Helping Morrison Utility Services go with the flow

“In terms of use on site, in terms of development and in terms of the data we get out of it, triOpsis is right up there at the top. The support we’ve had has been incredible.”
Rob Page, Performance and Change Manager
Morrison Utility Services

There’s a promise at the heart of Morrison Utility Services – the one it makes to some of the UK’s biggest utility asset owners. By helping to repair, renew, refurbish and maintain the nation’s utility infrastructure, Morrison Utility Services promises to play its part in “keeping people connected, households and businesses warm, taps flowing and the lights on”. Morrison Utility Services has made its promise to a range of clients across all the utility sectors, including organisations like Yorkshire Water and Severn Trent Water. They help keep clean water flowing across large areas of the north and the midlands, and triOpsis is proud to deliver the workforce management system that ensures the process can be carried out efficiently and effectively.

The challenge

Morrison Utility Services has used the triOpsis system for almost a decade, but for Matthew Smithies – the company’s Planning and Change Lead who has worked with triOpsis for around nine years via their Yorkshire Water contract, and for about a year through their contract with Severn Trent Water – it’s easy to imagine the working day without it based on past memories.

“If they didn’t use the triOpsis tool, life for the gangs would involve constant phone calls,” he says. “We’d probably get more defects coming through from the Highways Agency because we wouldn’t be able to challenge back and prove we’ve done the work. And I’d say we’d probably get more customer service complaints if we didn’t have it.”

Before triOpsis was involved, gangs in the field were reliant on paper forms and phone calls. Once they were out on site, they were subject to the real world’s unpredictability, with unexpected obstacles potentially preventing them digging up the road. Lengthy delays, wasted journeys and aborted jobs could result, with phone calls back to the office eating into the working day.

Even without such obstacles, their workmanship could still be called into question after the job was over. Without any way of proving that work had been completed to the required standard, disputes, fines, litigation and reputational harm could follow.

Our solution

The triOpsis solution gives gangs the ability to record each job’s key stages, with images and information immediately fed back to the depot or office. No special hardware or equipment is required. Simply by using the triOpsis app on a mobile phone, the gang records all the important details from the moment they arrive on site.

Matthew Smithies explains how triOpsis delivers the efficiency and visibility that Morrison Utility Services needs:

“When the team arrives on site, they capture images of any existing damage to the highway or to the customer’s property. They then take photographs of our site set-up, including all our traffic management, to make sure things are safe.”

This process continues throughout the job, with images captured of the exposed asset, the repair, the backfill and the fact that they’ve left the site safe. Photographs are taken of the reinstatement along with signing, lighting and guarding to make sure it’s safe and compliant with Highways Agency requirements.

“There are rules around us excavating the highway,” explains Smithies, “and we need to adhere to them. Using triOpsis helps us mitigate against any corresponding questions the Highways Agency may have, including possible fines. That’s the main benefit for us, and it’s how most of our users use it.”

And if obstacles are found on site? Feedback from the office can be immediate, with the aborted job logged and new instructions sent over promptly.

The triOpsis difference

Back at the office, the triOpsis solution offers many more benefits than simply being a source of evidence. As Smithies explains:

“We’ve recently been using the triOpsis data to feed into Power BI, which gives us a great business intelligence tool. We can use it to display to Severn Trent how we’re improving – how we’re meeting targets or how we’re looking to mitigate against any potential customer complaints.”

Once the data has been collected on site, it’s available to departments across the business, where it has a positive impact on operational efficiency.

According to Rob Page, the company’s Planning and Change Manager, “The detail’s there for our schedulers, managers and crews to use. It gives all the information they need throughout the job’s lifetime. What I like is the ability to then report on that, so we can start to see the trends, black holes and hot spots within the process. We can track our workflow and understand where we’re failing, where we’re succeeding and where we need to make improvements.”

As a relative newcomer to Morrison Utility Services, Page is able to compare the triOpsis solution to the systems he’s been familiar with elsewhere.

“What I’ve seen, and what’s been demonstrated to me, has been brilliant,” he says. “It’s there to support our gangs’ delivery by us being able to identify issues on site before the Highways Agency do. It’s our last line of defence in terms of evidence capture.”

Facing the future

Key to the system’s flexibility and scalability is that it can be quickly configured to meet each client’s changing needs. It is a ‘no code’ platform, so the flow of forms and prompts can easily be altered without an extended development process. The system is initially customised as required, but then continues to evolve.

As a long-standing triOpsis user, Matthew Smithies appreciates the ease with which the system can be adapted.

“If we want something changing, triOpsis can do it within a specific timescale. I can speak to the team at any time of day and make changes or ask for help. I couldn’t ask for better interaction.”

Rob Page agrees that the triOpsis ability to evolve with future needs makes it a particularly valuable tool.

“With previous systems I’ve worked with, any development is bespoke so it takes months to scope out and develop. The way triOpsis can be adapted has been really helpful. It’s enabled us to be a lot more lean in the way we manage our processes.”

All in all, triOpsis continues to prove itself to be an essential business tool for Morrison Utility Services. It has a demonstrable impact on the company’s relationship with Severn Trent Water, on its efficiency and workmanship, and, ultimately, on its promise. And you could argue that nothing is more important than that.

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