The ARH Group (‘ARH’) are based in Shoothill’s hometown of Shrewsbury and specialise in professional facilities management, process engineering and building services. Their yellow, green and blue striped logo is seen on vans all over the UK, indicative of a firm that is, both literally and metaphorically, always on the move.
Time management is critical to ARH’s overall business health. An ARH engineer can be assigned a variety of planned tasks (‘standard’) or unplanned tasks (‘call outs’) within a single working day, presenting situations where attention to time management is a constant concern, but difficult to monitor due to ‘operational blackspots’, i.e., the management team is unable to keep track of their time and work throughout each day. Engineers are paid door-to-door, but engineers can often work overtime which can lead to further issues calculating how much (and which) overtime rate/pay they are owed. Shoothill were tasked with producing a digital solution to these problems, transforming the way ARH monitor progress and keep track of costs.
Business Development Manager, ARH Group
Shoothill designed, developed and launched a sophisticated progressive web application (PWA) built to work on Android devices – the operating system of choice selected by ARH themselves. The benefit of developing on Android is that a large variety of devices can support the system, fitting screens of all different shapes and sizes, from a plethora of manufacturers. This gives ARH greater flexibility to use the app from anywhere, on almost anything.
A progressive web application (PWA) works differently to a traditional smartphone app that you install from either the App Store (iOS) or the Google Play Store (Android). Instead, a PWA is hosted on the web, does not require local installation, yet still utilises native mobile device hardware. Progressive web apps present a variety of advantages over native apps, the main advantage being compatibility. Any changes or updates to the app in the future will not be required to fulfil the same strict criteria that native apps need to adhere to, to be published. This is mutually beneficial for both ARH and Shoothill, giving ARH the flexibility to mould the system around their processes as they grow and diversify, and gives Shoothill more flexibility to release updates faster and easier.
The system was built around one main feature, timesheets. Each ARH engineer is allocated a timesheet on a given day, in which the engineer is required to disclose all job types (‘standard’, ‘on call’, ‘call out’ or ‘authorised overtime’) throughout the day as well as allocating unique job numbers, and declare the start and end times for the time taken to complete each task. The engineer is also required to disclose how long it has taken to travel to and from client locations.
All of this data is entered by the engineers themselves, via a series of simplified steps which involve completing fields and ticking boxes – designed to be completed with as little effort as possible, an essential part of building a high-quality user experience (UX). To make this process even easier, an ARH engineer can start a stopwatch within the system as they begin travelling or working on a task, a stopwatch that continues to tick over while the engineer is working on a task and then stopped by the engineer when the task is completed. This allows for very precise measurements of time, to help eliminate overtime overpayments and underpayments – benefitting both engineer and the company as a whole.
When people think of the term ‘mobile app’ they tend to think of business-to-customer (B2C) applications such as social media applications and shopping apps, but the matter of the fact is, mobile apps present far more opportunities, even for independent commercial clients such as ARH, whose app is designed to be used on an internal-basis. Its implementation into the company was seamless, and the results were immediate. Its integration has allowed ARH’s time management to be much more comprehensive, improving operation oversight and helping them keep track of overtime pay expenditure. Damian Winstone, Business Development Manager at ARH Group said, “Working with Shoothill has been a great experience. The team are professional, supportive and the end product is just what we need. I highly recommend them. We are looking forward to the next project with them”.
Senior members of the ARH team are able to view all essential information via an admin section, allowing them to monitor all engineers actively working, and details about specific jobs, in real-time. The type of data generated by the system over its long term use would allow senior members of the ARH team to make essential calculations such as the average cost of a job over a year, the average length of time taken to complete a task over a year and compare these stats with their costs.
While working on this project, Shoothill…