Discovery Fire Sprinklers Ltd are located in Dundee and provide commercial fire protection services and domestic fire protection services in Dundee and throughout Scotland. They travel the UK fitting fire suppression systems to schools, care homes, houses and flats. They've been trading for 20 years, but only in the last year did they change their name to Discovery Fire Sprinklers - a move that has brought in more business!

We interviewed James Bryceland about how they’ve adapted to Covid-19 and how Okappy is working for them! Read on for more...

How big is the company?

We currently have 14 engineers, and 5 in the office.

What made you start looking at digital workforce management?

The amount of work that we had on and the amount of contracts we were juggling was becoming a struggle to manage properly.  Right now, we've got over 1000 jobs that we're pricing for and nearly 70 or 80 contracts. Trying to keep on track of all that was becoming a big challenge for me and the people in the office. 

We were missing out on loads of work because of it. There were some times that we were forgetting to bill people. There was so much going on that we were forgetting to raise invoices! I needed something that was going to be a bit more user friendly for me, but at the same time, run all the jobs in real-time.

Before Okappy were you using a digital system or was it just emails, or paperwork?

Before, we had a quality management system in place that we used alongside emails and job files. Emails and job files were just saved onto the company server. We had to keep going in and out to get information. This meant duplicating information between systems, which was off-putting and tedious. 

With Okappy it’s all in one place, including the client’s paperwork, so it’s much easier to find documents to send off! I tested out three softwares previous to Okappy, but I didn't get on with them. I thought they were too hard to understand. Okappy is so simple and easy, and that was the decision maker.

How much time has it saved you?

Obviously with COVID-19, it's quite hard to say exactly because I'm working from home.  Once we get back properly working on building sites, I'll have a better idea then. 

It has already 100% saved me time on the paperwork side. Before, the guys would come back with the paperwork, then I would then go and type it all out on the computer and then send it to the client. Now, the guys are closing the job off while they're on the job, so I've already saved some time. 

Before it could have taken a couple of days, or sometimes up to a week, for me to get that paperwork back. I'm actually doing it the same day that they're closing the job off. Raising an invoice on Okappy takes 2 seconds. Before, it would sometimes take a week depending on when we got the paperwork, because our guys are all subcontractors. Our clients are now getting that invoice a week earlier, so in the long run we're going to be getting paid quicker.

How has COVID-19 impacted the business?

We’ve been lucky enough to still be working - concentrating on securing maintenance contracts through this time. We've spent quite a bit of money on our PPE, including some branded masks. We’ve got new equipment, and got all our policies in check to make sure that the guys all know what they're doing when they fully come back, so there's no issues.

It's affecting everybody, isn't it? Even over the next few months it's probably still going to be affecting people.  I think it's going to be hard for a lot of guys coming back to work because they'll have to adapt to a whole new way of working. This is a change, isn't it? Nobody likes change and this is exactly what it is - you've got to change the way that you're doing stuff.

Now that we have Okappy, I feel more equipped to adapt to future changes because of our improved efficiency, but for many businesses - some of them will struggle. Okappy has helped us adapt and it's probably put us ahead of the curve.

How do you use the Okappy network?

We've got a couple of subcontractors that do work for us, and they've also got Okappy. I invited them onto it and told them that this was the way. There's going to be twelve of them altogether, by the time we are done. These are subcontractors that we'll be working with quite regularly. The networked element to Okappy helps to streamline what we all do along the chain of work. It basically means we don’t have to duplicate job information between different systems!

Do you use other social media networks to get work?

Yes, we're on Linkedin and Instagram. I initially set it up on Instagram about three or four year ago, but it’s grown to over 600 followers now.  People have actually messaged me for jobs on Instagram. We get messages from individuals and businesses, but normally businesses.  Linkedin has probably got me a lot more work.

What's been the main difference before and after using Okappy?

Efficiency. It's a lot easier to manage. I'm actually out working again, instead of sitting at a desk just going through all the files. It’s got me back doing the parts of the job that I enjoy! We're actually keeping on track of everything just now.

With Okappy, when all the guys are on site - I know that they're on site. When all the guys complete a job - the information comes back to me. I can then easily raise an invoice. It’s so much more efficient now even though it’s early days! I put a lot of work on the system within the first two weeks and I'm really happy with the way it runs. It's brilliant, I absolutely love it. It's made my life a lot easier, anyway.

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