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Reviews | 21 Apr 2023

Re-flow Field Management Review by Opals Group

Re-flow Field Management Review by Opals Group
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Paper Reduction Blue Icon
100%
Reduction in paperwork
Communicate Instantly (Green)
100%
Increase in communication
Auditability Increase (Blue)
100%
Increase in auditability
HSE (Green)
50%
Increase in HSE reporting
Time Increase (Blue)
20%
Increase in available time
Context
  • Opals Group is a Peterborough-based network infrastructure services company specialising in design, construction, management and maintenance of communication networks.
  • Established in 2012, the company has grown from a single van to a team of 140, now working with some of the largest telecommunications companies in the UK.
  • Their rapid growth and stellar service has earned them a reputation as the supplier of choice for many clients in the sector, including Openreach and Upp.


Challenge

Opals was struggling with numerous inefficiencies as a result of using manual processes. One of the major problems was the transferring of job pack data to the field, which was done through either email or physically, resulting in delays and errors. Job progress lacked visibility, as information could only be reviewed the following day, leaving the team without access to real-time information. The inability to check operative availability in a calendar-style format was also a challenge. Teams felt the ability to move work around easily using drag and drop functionality without the need for follow up with emails, texts or phone calls would go a long way in streamlining their processes.

Additionally, teams did not have access to digital evidence demonstrating that work completed in the field complied with quality requirements, meaning processes could not be effectively enforced and monitored. For example, management staff couldn’t easily define an order to how works are completed. There was a need for transparency of work progress throughout the day. A lack of centralised oversight made it difficult for teams to quickly conduct and collate audit trails. The company needed a way to link multiple site events to a single job, carry out audits and inspections, add those to an audit trail and instantly feedback on site activities to the back office.

Opals also needed to ensure that, should they adopt a digital system, they’d retain the ability to create their own forms based on individual client requirements, as they had done previously. This would also enable the team to streamline capturing timesheet information and order stores, all of which was being recorded and stored manually. Among there other concerns upon reviewing various software packages was the lack of flexibility, bloated feature sets and an overly complex design approach that could create problems among their field teams during the adoption process.


Solution

With Re-flow, businesses can greatly expedite their job creation processes and gain far greater oversight with real-time data. Users can create highly detailed digital job packs equipped with all relevant documents including PDFs, drawings, plans, manuals and more. Events can then be created against jobs and individual users, or entire groups can be assigned. Re-flow’s powerful scheduler is able to track conflicts such as availability and fatigue, and operatives can be re-assigned at a moment’s notice without the need to manually notify them.

Once operatives are assigned to events created against these jobs, they’re able to access a comprehensive knowledge base of job-relevant information through the app at all times, both offline and online. Dashboard users can also enforce specific orders and processes for task completion, with an instant overview of job progress at all times thanks to the constant stream of digital information travelling between the site and the office.

Re-flow also possesses a comprehensive suite of features for managing and tracking HSE processes. At the core of this functionality is the system’s digital form feature. Users can select from a set of over 40 pre-built forms, including dynamic risk assessment, daily job sheet, vehicle safety check and more. For more specific needs, dashboard users can edit existing form templates or create their own from scratch, built to regulatory standards, using the user-friendly, block-based form builder.

The system’s digital forms are incredibly powerful in enforcing HSE compliance on-site. Users can enforce specific completion processes, and field options such as drop-downs mean nothing is left ambiguous to the operatives completing the form. For added peace of mind, forms can request photographs from site, which can be annotated within the app. Once completed, all forms are equipped with a date, time and location tag, with support for geofencing. All of this data is then instantly fed back to the dashboard, giving office staff a real-time overview of job progress and worker safety. As the system is cloud-based, all of this information is then stored within the central database, greatly expediting the creation of robust audit trails.

To complement this comprehensive suite of features, Re-flow is also a flexible solution that enables certain aspects of the software to be customised. As the software is white label, the branding and terminology of many functionalities can be tweaked to better suit existing processes. In addition, with several out-the-box accounting and CRM integrations as well as a REST API, Re-flow can fully integrate as part of a wider ERP system.


Outcome

Having adopted Re-flow, Opals began to use the software’s comprehensive platform of tools to streamline all aspects of their field operations. Re-flow has now become a crucial aspect of their HSE processes, implementing the software as the second and third layer of their health and safety quality check. Following a manual check by operatives, the system is then used by supervisors to conduct site inspections and audits.

This information is then fed back to the office, where site activity is reviewed, including point of work risk assessments, site set-up photographs, in-progress photographs and site clear photographs, all of which can be viewed in real-time. Opals also uses the system to conduct Toolbox talks, as well as keeping their workforce current through the knowledge base, where operatives can access a full database of safety information. Overall, these new processes have increased auditability by 100% and HSE reporting by 50%, while also saving field operatives an average of 30 minutes a day on form completion.

With a consistent stream of instant, real-time information, cross-team communication has increased by an impressive 100%. Using Re-flow’s automation functionalities, Opals has set up multiple e-mail alerts that notify office staff of key developments in the field. These include conditions such as “permit work start”, “permit work stop”, “site clear”, “unable to complete works” and a number of other custom conditions that the team has implemented in their system. Not only does this enable admin staff to have better oversight of job progress and be more reactive but saves an average of 15 minutes a day for each staff member that was previously spent communicating job information.

All of this data now being harvested from the field can then be collated within the system. Re-flow’s reporting capabilities allow dashboard users to get a detailed overview of every aspect of works that needs to be measured, such as health and safety inspections and TBT responses. This data can then easily be exported as a CSV file and shared between other systems and users within the business, all without the need for any paper documents.

Quote

We now operate a completely clear desk policy with no printed paperwork required. We’re able to update job pack information and instructions without the need for chasing phone calls, text messages and e-mails. We’re a different business now Re-flow is so engrained in everything we do that it’s very hard to imagine doing what we do without it.

Andy Kearns New
Andy Kearns
Projects Lead
Opals Group

Having fully adopted the system, Re-flow has enabled Opals to streamline numerous processes and make incredible gains in HSE management, efficiency and sustainability throughout their business, allowing the business to grow at an even faster rate than before. Opals Group now joins a community of hundreds of businesses nationwide who have embraced digital transformation and ensured sustainable growth for years to come. All of this, and more, can be achieved with Re-flow’s award-winning field management software for utilities.


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