Pobl, Welsh for people, was created as a result of a merger between Group Gwalia and the Seren group, to create what is now Wales’ largest housing association. The group also provide a wide range of care and support services and collectively manage just shy of 12,000 general needs properties with a further 4,000 units of student accommodation across Wales.
The transformation programme has delivered over £1m per annum savings and created a platform for the next phase of change. A new, dedicated asset management service is making excellent inroads into dealing with void homes. This has avoided £1,084,730 of investment costs and removed £382,834 negative net present value from the business plan. New supply chain contracts are in place providing a streamlined subcontract process and delivering financial savings, the largest contract seeing annual savings of approximately £700,000.
The group wanted to unlock the benefits that the merger could deliver and develop a business transformation plan that aligned services to their customers’ needs. Working alongside Pobl, Vantage have helped reshape the repairs and maintenance operating model, including a restructure of the assets team and implementing the right project infrastructure to put the customer at the heart of service delivery.
“The team at Pobl worked in collaboration with Vantage to formulate and deliver a business transformation plan that allows us to marry up business needs with customer requirements. This approach has allowed us to offer a far more practical, robust service to customers. Vantage’s help and expertise enabled us to work together in redesigning and implementing our service approach.”
Project In Detail
The geographical spread and diverse nature of Pobl’s stock presented challenges for their team. They were operating two distinct repairs teams, with different systems and ways of working while service delivery was inconsistent and reactive. Soon after the merger, the existing lead contractor Pobl had been using to deliver repairs and maintenance pulled out of the West Wales region. A clearer vision was needed for the repairs service to ensure it was strategic and proactive using intuitive stock intelligence. With this in mind, Vantage were appointed as strategic advisors and developed a bespoke transformation strategy in collaboration with the Pobl team.
Our Solution: Transforming Assets
Having a modern and efficient in-house operation was a fundamental element of the new vision as well as the procurement of an external gas supplier and a review of the supply chain.
Vantage put a framework in place for the change programme including development of key milestones and priorities, appraised each area to assess insource vs outsource options and reviewed the delivery models. Each repair type and volume were analysed along with a training assessment and skills analysis.
Vantage helped Pobl shape the restructure required post-merger and to recruit a new management team along with an Assets Director. This helped to provide strategic direction and focus for the new look organisation, creating and implementing a clear forward-looking strategy for asset management. Vantage provided a series of tools and workshop style training to help the new teams establish transparency, key points of contact and improve processes. This included the implementation of a new process framework and improving responsibility and accountability using organisational change models and tools.
As a result of the merger, Pobl Trades has expanded to cover the group and the materials supply chain was reviewed in conjunction with Pobl’s procurement team to cover the range of materials now required. In addition, Pobl Trades needed to subcontract around 30% of the service and wanted to support local contractors whilst completing repairs quickly for customers with a high standard. Vantage helped to establish a new subcontractor framework focusing on SMEs and ensuring consistent delivery of Pobl’s values across external suppliers.
Vantage helped to procure the gas service externally guiding Pobl through a tendering and market review exercise.
Underpinning the transformation, Vantage helped to source and implement IT solutions to improve customer process and improve productivity. Pobl introduced the Cloud Dialogs system, Service Connect, a service management software system providing appointment booking, dynamic scheduling and mobile working solution. The successful implementation of this system greatly enhanced the management of repairs, dramatically improving the customer experience with a satisfaction level of 94% recorded.
This IT implementation provides tangible benefits for Pobl and their customers, including:
- Streamlining the scheduling process enabling call centre staff to instantly book customer repairs and assign new jobs at the touch of a button.
- Operatives can quickly and easily upload photographs of their work to a central system, removing the requirement for on-site checks.
- Electronically updating van stock levels and automatically reordering the necessary parts, dramatically reducing wait times through intelligent ordering.
Of particular note is the significant improvement in performance of trades and repairs in the East, directly relatable to the introduction of the dynamic scheduling system, Service Connect, which results in the operatives completing more repairs each day due to spending less time driving around between repairs appointments.