As the leader in blade maintenance services, GEV deliver unrivalled competence and technological expertise, offering an unprecedented breadth of services and industry leading innovative solutions.
I-RIS in action
Case Study: GEV Group, 2015
Client Requirement To improve the efficiency of the overall maintenance process, reduce the time taken by technicians to record data, track real time the progress of projects and eliminate the need to manually write wind turbine blade maintenance reports, post inspection and repair.
The issues Reports were being produced manually using laptops, written notepads and digital cameras. The process was not only time consuming and unreliable, it was frustrating for technicians as the size and number of images used in each report would invariably crash Word. This meant longer lead times were needed to produce the necessary reports, which then required formatting and checking by project managers, before they could be submitted to the client. The entire process from start to finish could take over two weeks.
Our solution Railston & Co proposed an entirely new approach to the way technicians collected data. We removed the need for expensive laptops and cameras, replacing them with Apple Mini iPads (Wi‑Fi + Cellular). This enabled us to standardise the formatting and layout of each report, enabling the technician to capture all of the information required via the iPads. Data is now collected and saved centrally in the cloud instead of being buried in Word documents. This information can be turned into reports in a few seconds. Jobs and tasks can easily be broken down or created and sent to individual technicians in real time. The Wi-Fi and Cellular sim allowed us to track the whereabouts and real time status of project down to the specific task a technician was working on. This data is then displayed in the operations centre, on a digital map dashboard.
The result - A New Digital Platform I-RIS has significantly reduced the time taken to record maintenance information and generate reports. In addition, it generates real-time feedback (depending upon network conditions) of rich data. This enables GEV project managers to monitor workflow live, in the field. Reports are now generated within seconds and formatting is pixel perfect, improving the operational efficiency of the business.
Above all, we believe our digital platform has improved the overall management of blade inspection and repair in the offshore renewable energy sector.
What our clients say
A client story...
“We started trialling I-RIS at several sites in 2015. The idea was to replace our manual reporting processes, which were causing us real challenges across the business – our maintenance technicians are excellent at spotting and repairing damages but there was no standardisation on the reporting of damage classification. For example, how big is a ‘big crack’ actually? We went about working with our clients to introduce some standard measurements. The biggest frustration for most of our technicians was the time it took to write reports, post inspection and repair.
There were significant gaps in the process, too – such as when the serial number on turbines had been missed.
Railston & Company fully understood the technical challenges but more importantly, the commercial ones too. They produced a detailed scoping document about our requirements before developing I-RIS as a solution. The opportunities became clear to us during the scoping phase and went way beyond improving how we generated reports. We found their approach refreshingly different to the other companies, which were generally more technically led, and which seemed to offer us off-the-shelf and slightly modified software solutions. Railston & Company made us challenge our processes and our ideas about how we did certain things.
We quickly benefitted by speeding up the invoicing process but, more importantly, meeting our clients’ KPIs. One of the biggest wins was halving the time it takes to produce our reports. They are now perfect each time. We now have a clear roadmap of technical and commercial innovations that will take us into 2017, which should give us improved quality, assurance, accuracy and value for our clients.
Railston & Company have catapulted the recording and reporting of asset maintenance into the 21st Century. They have succeeded in developing I-RIS around a real-life set of business challenges. We’d recommend working with Jason because he thinks beyond just the IT. His practical, hands-on approach, his ability to break down technical problems and his very broad background in business gave us the confidence that we were working with the right partner. It’s great to work with someone who thinks both disruptively as well as considering how different factors will impact on your business. His awareness of current and emerging technologies and how they could map onto and improve our business processes made all the difference.
We’d also recommend I-RIS itself as a cost-effective solution with the right balance of functionality, versatility and connectivity. We are now looking to deploy I-RIS across our Group of Companies and hope to see efficiency gains similar to those we’ve seen in our Blade Inspection and Blade Repair business."
David Fletcher, Managing Director, GEV Group
Brother UK Ltd is the UK sales subsidiary of Brother Industries Ltd (BIL) and has been based in Tameside, Manchester since 1968.
A company with a long history, they’ve gone from being a key supplier of technology products to leading solutions provider. No stranger to change, Brother UK now supplies services to the NHS, corporate end users, banks, retailers and SMEs across the UK.
One of the first organisations to achieve Investors in People Platinum accreditation and the Platinum Employer of the Year category at the IIP Awards, Brother UK have looked to Investors in People to support their change journey and people focused strategy - seeing impact in a number of areas including a more integrated business model.
