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26 June 2018

From Fire Safety to Traffic Monitoring - How to manage several divisions using one platform

Customer Stories | 3 minute read

Founded by Paul Sansbury, in 1994, Armitage Group oversees 5 divisions of various electrical engineering operations, and uses simPRO to manage them all with a single system.

Armitage Group have grown to be a substantial operation with a variety of divisions: Fire Safety, Security and Intelligent Transport Systems, Tunnel operations and systems monitoring. Until 2007 the business had been operating using several disparate systems.

Bringing 5 divisions into one, consolidated platform

Nowadays, Armitage is lead by the late Paul Sainsbury’s son, Zachary. When Zachary’s father was involved in the company, as is often the case, he would keep much of the information surrounding business to himself, as he was the key stakeholder. As the business grew however, it became obvious that disparate systems and inaccessible information was, quite simply, unsustainable.

The company had reached a level of growth in 2011 not sustainable by old-skool systems so the search began to find a solution that was flexible enough to manage the diverse range of workflows and departments that Armitage operated with.

In 2015 Paul became ill. Zachary stepped in to take over as Group General Manager. It was then he took a deeper look at what data was available and how he could use the reporting engine in simPRO to make financial and strategic decisions.

A division manager, identified as being technically adept and experienced in the industry was assigned the task of researching the software options available for their particular application and report back. simPRO came back as the obvious choice considering the potential depth of data to be recorded and the wide range of workflows needing to be covered within one system.

simPRO is now used in every division and every department across the 90 strong workforce.

simPRO Champions are the key to successful staff training

Armitage’s approach to thorough training for all staff has been to assign what they call ‘Fonts’ - people assigned to ‘champion’ the software and become the go-to nominee for all things simPRO. This gives each team a go-to, and readily available person, designated to address questions regarding the software. It also ensures the company is optimising their ROI for their expenditure.

The company are now planning to bring simPRO trainers in for further coaching. This is something simPRO thoroughly recommends. It’s a key attribute of the companies who use the software successfully.

As Armitage has expanded operations over the years, so too has simPRO as a company with the feature set of its software. Such changes, and the frequency at which they occur, mean that regularly bringing in a simPRO trainer for updates and further education can have a real impact on your staff’s understanding of the product.

“I cannot imagine one system having evolved with the greater diversity of business that we’ve undertaken…” Zachary Lawrence-Sansbury, Group General Manager (Commercial)

Data flows from the inception of any job to the field and back again so by the time the CEO needs to run a report for the Accountant, the bank or the client; the entire history of the job is available with accurate clarity.

“It has provided me with certainty that what I push on to clients, to the bank or to the accountant is a true reflection of what is being implemented in the field.”

The software that pays its own way

Zachary readily attributes simPRO to requiring one less administrator in his fire maintenance team so it’s clear that the software took no time at all to pay its own way.

“It’s an essential element for every part of our job management.”

Similarly, in the field, simPRO Connect allows the guys to be largely autonomous and saves an impressive amount of time in travel, especially considering Auckland's traffic issues.

Then, there’s the weekend

With an autonomous team working in the field and those operations being fed back into the office with accuracy, Zachary is able to spend time doing what he loves on the weekend. When he’s not absorbing the peace of his acreage, it’s Sunday drives into the hills or around the race track. Not a bad way to spend the weekend.

Watch the full story below.

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