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Spirit Data Capture provides real time visibility and information solution for May Gurney

For maximum efficiency, organisations that have a lot of workers in the
field need to be able to send information to them and receive their
feedback in real time. The solution chosen by services company May
Gurney was the Motorola MC75, sourced and supported by Spirit Data
Capture Limited. The devices have already produced significant savings
in time, costs and paper – as well as providing real-time visibility of
the workforce.

May Gurney is an infrastructure support services company. It is
committed to helping its clients in the public and regulated sectors to
deliver sustainable improvements to front-line services across the UK.
It achieves this by ensuring that road, utility, rail and waterways
networks and public buildings are well maintained and that household
waste is collected, managed and recycled. Ultimately, these essential
maintenance services help to keep the country running.

For the last few years, May Gurney has been using Works Management
systems to automate its works order process. However, its output to its
field-based operatives and their subsequent feedback was all
paper-based. Essentially the company required a flexible and reliable
mobile system.

Sourcing a solution
Solutions Manager, Neil Lloyd, comments "Some time ago, we considered a
project that would have used tablet PCs in our vehicles. However, we
didn’t proceed due to the size of the units; some health and safety
issues relating to where they could be mounted in the cab; and the
complexity of the software we were using.

"We eventually decided that we needed a rugged handheld device that had
a good screen that would be clearly visible outdoors. It also needed to
be capable of taking photos as evidence of works that we had completed –
and GPS was needed so that we could accurately record positional data.
A good warranty was also important to us, due to the demanding nature of
our business.

"After careful research into the various devices available, we decided
that the Motorola MC75 fitted our strategic requirements, so I set out
to find suitable suppliers. After contacting various companies, we
decided that Spirit Data Capture’s overall approach as a strategic
partner was the best fit for our business. They had a good track record
in the volumes we required and offered an all-encompassing service."

The Motorola MC75 Worldwide Enterprise Digital Assistant is a
lightweight but rugged mobile computer that incorporates integral GPS
functionality, offering super sensitivity and tracking. It also has
GSM, Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) and 3G Wireless Wide Area
Network (WWAN) capabilities. Other key features include a high
resolution digital colour camera, a bar code scanner and Bluetooth and
IrDA connectivity. It also has a high definition VGA display.

Neil continues: "As we intended to roll out mobile working across our
organisation, we needed to ensure that the hardware was both reliable
and durable, and that any potential impact on the business would be
minimised. It was clear from the start that the MC75 was the best
mobile device in its class, with a very good specification and excellent
service and warranty conditions."

May Gurney is able to build mobile applications in house. However, the
company needed a much more flexible and scalable solution to meet its
needs for rolling out mobile working across the organisation. With the
help of Spirit, it chose Global Bay as its strategic partner for Mobile
Rapid Application Development.

Global Bay allows the company to build mobile applications rapidly in a
modular format so that the functionality can be re-used in new projects.
This allows May Gurney to build a suite of components which should make
future developments much quicker and easier. The applications are run
within a ‘Wrapper’ on the mobile device which allows them to interact
with each other and shell out into third party applications, such as Sat
Nav etc.

Spirit implemented Soti’s Mobi-Control mobile device management system
for the remote management of May Gurney’s MC75s and HTC PDAs. Spirit
also provided a customised training programme for May Gurney’s IT
support team, which covered the Global Bay mobile software, Mobi-Control
device management system and the MC75 hardware. The company continues
to provide a technical support and customer care service to May Gurney.

Rolling it out
May Gurney has now rolled out the MC75s to several areas of its
business. Firstly, it is using them for two-way work management in the
Utilities sector. Gangs receive their work instructions on the MC75 and
can view the job pack electronically. This includes all of the data
relating to the job they are about to attend – including health and
safety information, risk assessments, utility drawings etc.

Status updates from the gangs are fed back in real time to enable
visibility of events (such as accepting a job, travelling to a job, on
site and work completed). The camera is used for photographic evidence
before and after works, and the GPS functionality is used to record the
location of the job. The gang also feeds back information about the job, such as the materials used, via the barcode scanner.

The solution is now being developed further as part of the company’s
MGConnect(tm) platform. The rapid application development software
enables them to build and configure applications in line with different
business requirements. This has allowed the company to quickly roll out
its new Asset and Works Management solutions to its Highways sector,
with the aim of developing a common platform that can be rolled out
across the organisation.

In May Gurney’s Environmental Services sector, the MC75s are being used
as in-cab devices. They give the crews real time information about the
collection rounds on which they are working, including special
collections or known problems. The crews feed back information (such as
missed collections) in real time, so that the call centre staff have the
information needed to deal with customer queries efficiently.

The company also uses the Motorola devices for its Rangers application.
They enable field-based personnel to record defects, note details and
take photos for evidence. The GPS co-ordinates are also captured,
enabling the company to identify defect hotspots on its web-based map.

Reaping the rewards
Neil Lloyd reports: "The workers in the field have taken to the Motorola
MC75s very well. Before we chose the devices, we gauged the reaction of
a number of gangs by providing them with a demo unit. The early
feedback was positive. Through careful roll out and support, the
adoption of the devices has been very good and we now have several
hundred in use.

"The Motorola units are working well in tough environments with very few
problems. The screen can be viewed easily outdoors, making the device
very useable. It’s a great all-in-one package for recording data and
photographs and for GPS and barcode data capture.
"In terms of our initial roll out for two-way works management, we
estimate that we’ve made a 10% saving by introducing mobile working to
one particular contract. Gangs can now pick up their jobs without
having to congregate in depots. There has also obviously also been a
significant saving in paper. However, regardless of the cost savings,
one of the main benefits is the real time visibility of the workforce."

Ian Cox, Director of IS, May Gurney, concludes: "As our clients are
always seeking to increase efficiency, we developed a vision for mobile
working. We recognised that we needed to get information to and from
our field ‘gangs’ in real time, so that both we and our clients could be
instantly informed of any progress. This would give us a clear picture
of our workforce as well as saving a lot of paperwork.

"We spent a long time evaluating several systems and organisations and
since day one, Spirit have been very attentive to our needs. They also
provided us with a provisioning service for rolling out our builds.
They are extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of mobile working and
have always been helpful and accommodating.

"We have regular update meetings to discuss new technologies, potential
service offerings and best practices with a view to continuous
improvement. In terms of support, Spirit have been very efficient in
resolving any problems. They have become an excellent strategic partner
for mobile working."

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