Employee Engagement Toolkit
Case Study: Brother UK Ltd, 2017
To develop a framework with which the Brother UK Management team could interact and engage with colleagues, and one which could evolve with their business, giving measurable and reportable results, incorporating existing processes but with the flexibility to include new ideas.
The issues Brother UK have always had a comprehensive suite of tools for managing employee engagement but it was heavily reliant on the manual administration of paperwork, which was both inefficient and resource heavy, and with a large percentage of the workforce based externally, resulted in frustrations and missing data.
BUK had tried using electronic forms, but they still required a lot of manual intervention, and didn’t offer the solution to their problem, which was to give them something simple and efficient to manage employee activities, including appraisals, learning & development, and incentive schemes.
As part of their Investors in People Platinum accreditation, they also needed to consider how to provide continuous improvement in their employee engagement activities, without creating further administrative burden, and which could show tangible links to business performance.
Railston & Co proposed an entirely new approach to the way that Brother UK manage employee engagement. We removed the need for multiple versions of forms with an online toolkit, accessible via iPad and Web App.
This enabled us to streamline the process, enabling the employee and the manager to carry out and record all of the relevant activity, and making approvals much quicker and simpler.
Records are now collected and saved centrally in the cloud instead of being buried in Word and Excel documents, and each Manager and Employee is also provided with a dashboard, giving them visibility of progress, clarity on outstanding tasks, and guiding them through the processes with the use of notifications.
We also provided a comprehensive Content Management System (CMS) so that all this information can be reviewed in real time, and then turned into reports in a few seconds. This CMS is an important management tool as it allows Brother UK to centrally manage company objectives, job specifications, allocate tasks, and then communicate them out consistently across all the teams within the business.
The result - A New On-Line Toolkit
The new toolkit has delivered the operational efficiencies that Brother UK required, in order to manage it’s employee engagement activities, but more than that we have helped to identify a long term project that will put employees at the heart of the business, giving them the ability to manage development and performance, and ensure that it is aligned with the organisation.
We have also provided a platform for additional developments to ensure that the toolkit remains relevant and can be adapted to the changing needs of Brother UK.
What our clients say
A client story...
“As an Investors In People Platinum employer, Brother UK is used to process improvement, and has always had comprehensive systems in place to manage employee engagement. However, sometimes those ongoing and incremental continuous improvements are not enough, and it needs new ideas to breathe life into a process, and revolutionise the way a business sees it… simply put, we needed a vision for the future…
“We started by taking Railston & Co through our existing manual processes to give an understanding of the complexities and the importance of Employee Engagement to our business. They quickly grasped the concept and were able to see how improvements could be made, but more importantly how we could develop a toolkit that would be more resource efficient, yet still provide us with the comprehensive reporting that we need.
“In addition to this, they were able to identify some additional functionality we had not previously considered, which gave us further insight into the management of our employees, and would give us a 360 degree view of staff performance, something which is essential in a business that is continuously evolving.
“The introduction of a centralised CMS has been a breakthrough in this project, as it allows me to ensure that we have consistency of messaging across the company, so we know we are all working to common objectives, and can determine the development needs of an individual or team, and how they can make a difference.
“Railston & Co were also able to provide me with insight into future developments for the toolkit, through research into other organisations, and by having a sound understanding of business, but most importantly by taking the time to understand the Brother UK organisational culture and where we see ourselves in 5 years’ time – many suppliers would have simply concentrated on what we could achieve now, but by thinking ahead we have made this toolkit an important element in our business growth strategy.
“The key throughout this project has been working with a team who are collaborative in their approach, bringing fresh ideas, but ensuring that the needs of the business are considered throughout – this is a long term project for Brother UK, and improvements and changes cannot be carried out overnight – employees need time to adapt and Railston & Co have recognised this and been able to suggest an appropriate roadmap for the project, keeping it moving and providing the tools in the background to make the transition to the new processes as simple and stress free as possible for all involved. They have displayed excellent project management skills throughout, and communicated well with the internal project team, dealing with any queries or issues promptly and professionally.
“As part of our Investors in People (IIP) Platinum status, we actively engage in the IIP Champions process, and within this we commit to sharing best practise with other businesses, and have no hesitation in recommending this approach to others as a way of ensuring that employee engagement makes an important contribution to business success.
Louise Marshall, Infrastructure & Shared Services Director, Brother UK Ltd