Software from MapMechanics has enabled the company’s bailiffs to take on 30 to 40 per cent more work. The system has also enabled Dukes to reduce journey planning time radically, and has virtually removed the problem of neglected “out of area” calls. In addition, it has cut down the company’s fuel bills significantly.
Managing director Colin Naylor says he is very impressed with the new system. “We’re already wondering how we ever managed without it before,” he says.
Previously, the planning manager would allocate journeys to the company’s bailiffs manually on the basis of postcodes. Paperwork was assembled for each bailiff, but it was left to individual bailiffs to work out their route and call sequence.
“We knew there had to be a better way to handle the planning,” Colin Naylor says, “so we researched the market for a suitable system. In particular, I was attracted to a product that I had already seen from a company called MapMechanics.”
The system combines several products from MapMechanics’
Colin Naylor continues: “Being able to work with a map of a large area gets over a problem we had in the past, where the planner was working from the pages of an atlas, and couldn’t see calls that would have fitted into a given journey because they were out of sight on the next or previous page.”
The system also makes use of another MapMechanics product, TruckStops, whose routing engine enables it to plan efficient journeys that make best use of each bailiff’s time whist keeping travel to a minimum.
“Now the bailiffs no longer need to plan their own journeys. We can provide them with ready-made routes, which can save them at least an hour a day. In the past it sometimes took the planning manager all day to work out journeys for all the bailiffs. Now the job takes just an hour.”
Giving bailiffs pre-planned routes also prevents a previous problem, where a bailiff might omit visits that did not fit readily into the route he had in mind.
“Out of area calls form part of contractual obligations to customers, and the MapMechanics system helps us meet those commitments swiftly and efficiently,”
He says the bailiffs recognise that the new system actually works in their favour. “It’s important to check that they really did follow the proposed route. Everyone understands how the system works and what is expected.”
The new system is seen as an ideal complement to the Crystal Ball mobile phone-based tracking system already used by Dukes. “This gives us evidence that a bailiff actually visited a given location,” Colin Naylor says, “and is invaluable in helping to resolve disputes.”
Bailiffs also have satnav on their phones, and can use this to follow the routes worked out by the MapMechanics system. “The next logical stage would be to integrate the call sequence information with the satnav.”
Colin sums up: “The MapMechanics system has enabled Dukes to improve its rate of successful collection per bailiff, and that has a direct impact on our efficiency and profitability.”
Dukes Bailiffs was founded eighteen years ago. The company concentrates mainly on council tax and business rent work, and operates from its purpose-built premises at Tone using a fleet of small vans. Colin Naylor is co-chairman of CIVEA, the Civil Enforcement Association.
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MapMechanics provide innovative map based solutions. Based in the United Kingdom they have been providing software, data and consultancy for logistics and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for over twenty years.