Industrial Cleaning Equipment Ltd (ICE) is the UK’s largest independent provider of industrial cleaning machines and associated services. Five years ago, it began using Tesseract, Asolvi’s longest-standing service management product. It was a move that caused ICE to undergo a complete operational transformation.
ICE specialises in the supply and maintenance of efficient, forward-thinking cleaning solutions and protecting clients from unplanned equipment downtime. It partners with leading manufacturers of industrial vacuum cleaners, scrubber driers, road sweepers, steam and pressure washers and combination machines to bring the latest in cleaning technology to the retail, leisure, transport and commercial sectors. An enduring commitment to service and innovation has won the company multiple awards.
A big contributor to its success is the elite company-wide service management system that underpins it: Tesseract. “It’s the one database we use for everything,” says Mike Bresnihan, chief operating officer at ICE. “Our admin staff, field-based engineers, product specialists and finance teams all use Tesseract. And our customers can access it via the web or our new mobile app.”
ICE has in place the latest iteration of the Tesseract product: Service Centre 5.1. Customers notify ICE of any problems with their cleaning equipment by logging in to Tesseract’s Remote Customer Access portal. Remote Engineer Access lets field engineers generate live reports, order parts, close down maintenance jobs and raise same-day invoices from their tablets. Call Control is used to schedule drivers and engineers to collect, deliver and maintain equipment, and Parts Centre automatically manages stock levels.
A huge step up from the old system
Pre-Tesseract, ICE used a custom-built application to manage its planned and reactive maintenance work. However, the software’s functionality was extremely limited. The company couldn’t use it for invoicing, ordering parts or maintaining stock levels. Customers could log a call and write notes, but they couldn’t see how their call was being dealt with, so it did little to manage their expectations. ICE’s drivers and engineers had no access to the software; they had to fill in paper delivery notes and worksheets and post them to the office. This meant, after each job was complete, ICE had to wait a few days to update their records.
“It was very chaotic,” says Liz Osborne, ICE’s HR manager and former service manager. “We had piles of paperwork to get through, an abundance of spreadsheets to fill in, and we often had to enter the same data multiple times in order to keep different departments within the company up to date.”
So ICE selected Tesseract to operationally transform the company. Today, thanks to Tesseract, ICE is virtually paperless. Its drivers and engineers use tablets, allowing Head Office to receive job updates and information in real time. Deployment is faster, manual stock-checking is a thing of the past, and accuracy of information along the service chain is vastly improved. Mike Bresnihan explains, “We’re all on one system, which means data can flow freely between each department and we have full visibility of everything that’s going on. By automating and optimising our service operation, Tesseract has given us the capacity to focus on our customers, rather than managing a system that is supposed to be managing us.”
Tesseract is a cloud-based product that is maintained and continually honed and developed in-house by Asolvi. The biggest benefit of this for ICE is the in-built disaster recovery; if any part of the system goes down, Tesseract will seamlessly and automatically switch to another cloud environment.
“Unlike the server-based system we had before, which could go down at any moment, there’s no chance of downtime with Tesseract,” says Mike. “We’re able to depend 100% on the resilience of Tesseract’s cloud and not worry about our office, our field engineers or our customers losing access to the system.”
Easier to grow
In the last two years, ICE has experienced a growth spurt. It’s acquired three previously competing companies, each of which had its own service management system. But these systems were old, driven by paper and disparate bits of software, with too many places their teams had to go to get information. As a result, all of their data was extracted and inputted into the Tesseract system, and Tesseract was rolled out across all of them.
Tesseract actually facilitated the acquisition process. Mike explains, “Tesseract gave us visibility of the new organisations really quickly, and expedited our integration with them. Inputting these companies’ data into the Tesseract system was easy, as was adding new users. Now every company in our group uses it as we do. In effect, Tesseract has made growing ICE into a leading player in the industry possible, and a far less daunting prospect than it could’ve been.”
The future: fewer silos, more integration
ICE is currently looking at breaking down remaining silos within its organisation and fully integrating Tesseract with its existing systems. There is already an interface between Tesseract and ICE’s financial software, removing the need for double entry accounting. Now the plan is to integrate Tesseract with its customers’ workflow management systems. At the moment ICE updates a number of its customers’ systems with progress on repairs and service jobs. This is something it also does in Tesseract, so an interface between the two databases will save ICE from having to do it twice.
Also on the agenda is an interface with ICE’s asset tracking system, which allows them to monitor where, when and how equipment and company vehicles are being used.
“Our relationship with Asolvi grows stronger all the time,” says Mike. “At the moment we are looking at further automation and integration and we are working closely with Asolvi to achieve this. We know that with the system’s inherent flexibility and adaptability, virtually anything’s possible — and we look forward to what the future has in store.”