Posted by Vodafone Business Team, September 2018
How one Irish SME is transforming the way it works
The business of protecting high value assets is a serious one and no one takes it more seriously than Firetrade.ie, an Irish company that specialises in fire-suppression technologies. Originally set up to operate in the fire extinguisher sales business, it has expanded and today employs 18 people and offers a complete range of fire suppression technologies.
“Data centres are a big market opportunity for us. Every data centre out there has at least one and usually multiple fire suppression systems and there is huge demand for certain types of fire extinguisher. In addition, we also supply fire suppression systems for commercial kitchens,” says Rob Davis, Group General Manager for Firetrade.ie.
Firetrade.ie designs and installs fire suppression on a mechanical basis but according to Davis, the recession made people in the fire industry rethink how they go about doing business. In particular, it made Firetrade.ie aware of the need to be as efficient as possible.
“When we started out we invoiced using paper dockets. At the end of the week each engineer had to take time off whatever they were doing to manually process these dockets. These would then be painstakingly checked and compared to a quote, be approved and then sent upstairs to be turned into paper invoices, so on and so forth,” said Davis.
“A huge amount of time, both in the office and out in the field, was being taken up processing paperwork. Something had to be done so we experimented with a number of off-the-shelf IT systems that seemed to offer the solution we needed. In the end, none of them worked properly so we commissioned a bespoke mobile app.”
The Firetrade.ie app allows the company to have total oversight of every customer interaction in the lifecycle of a job.
The Firetrade.ie app is fully integrated into the company’s work systems and follows every customer interaction from the minute a job comes in to the invoice going out when it’s finished. It allows the company to have total oversight of every customer interaction in the lifecycle of a job.
“This is a fully mobile app that our engineers can use in the field and which interacts with our systems in head office. Our engineers get all the information they need on their smartphone and can actually complete the job on their phone too,” said Davis.
“They can generate reports, take pictures, get client signoff from the site and ultimately close the job, all on their phones. So when their data comes back to the office it just needs to be quickly approved and it can go straight through to the finance department for invoicing.”
This saves a huge amount of time in the office, and on site and helps eradicate errors. A job that used to take up to four hours per week per engineer now takes ten to fifteen minutes. However, the effectiveness of this strategy is heavily dependent on having access to a good communications network, something that Firetrade.ie hasn’t always been able to take for granted.
“Network coverage is a vital enabler in getting things done reliably and quickly out of the office. When you have four engineers on the road full time carrying out work of various values, you don’t want to find that connectivity issues have stopped them completing what they need to do.”
See how Vodafone’s Unified communications technology helped Firetrade.ie
For Firetrade.ie, implementing unified communications technology was an obvious route considering how their business was changing and how they were preparing for the future.
“Vodafone’s Unified Communications solution, One Net Business, has been a revelation for us and now we have it we wouldn’t go back. It allows for much easier communication between our office, field staff and the staff in the warehouse. Everybody is connected in a way that we just weren’t before,” Davis said.
With the One Net Business solution, the company now has access to a central control panel that gives Davis complete control over how everyone’s phone functions.
“If someone calls in sick, two minutes later you can have their phone diverted. If someone is away for a couple of days, you can have a new voicemail recorded even without them being there. When you are running a business and reliant on your staff that really is invaluable.”
“The days of sketching drawings on the back of napkins and pricing people over the phone with rough estimates are coming to an end, and you’d be a fool to ignore the effect technology is having on the world.”
“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail – it’s a cliché because it’s true and we actually stand by it. That’s how we run our business. We need to be ahead of our competition all the time and partnering with Vodafone has helped us to do that and become a smarter workplace.”
To find out how Vodafone can help your business be ready for the future speak with a member of our business team on 1800 855696 or request a call back here