Case Study: Romec
Originally the Royal Mail Engineering & Construction division of The Post Office, Romec was created in 1989 to provide dedicated facilities and engineering-related services to the Royal Mail Group. In 2000 Romec was launched as a fully-fledged facilities management company. The company now employs over 4,500 staff at multiple locations throughout the UK.
Challenge – maintaining a high level of service to over 25,000 locations
With the responsibility of responding to over 4,000 service calls per days, from over 25,000 sites including major blue chip organisations, Romec prides itself on delivering a highly efficient service that sets it apart from other FM providers.
With 200 operators servicing calls across three sites in Warrington, Leeds and head office in Stockport, Romec's telephone system is paramount to the success of its operation. When the old circuit switched system began to struggle under the strain, the information services (IS) management team knew it was time invest in a new solution that would provide greater flexibility and functionality.
IS Services Manager at Romec, Stuart Keating explains, "At Romec we manage all the service elements of a facility including; intruder alarms, power, gas, water, air conditioning, in fact anything that involves the smooth running of an operation. Typically when an alarm or call comes in, the operator needs to know what takes priority so they can take the necessary steps to handle it. For instance this may involve calling a facility manager, a sub-contractor or in the case of an intruder alarm the relevant key-holder. It is important that the call is answered promptly by operators who have the necessary skill set, or if they are not available, the call needs to be automatically routed to next person in the group. Furthermore it is essential that if for any reason we have a power or any other infrastructure failure at any of our sites the system can route calls to a back-up facility. Business continuity is critical to both ours and our clients' operations."
Keating continues, "Our incumbent system had been installed for some time and was struggling to cope with the demands we were putting on it. To improve the efficiency of our operation we also needed new functionality such as on-line presence, so we could immediately see from any location who is logged on and who is not. We also wanted support for remote working, so operators could be based from any location, complete call integrity between all three sites for disaster recovery purposes and simple to use call recording for training and dispute resolution."
Selecting a flexible, 250+ user communications system with built in disaster recovery
Romec drafted a Statement Of Requirements (SOR) document that included the following:
- A flexible and robust 250+ user system that could operate over multiple sites, was easily configurable and function-rich and could be easily upgraded to accommodate new users in the future
- Built-in disaster recovery and business continuity
- A solution that provided enhanced remote working using home based internet connectivity
- Provide sophisticated call scripting for a demanding inbound/outbound call centre environment
- Provide detailed call analysis
- Have integrated call recording
- To be configurable by Romec's own technical staff
Romec evaluated a number of systems on the market before finally selecting the software-based unified communications SwyxWare from Swyx gold partner, GPNS.
Keating explains the selection process, "We were very impressed by the SwyxWare solution and the knowledge GPNS demonstrated about our business requirements. The software was feature rich, future proof and extremely flexible and could be deployed on our existing infrastructure and supported by our own in-house staff, therefore negating the need to rely on third-party contractors. We really like the licensing model as this would allow us to grow our call centres incrementally without major capital costs or disruptions to our operation."
A phased installation across three sites
As communications is a critical part of Romec's business it was agreed with GPNS that the implementation would take a phased approach starting initially with Warrington and then rolling out to Leeds and Stockport.
Keating comments, "The Warrington facility is very busy during the day so all of the work had to be carried out during the night, however this was not a problem for GPNS who were available 24/7 during this period to ensure that the installation went ahead as planned and to overcome any teething problems that we encountered."
Results – A flexible solution, that improved operational efficiency and retained 100% service even during heavy snow
All three sites are now fully installed and Swyx is used by all Romec's employees including call centre operators, facilities managers, admin staff and directors.
According to Keating the solution is provides the following benefits:
- Unprecedented levels of flexibility which has had a major impact on operationally efficiency. E.g. manage the peaks and troughs of the inbound and outbound calls, so that they can make better use of call centre operators
- Manage call routing dependent on the time of day E.g. when Warrington is finished they switch across to Leeds which is 24/7
- Integration of entire company phone book means that staff can just click on the number to reach sub-contractors, facilities managers, key-holders etc.
- Presence feature enables them to know at any time who is active, who is busy and who is free
- Sophisticated call scripting ensures that call centre operators follow the correct procedure for each alarm/call dependent on priority
- Managers can work from any location using their lap-tops and soft-phones instead of their mobiles, thus saving money on call costs and travel
- The integrated Conference facility is saving the company around about £1,000 per month, compared with using the previous outsourced facility
- Cuts out additional telephony support costs – Romec's in-house team does all of configurations
- Wall board integrated with SwyxWare display all calls actioned, missed etc. – allowing closer analysis of procedures, how much time is spent on the call, when the peaks and troughs are, staffing during low activity times etc.
- Business continuity – able to route calls to different locations and use SIP trunking to backup main ISDN lines in case of catastrophic failure.
Keating continues, "But perhaps the biggest test of the system so far was the deluge of snow, that all but closed our three call centres for four days, as our staff could not get to work. However we simply issued everyone with a lap-top, headset and soft-phone and the operators logged-in from home and worked as normal. We had nearly 100% continuity of service for this period."
GPNS also developed a specific software 'skin' for Romec that highlights which alarms/calls are of highest importance, for example if a vehicle is stolen or an intruder is detected these alarms would have a higher priority than a minor air conditioning failure. Therefore Romec are now able to draft new operating procedures around the different alarm inputs to ensure that essential alarms are dealt with in priority order.
According to Keating the SwyxWare Unified Communications system has achieved everything that was required of it and much more, and it has even overcome a few dissenting voices who were unsure that a ‘pure’ IP based PBX would deliver the performance that the organisation demanded.
He explains, "The SwyxWare system was as far apart from our old hardware based system as it is possible to be, therefore it was not surprising that there were a few skeptical voices at the start of the project. However, very quickly the system's benefits came to the fore and everyone is now convinced that the solution is a real asset to our entire organisation."
"The system has been very reliable and the level of service from GPNS has been extremely high, they are always available when we need them."
Romec is planning a phased roll-out over the next year for another 5 sites with an additional 200 operators bringing the total number of users to 450. They will also be expanding the number of users who work from home using SwyxWare.
Swyx Partner: Elite Telecom