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Ashley & McDonough – Early adopters gain competitive edge

Merseyside-based firm Ashley and McDonough Group (A&M) is an electrical and mechanical engineering business specialising in compliance services for the public sector and social housing. As a highly competitive sector when it comes to winning new business, using technology to gain a competitive edge and enhance the client experience is a valuable part of A&M’s strategy.

The Challenge

When a new prospect required an additional service beyond their current capabilities, A&M turned to Propeller for help. Bury College, based in Greater Manchester, issued a tender to contract out the servicing and maintenance of electrical and mechanical assets across their campus. In addition to compliance and job management, the specification insisted on the inclusion of a new digital asset register for ongoing maintenance. What’s more, the full solution to manage and monitor the service and maintenance program needed to offer full visibility to the college’s own estate management team.

Having worked closely with Propeller for 4 years, A&M were well aware of our team’s agility and creativity when it comes to a new challenge, so they asked for what could be achieved in an incredibly challenging timeframe.

The Solution

At the time, asset management was new strand of development for Propeller. The team therefore began by looking at existing systems that could be integrated with Propeller’s wider solution. After initial research, while it seemed technically feasible, unknown variables around timescales and potential costs rendered this approach unviable.

Always keen to rise to a challenge, Team Propeller therefore looked at adding the necessary functionality within its own systems. The ‘eureka moment’ came with the concept of incorporating QR codes with Propeller’s platform.

While Propeller has multiple development streams which would be impacted by the project the Propeller app is available on both the Apple IOS platform as well as Android so both versions of the mobile app would have to be enhanced.

Propeller’s cloud-based management portal would also have to be developed to manage the complex asset data in a secure and robust manner.

Within two weeks a prototype app on the Android platform (as A&M’s chosen mobile device platform) was being tested in-house with the amendments to the web-based management platform following shortly afterwards.

As part of the research and development to add value to the QR code tags, a unique 32 character was included to allow the college to scan the code with any smartphone and bring up all data recorded against the asset instantly on a webpage.

The Results

With the addition of QR codes for asset tagging and management, A&M successfully fulfilled the tender spec and were shortlisted to go through to the next stage of the process.

As part of that next stage, A&M and Propeller delivered a joint presentation to show how the software would work in reality (with the caveat that this was a beta version).

The presentation was a success, and A&M were awarded the full contract, with the asset tagging functionality playing a key part in securing the business.

Team Propeller subsequently worked tirelessly to ensure that the asset management and tagging solution was ready to roll out in time for contract mobilisation and within the first weeks of the contract being operational, all assets were audited and tagged with the asset database now driving the service and maintenance programs.

Jane Cunningham, A&M Director who led the bid to secure the college business said “There is a really strong partnership between Propeller and A&M. We consistently throw challenges at Propeller to help us to secure new business and they step up every time. Having a responsive software vendor who understands your business and actively supports you in winning business is a rare find indeed.”

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