t just buy products, but where we share information and technical knowledge, we undertake an on-going programme of technical training for our staff, and we share best practice. Anything which makes our delivery to the residents of the clients we work with better, smoother, and more efficient is time well spent in our eyes.
This is just one aspect of the innovative culture which we have engendered at Mila Window and Door Maintenance. We are working on other initiatives too and in March we will launch a new booking system which will enable residents to register their repairs directly with us. We have worked with our clients on this and developed the software and the customer support offering specifically to service their needs.
It will mean that the whole timeframe for carrying out repairs from the point at which a resident reports a fault to the time we complete the job will be reduced significantly. Our clients welcome this enhanced support which will ultimately deliver a better service for them; their residents get their repairs completed even quicker; and we continue to push our business forward with the same innovative drive as the many product suppliers who put their goods into the sector.