True grit: BigChange technology proves its worth for AA Salt14 February 2020

Gritting business AA Salt is reporting “substantial” productivity gains since a cloud-based mobile workforce and vehicle tracking system from BigChange.

Operators equipped with rugged tablets use a mobile app that synchronises in real time with telematics and back office management software as part of the new digital solution.

The Worcester-based operator provides commercial gritting and snow clearing services to an area that extends from the West Midlands to Gloucestershire. The productivity gains are due to improved routing and job scheduling using BigChange Schedular software, and greater efficiency through the elimination of paperwork.

As part of the system, the fleet is also fitted with GPS tracking so gritting operations can be monitored 24/7 and this, coupled with live status reports from gritting operators, has enabled AA Salt to boost customer service.

“As demand for our gritting service increased we knew we had to automate more,” says Ben Tanner, sales and operations director, AA Salt.

The BigChange solution had just been implemented when the ‘Beast from the East’ hit last year and, he says, “without it, we would never have coped with the demand”.

Tanner says: “Through work optimisation and digital reporting, we reckon we are saving five minutes per job and reducing driving time by a total of four hours each night. From just 100 jobs a night, we can now do up to 450.”

Jobs are scheduled and allocated in BigChange, with jobs sent directly to operators’ tablets. AA Salt has mapped and geofenced each site and, using the BigChange JobWatch app, operators can see job specifications and notify any issues with time- and location-referenced photographs on location.

All gritting reports are live and accessible to customers through the JobWatch web portal.

“Previously we were too nervous to outsource work but that has changed with JobWatch,” adds Tanner. “Now, the contractor can use exactly the same JobWatch app on their mobile phone so we can have the same level of control and seamless reporting to the customer.”

Laura Cork

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