A joint venture between Veolia Water, H20 Water Services and MACE, Vennsys was established to undertake a 9 year contract with Thames Water.

This contract requires Vennsys to provide water meter installation, service and reading throughout their clean water region and sales investigations across clean and waste water regions. This means that they are responsible for the installation of around 80,000 meters per year and stock smart meters, piping and all associated water installation equipment to carry out their jobs. It was vital that the movement of stock items were carefully controlled, especially the serial-stamped meters.

With only a few weeks between the awarding of the contract and the start, when reviewed it became apparent quite quickly that existing systems and procedures fell well short of the mark to successfully manage stock, track meters and allocate stock to fitting teams. The business had no real idea where stock was and it was impossible to pull the information together with any accuracy. The whole process was costing a huge amount of time and money in additional administration.

We spoke to Nicolas Combe , Project Lead, about the challenges faced by Vennsys.

The Requirement

A paper based manual system was being used in conjunction with the Oracle system used throughout Veolia operations, however in this instance it was unable to provide the level of control required.

In the autumn of 2011 a series of meetings were held where the project team met with store-men, the procurement teams and key stakeholders at three stores in Dartford, Ryemeads and Kidlington. At these meetings current processes were reviewed and a series of good ideas and best practice emerged including the use of Hand held terminals for booking stock in and out. They needed to be able to handle a large volume of transactions and provide a reliable and stable platform due to their key position within the business. 100% tracing of materials received and issued (including meter serial numbers) and the location of stock between three depots was also vital.

Due to their tight timescales they needed a system and company that would be able to deliver within 10 weeks from order confirmation to go live, even with the additional bespoke requirements as they were fully aware their new solution was unlikely to be 100% off the shelf.

Why They Chose OrderWise

With stock arriving daily at the three different stores, this needs to be scanned and booked in before the gangs of fitters arrive to collect their required meters and fittings for their jobs. Each gang has a barcoded ID card which also needs to be scanned and then stock is scanned and booked out against this. Every smart meter has a unique serial number which needs to be traced.

OrderWise was able to provide them with a great value solution could be implemented within the agreed timescales. Through the use of Hand held terminals they have streamlined the booking in of stock and now have full visibility of stock across all three locations. Not only are the meters traced and tracked but the ability to allocate stock to individual fitters has meant that the business now has full traceability of stock from suppliers through to customer installation which is essential due to the high value of many of the products used.

“The Handheld Terminals have been able to provide an extremely fast and accurate method of booking goods out to fitters and have made huge improvements to efficiency.”

OrderWise has been embraced by all staff, especially those using the system on the ground due to its ease of use and reliability. Most of the staff had no experience of using such a system and yet they have taken to it extremely well. Feedback and reviews received from staff in the first few weeks included “That’s a real step forward” and “That’s exactly what we needed”. Staff even joked about handing in their notice if the old system was reinstated!

“OrderWise is very reliable and the speed at which everything is performed means large volumes of stock and fitters can be processed.

This new way of working has even cut their administration time by six days a month, as well as reducing paper consumption and overall waste. Daily productivity has been improved with operatives having a faster collection time and the Procurement Team have an easy and paper-free way of tracking meters and deliveries.

Nicolas explains, “From a management point of view the reports are excellent showing exactly the information required while keeping the file sizes down which makes emailing easy.”

Nicolas is now moving onto other projects now that the contract is underway, he says that he found this to be the most successful project he has undertaken, largely down to the input from staff at the requirement and planning stage and how OrderWise were able to deliver this vision.