Franks Portlock was established in the North East in 2006, providing asbestos inspection, testing and consultancy services. Since then they’ve expanded significantly and have a nationwide footprint, with regional offices in Rosyth, London and at Sellafield in Cumbria. They have also moved into water hygiene services.
The company began working with a business consultant in 2019 to help them to restructure and put in place a model for scaling up the business, increasing both turnover and profitability. We were recommended to the company through a local funding initiative, and we had a chat with Phil Franks, the Director about the working with us.
“As an organization, we are very service driven and focused on quality over quantity. The latter often being the downfall of similar companies. As part of this process of working with the business consultant, it became apparent that we were being held back somewhat by the software we were using, both in terms of operational efficiency and the quality of management info it could provide to help us achieve our goals.”
We held several sessions with Phil and got to know the business. It became clear that there were some key pain points in their operations.
· Reporting- There wasn’t any way of pulling Management Information from the system safely to analyse the profitability of the projects
· Processing- Purchase orders, invoices and payments were all done manually, which was inefficient for the business
· Current software- we were confident that there was off-the-shelf software that would work better for them
· Augmented Reality- this was a subject of interest to the business and we wanted to look at it.
Phil gave an example of the pain which they were experiencing:
“We were using an prominent off-the-shelf solution for our day-to-day service delivery, however it was very operationally focussed and offered little from a commercial perspective. As such, we ended up with a patchwork quilt of distinct software packages, each operating in their own data silos, to gather the management information we needed. A fully integrated and utilised CRM was an obvious place to start and would allow us to better serve our customers, however it needed to fit in an around our current processes and procedures as efficiently as possible”
To address the challenges at Franks Portlock, we focused on the following areas:
· Reporting- To create an understanding of what data would empower business growth and a reliable reporting system around it.
· Innovative Technology- How this could be used strategically to empower growth
· Processing- How we could improve and automate core processes to empower growth
· Custom Software- Based around a technical specification to innovate the business
One example of the custom software we used was to address the issues around the CRM:
“Wubbleyou worked with us to implement Hubspot as a CRM system. This meant we had accurate customers sales and communications records, which meant we could plan our marketing in a more targeted way. The customer records are easily and instantly accessible, making it easy for anyone answering the phone to be informed of their activity and sales history and act accordingly.”
As we were working on this project during the pandemic, we had to make the business agile. We wanted to ensure that the employees could work remotely:
“The CRM system actually integrates with phone, so inbound enquiries are linked to the CRM, which is very useful. It also means that if anyone is working remotely, all they need to do is plug their phone into the router, and they are connected.”
The changes and suggestion we made have had a measurable impact:
1. Franks Portlock have a clear ROI driven data strategy, with clear next steps on how MI reports will be generated using data automation
2. Franks Portlock have an ROI driven technical innovation strategy, with tactical projects and known ROIs for implementing these projects
3. Franks Portlock with have documentation and process diagrams for the key processes in the business, and an understood ROI for optimising and innovating these with software. Understanding lifecycle of a 'job' from lead to delivery, and make these more profitable
Phil explains how it has helped:
“We’re still working through the implementation of all our planned software, but we’re already looking at time and efficiency saving through applications that integrate with our accounting software. That alone will greatly reduce the administrative effort required at the top level of management in the company, and reduce the potential errors generated through the duplication of data.”
Finally, we wanted to know what we were like to work with:
“We were working mainly with Mark, and his ability to absorb and then patiently interrogate our narratives when describing our existing processes and procedures was very impressive! His enthusiasm for the project and the desire to make an impact was apparent throughout. He’s also very clear and concise.”
What’s next for the business?
“We’ll continue to work through our roadmap to improve procedures through development and off the shelf software integrations at each stage of the company’s operation. There is a definite sea-change in the outlook of the senior team to move away from manual effort toward better automation, wherever practicable to do so.”