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Project Location

Client: Devon County Council
Year completed: Ongoing

vWork app improves efficiency

SWH was appointed in 1995 by Devon County Council to maintain its roads and highways until 2017. The Devon Highways brand – a virtual joint venture between SWH and Devon County Council - was established to do so, with SWH operatives carrying out work as directed by Devon County Council. SWH has invested a great deal of time and resource into finding ways to increase efficiency and output and to promote effective use of technology within the business.

The terms of this contract require a response time of 24 hours, seven days or 28 days to safety defects by our teams, depending on the classification of the affected road. Therefore, optimising response time and efficiency was crucial.

Prior to 2013, the contract relied on paperwork to assign daily tasks to road teams, report on and record the process of resolving safety defects on the highway, including potholes, broken or missing slabs and debris following inclement weather.

Shaun Gibbins, an SWH employee who had worked on the roads before progressing to the position of Business Solutions & Technology Manager, grasped the opportunity to modernise existing systems and assumed responsibility for updating the company’s IT solutions to streamline the process.

Shaun sourced an existing app, vWork, and worked with the company to integrate with other applications and back end systems to meet our complex needs. Using 3G the app allows real-time reporting of the status of jobs which is stored in the cloud, this allows SWH to integrate with a number of backend systems for reporting and visualisations. 

Key benefits of the new system have included:

  • Logging job data electronically instead of manually means it cannot be lost
  • Centralised data can be used by the client, Devon County Council, SWH and members of the public
  • Data is current and accurate
  • Road teams do not need to visit the depot to receive the day’s tasks. These are sent electronically to each gang’s iPad based on geographical location and provides satellite navigation to the next job
  • Improved efficiency results in a tangible cost saving due to lower fuel consumption. This can be passed on to the client
  • The app offers dynamic risk assessments, allowing a greater level of safety for road users and operatives
  • Managers are updated of the progress of jobs as steps are completed, allowing greater control over workloads and assignment of tasks
  • Before and after photos of works can be collected for posterity and can be used in the instance insurance claims are raised to show work completed
  • It is now possible to analyse the efficiency of particular gangs and identify areas for improvement and where further training may be beneficial
  • SWH can now provide detailed data showing the repair cost per defect as well as average response times and other pertinent information
  • There are further plans to consolidate this data with an online resource that would show members of the public information that may be useful, including the status of grit bins, gullies and more

Data connectivity can be an issue in the South West, especially as we regularly work in rural or isolated areas. To combat this we use two different mobile networks in order to increase the chance of having sufficient reception. When offline, the app continues to record inputted information which is then uploaded when the data network becomes available. 

Project Location

Client: Devon County Council
Year completed: Ongoing