Hiring 24 new staff within a 12 month period has prompted a successful Narberth company to transform the way it runs its business operations by leaping into the digital future. And since embracing the possibilities, Apple Blossom Cleaning Services has dramatically improved productivity and given its 109 employees the ability to use their smartphones to log in from remote locations as a safety measure.
"I know some businesses have reservations about the cloud and newer technologies but once you get your head around the fact they are pretty easy to set up and use - and give you more control rather than less - it really becomes a lot easier to see the benefits,” said Phil Deacon, development manager for Apple Blossom.
“We’ve saved huge amounts of time by turning our back on a paper-based office and we’ve been able to focus on winning more business.”
Integrating systems to save time
The company uses SmartTask, a cloud based staff management tool for its operational, HR and payroll processes to reduce office admin and to intelligently match staff to jobs based on location so they spend their time productively rather than in transit between jobs. This is particularly useful during the busy summer season where many staff are contracted to clean holiday cottages in remote areas and travel times can increase.
Phil added: “Effectively managing staff rotas and considering employee welfare is not the only reason digital technology is part of our wider business strategy. We recognised the need for fully integrated systems across the business to give us a competitive edge.”
Winning new contracts
In addition to improved staff engagement and productivity, the company has been able to focus on winning contracts it previously wasn’t able to compete for. As well as now having the time to focus on winning prestigious public sector contracts, it has gained the ISO90001 and ISO140001 accreditation it needed to crack the lucrative construction industry, working on after-build cleans. Something Phil says has only been possible due to streamlining processes and working smarter.
“We are now focusing on delivering 100 per cent efficiency using the SmartTask app. After which we will upgrade our existing CRM system to connect with other applications and processes so we avoid duplication, such as inputting customer data in more than one software,” he said.
Generating more leads with its new website
This will become increasingly useful as the company receives a number of business leads through its new website, an undertaking inspired following Phil’s attendance at a Superfast Business Wales workshop on customer relationship management and social media.
He added: “I attended the course and thought I’d review our website using Google Analytics as they showed us. And I was horrified that the bounce rate was so high; people were landing on the site and leaving without ever contacting us.”
He went on to take advantage of a one-to-one session with a Superfast Business Wales adviser and also used a number of the online guides provided by the service to develop a more flexible and resilient business.
“Having identified the structure for the new website, and building an interactive site that visitors can use, we are attracting better quality enquiries via the web and our conversion rate is also better. Technology has transformed our approach especially since we’ve seen the results,” he said.
“We’re now focusing on a digital marketing strategy and incorporating social media to continue expanding our reach and that’s where our CRM system alongside SmartTask will help us clean up the market!”
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