Facts at a glance
Brooks Hire was using an online Receival Dispatch app with no offline mobile capabilities. The app was designed to allow staff to take and upload photos to a central database to record vital information about when equipment needed servicing and who was responsible for any incurred damages. But it was problematic because it forced staff to upload photos manually when they were taken on site in areas with low internet connectivity.
- A new improved app with offline capabilities so that photos can be uploaded automatically once a staff member has moved to an area with better internet coverage.
- New features to allow users to automatically attach and categorise photos to hire contracts without requiring the extra step of sorting them manually.
- Improved naming conventions to support faster data retrieval.
- Integration of Greentree ERP.
- Optimisation of Azure environment and cloud investment.
- Over 2,000 photos taken and uploaded automatically every day.
- The equivalent of two full-time staff freed up to focus on other important tasks.
- $6,000 reduction in monthly Azure spend
Area of expertise:
Modern apps: Drive efficiency in your workplace and create positive customer experiences with applications that provide real business value.
Brooks Hire Service is the largest privately owned construction and earthmoving equipment hire company in Australia, with over 40 years of experience in the equipment hire industry. It specialises in the hire of plant and machinery for the civil and mining industries and has over 5,000 pieces of equipment for hire from branches all over the country.
Insight has helped modernise Brooks Hire’s Receival Dispatch application, streamlining the company’s machine dispatch and receival process, and supporting efficient and transparent data retention across the company’s 18 Australian sites.
The original idea behind the application was to allow staff to take and then upload photos to a shared drive when dispatching and receiving hired equipment – allowing them to record the condition and engine hours logged on each piece of machinery and share that information in real time. This level of record-keeping is vital to Brooks Hire’s business because it tells staff when equipment needs servicing and who is responsible for any damage that has occurred.
But the original app had teething problems – it was difficult to use (especially for staff without tech expertise) and had no offline mobile capabilities for use in areas with low network connectivity.
To improve its usability and save staff from having to manually upload photos when the app or internet connection failed, Brooks Hire set about developing a new version of its app.
What Insight Delivered
Brooks Hire’s IT Manager Scott Middleton approached Insight for support with the app’s rebuild. He wanted to create a new version of the app that could work anytime, anywhere – regardless of the user’s network connectivity.
Insight rebuilt the app so that photos taken on site automatically uploaded once a staff member moved to an area with better reception and was back online. As a result, the manual uploading of photos is now a thing of the past, freeing up time for the company to focus on other aspects of its IT infrastructure.
The modernised app also reduces the number of buttons that staff need to click to categorise photos. Users can simply choose to ‘take a photo of a document’, ‘take a general photo’ or ‘take a photo of damage’ to automatically sort photo types rather than having to annotate each photograph individually after uploading.
These improvements, mean there is much less room for human error.
Insight also enabled Brooks Hire to integrate Greentree – its existing Enterprise Resource Planning software – into the app to support more robust and transparent data retention. The app uses Azure FileShare to upload images on a mapped shared drive. Photos are then attached internally through Greentree to allow annotations like engine hours, time and date.
“From a resourcing perspective, the new app has freed up at least two employees from the manual task of sorting and uploading photos. The app itself is working excellently. I know this because our company has grown exponentially since we started using it. And despite dealing with a workforce three times bigger than before, I’m dealing with one tenth of the problems I used to.” Scott Middleton, IT Manager, Brooks Hire
Insight leveraged a best-practice approach of DevOps delivery to design and build the application, holding consultations with Brooks Hire up to three times per week. The first version was released in just under six weeks. Since then, Insight has reduced consultations to just once a week as Brooks Hire requires less support and the app is working as needed.
The simplicity and reliability of the new Receival Dispatch app has not only improved business efficiency but built employee confidence in their IT systems and teams. The application processes over 2000 photos per day and has drastically improved the on-site experience for staff who previously struggled using an out-of-the-box app that could not keep up with the growth of the company.
“The work with Brooks Hire has been very interesting for us because it’s been about building trust with the client. Our work with organisations that are undergoing unprecedented levels of growth like Brooks Hire involves a different kind of journey from our enterprise-grade clients – it is valuable to provide support, expertise and consulting while at the same time building a client partnership that lasts.”
Optimising cloud spend and visibility
Insight also stepped in to help Brooks Hire with broader goals of optimising its Azure environment and cloud investment. It has already delivered recommendations on improving cost management and resource augmentation for internal development efforts.
After an initial analysis, Insight’s recommendations and proposed action plan have been set in motion and the company has already been able to cut its IT spend down from $24,000 to $18,000 per month. Brooks Hire has also secured Azure tenancy and Office 365 licensing through Insight, achieving significant cost savings per license.
Azure optimisation is an ongoing journey for Brooks Hire and Insight – the ultimate goal is to create broader data standardisation and consistency. Consolidating Brooks Hire’s huge range of services and equipment under a single system is an immense IT challenge. The company looks forward to working with Insight to appropriately allocate resources and improve security across the board.
“The team at Insight has been especially helpful thanks to their innate knowledge of the solution and how it has been built. So, there is an intuitive understanding behind defining and solving problems that arise. This has also made working together a very seamless experience, and it has been easy to get leadership on board.” Scott Middleton, IT Manager, Brooks Hire
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