Based in the West Midlands, they are a temporary traffic management company specialising in high-speed roads 12C mobile works and 12D Street works. They have around 100 operatives with 80% of them working remotely on sites around the country.
Greg Baldwin is the Business Director at Highway Traffic Management and oversees strategy and direction, which includes goal setting, objective monitoring and also the day-to-day operations and health and safety. Speaking from their offices under the famous Spaghetti junction, they reflect on their recent transition to Re-flow, a digital mobile workforce management solution.
Highways Traffic Management has already undertaken a digital transformation four years ago, so paper was already on the way out, but not all software is created equally… the existing system restricted them from making quick changes or updating their forms easily. Furthermore, they were also dealing with a lag of a couple of seconds when moving through the app, which, over the course of a day equated to a great deal of wasted time and frustration among the users. The decision was made to find something that not only looked good but had the back-end system to support it.
Re-flow was chosen because it gave them the flexibility to change their processes, revisit what was necessary and cut out a lot of the areas that weren’t efficient or adding value to the company and their clients. In a solution, they wanted something that didn't have the price tag of a bespoke system but that still gave them the flexibility that you don't tend to find in a lot of off-the-shelf systems.
Greg commented “What made Re-flow stand out for us was it had both style and functionality. The aesthetics of it was excellent, which makes the user experience easy to run through and the system is clear on where you find things and how you navigate through it, so for our users it was perfect.”
According to the Commercial Director at Highways Traffic Management, Marcus Casey “One of the main reasons we went to Re-flow was not just how the system worked, but the cost as well. Some of the systems out there are very expensive for something that we would have to adapt as a company to use, instead of having a system that adapts to how we work as a company such as Re-flow.”
Having experience with rolling out a new technology to staff, Highways Traffic Management conducted a phased rollout, contract by contract. They found it relatively easy by calling in their change champions from the previous roll out, making the actual implementation a lot quicker than they’d planned for.
From the initial sales meeting, they felt there was complete transparency, so they knew what the system could and couldn't do, which was a refreshing approach. The actual implementation was clearly planned out and made life a lot easier for the team. Now they’re actually using the system it will feels ‘seamless’.
Greg commented “the reason we've been able to implement this so easily is obviously with the support and Re-flow but also the team we've got here and the lack of red tape. If we want to get something through or we've got an idea, that idea can be conceived very quickly, and we can get on and get it done”.
Among the benefits felt from the transition, both time and money has been saved using Re-flow. Time savings include the operations team being able to produce the job packs and reports much quicker, which in turn releases them to do other tasks and fit more into their day. Financially, aside from the efficiency savings, Re-flow is simply cheaper than the previous system they were using, so the cost benefits were immediate.
A critical part of any company is being able to get invoices out and money in and Marcus is acutely aware of his responsibility in making this happen.
“Part of my role is looking after the money coming back into the business through the invoicing process. To ensure this happens efficiently, the paperwork from the job has the be right the first time when it’s sent over to our clients, so they have a clear understanding of what’s been done for them in advance of an invoice being sent. Then, when they receive a request for payment, it makes my life easier because that client has the correct paperwork that we're invoicing for, so they're going to pay a lot quicker.”
In the field, app user Sean Langley shared his thoughts on using Re-flow to assist his job. “Day to day, traffic management operatives are assisting construction companies carrying out roadworks, installation or repairs to street furniture by setting up traffic management systems prior to work taking place and then dismantling it once the work is complete.
On-site we use the Re-flow app on our phones to see what the brief for the current job is and the required tasks and then to keep a log of all the work completed, including the required returns of forms, site photographs to confirm what’s been completed.
Having everything on an app makes our jobs much easier because we have so many jobs to complete throughout the day, having a simple series of boxes to complete to log everything keeps it simpler. It’s also a way to do our bit for the environment by doing away with paper and it keeps everything safe from the weather, where paper can easily get damaged or destroyed.”
Communication has improved tenfold according to Greg “because our operational managers can see what step our operatives are on in within the job and they have feedback for the client instantly on the dashboard.”
Highways Traffic Management have also started to use Re-flow for their internal auditing system, to eliminate time-consuming paper processes and the risk of losing physical paperwork. Now they say everything’s in one place and fully searchable to speed up the internal audit process. According to Greg “In terms of compliance we've had a big improvement because what we've been able to do is put a lot of our management system forms on there as well, so our internal audit programs, evaluation of compliance and non-conformance records are all now generated through Re-flow, which allows that audit process to be a lot quicker and more efficient”
In conclusion, Marcus says “We definitely recommend Re-flow to anybody and we'd welcome anyone that wants any advice or questions our own Re-flow to come to us and ask us how we got on with the implementation and building of forms. We've only got good things to say about Re-flow.