Against the very uncertain backdrop created by the spread of the COVID-19 virus, businesses have had to adapt fast to their changing environments. We caught up with two of our customers in the Drainage sector to see how they've been adjusting the way they work. 

Interview with Calum Hoad, Operations Manager at DMS Ashbourne Ltd 

What are the key ways you’ve been adapting?

COVID-19 has altered things massively. The main adaptation has been with our use of PPE and making sure that it’s all in place.  The way that we are with our clients is different now, since taking on board the social distancing regulations. Especially with things such as the RAMS (Risk Assessment and Methods Statement) that we do. Previously, we were just using the RAMS set up to cover a general drainage site, but now that has to be set up to cover the Coronavirus risks too. 

How do you communicate with staff about implementing some of these changes?

As soon as we were advised by the WHO (World Health Organisation), we started making changes. Those guidelines were passed directly onto our engineers. Obviously, the office staff were sent to work from home. So, now everything is done communicating via online apps and phone calls. There’s no face to face meetings or human interaction at the moment. 

Did you feel prepared? 

We were as well prepared as can be. We were never anticipating something of this scale to happen, but we had everything in place to cover us so we weren’t left out on a limb. As long as we have access to a computer then the business can still run, the engineers can still get their jobs and, as long as they’ve got their smartphones, they can still carry on as if things were normal.

With Okappy we’re just carrying on as the same, we haven’t had to make any adaptations to the way we communicate whatsoever. Nothing needed to change with our workforce management at all. 

Do you have a go-to place where you look for resources and advice for the drainage sector?  

We get all our information straight from WHO and the government’s advice. We took everything on board that the WHO had to say as soon as we could. 

Have you experienced any changes to the sorts of jobs coming in? 

We haven’t seen many changes in terms of the sorts of jobs, but we have seen changes to the flow of jobs. It has slowed down massively. This is both with our call outs and with the PPM (Planned Preventive Maintenance) that we serve. The reason being, at the moment with how uncertain things are, a lot of people have put a hold on things. Obviously, a lot of sites have closed as people aren’t going into work for there to be problems for us to help resolve. 

With Okappy we’ve had nothing that we’ve needed to adapt or change at all. As long as I have access to my computer, and as long as the engineers have access to the mobile app, then everything can carry on as normal. There haven’t been any hiccups on the way - it’s just been plain sailing in terms of managing our work and carrying on as we were.

Interview with Malcom Caiger, Senior Engineer at Drainworx Ltd 

What would  you say is the main way the drainage industry is changing right now?

It’s become more reactive than preventative in terms of the maintenance measures we perform. Although, I’m aware that some places are using their time to carry out preventatives due to empty buildings. A lot of places are shut, so that means the work has stopped working for a lot of sites for the time being. Some camera surveys have slowed up, which makes up a proportion of the work that we do. A lot of work is now up in the air as acquisition of properties, end of tenancies and condition surveys are on hold at the moment. When lockdown ends we’ll see who’s still standing!

What are the key things you’re doing as a business to adapt to these changes?

We’ve taken some more PPE measures such as using hand sanitiser and face masks. It’s quite strange going into residential properties, as you can’t see everyone’s faces because they’re all wearing masks. 

Nothing has really changed with how we were working before in terms of our workforce management. A lot of people have furloughed loads of staff, we haven’t furloughed anyone.

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If you want to keep up to date with business activity across the Okappy platform you can do so on our Business Activity Index Page.  We’re tracking the number of jobs completed by day by companies across many different industries including Plumbing and Drainage, Electrical Contractors, Facilities Management, Construction and the Public Sector.

How Okappy Can Help

Okappy is designed to streamline your communications and workforce management processes, and is one solution that could help reduce disruption to your business. With Okappy you can communicate with your network, send and receive jobs, manage your workforce remotely, run reports, and raise invoices - all on one platform. You can receive updates to job details as they happen and view all important documents needed for the work in one secure place. To learn more, request a call here.

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