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One year on, our smart containers partnership goes from strength to strength

A GreenSquareAccord tradesman smiling in his van

In April last year, we announced that we would be working with Jewson Partnership Solutions (JPS) to deliver a ground-breaking repairs and maintenance scheme.

Starting with a pilot project in Wiltshire, we installed several smart containers which our operatives use to manage their own supplies of materials to help them complete repairs first time.

We currently have smart containers in Swindon, Chippenham and in the Midlands region.

Our smart containers work in a very similar way to Amazon Hub Lockers or Inpost machines. When operatives need parts, they order them to the locker via an app, Avail, which alerts them when they are ready to collect along with a code to gain access.

The app empowers operatives to manage their own supply of materials and brings specific non-van stock items to the operative - this helps to streamline our repairs process.

Our Director of Repairs and Maintenance, Andrew Rossiter, said “From the outset, we had two main objectives for the smart container project with JPS.

“Firstly, we wanted to increase the number of first-time fixes therefore removing the need for follow-on appointments. Our second core aim was to reduce the time operatives spend collecting materials and the overall amount of time they spend in their vans.”

“Both objectives were aimed at helping us to deliver an improved repairs and maintenance service for our customers.”

“The service and support that JPS provide has been a drastic improvement to previous suppliers and has enabled us to deliver a better service for our customers.”

Since we launched the initiative last year, our customers have seen real benefits such as an increased number of repair jobs completed first time and faster turnaround times due to reduced waiting periods for materials.

This is reflected in the following outputs:

  • Travel time to collect materials reduced to 67 hours in April 2023 from 130 hours in March 2022
  • The percentage of jobs fixed first time rose above 80% at the start of 2023, compared to 73% in March 2022
  • Special parts and materials are now sourced on average within 6 days which was 14 days with previous suppliers.

Earlier this year, our smart collection points with JPS were highly commended in the Best Repairs and Maintenance Innovation award at the Housing Digital Innovation Awards.

This is a solid achievement given that we faced tough competition in our award category from FaultFixers, Mobysoft, Platform Housing Group, Plentific, TCW and Voicescape.

Our smart containers project was also recognised at the UK Housing Awards in December 2022, coming second in the Innovator of the Year (housing association or local authority) category.