In the first part of an exclusive interview with UK Construction Media, Auto Time’s Operations Director, Christian Berenger, discusses Vanquish and its impact on the construction
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Could you provide our readers with an introduction to Vanquish and its functions?
Vanquish is a comprehensive workforce management solution that automates day-to-day business processes and integrates key business functions into one centralised solution.
It captures the attendance and departure of employees from a number of guises and translates this into powerful analytics from which managers can make informed business decisions – from a productivity and costing perspective and also from a health and safety compliance perspective.
If we look at the Vanquish application end-to-end, it captures employees or contractors attendance to a site. It manages the individuals on-site from their skillset – what they are qualified to do – but also from a health and safety perspective – where they are and what time they arrive on-site.
It calculates the amount of hours worked and attribute the correct pay rates, enabling contractors to create an actual budget analysis from a labour perspective. What was budgeted for in terms of the contract and tender versus the actual cost to complete that task or project.
In terms of health and safety it automates roll call reports that are linked to fire alarm systems. In the event of an emergency these reports are sent out to the muster points.
Integration with access control allows contractors to control the ingress and egress to a building or locations within a building, security to certain areas, and a full audit trail of where individuals can and can’t go.
Vanquish has grown into a full workforce management tool, providing powerful intelligence for budgeting, payroll, access control and health and safety.
It’s a very business critical tool – a centralised solution that any organisation will benefit from.
What was the thought process regarding the creation of Vanquish as an end-to-end solution?
Client demand has driven the development of Vanquish. Clients approach us daily with individual requirements.
We have a very agile development process and, as part of that, we have a product roadmap for the functionality that we are going to provide over the course of the next 18 months. This agile roadmap is generally created using the feedback that we have received from clients or prospective clients.
Several years ago we were approached by a number of construction organisations for whom contractor attendance had become a pain point. They wanted to monitor attendance and skillset once a contractor arrived on site, so they knew exactly what was happening on site.
As a solution provider we created a specification of how we could model our software, without a complete rework, to deliver what these organisations required. As part of the development process we listened to their problems, went back to the marketplace and delivered the solution – this is an essential step to building a robust platform.
We listen to what the client requires and put their feedback into a roadmap so that they are able to contribute to the development. We bring a lot of our clients into a quarterly or half-yearly forum to get that feedback.
It’s been a natural and organic progression and Vanquish is always developing because the industry just requires more these days. It would be foolish of us to sit with prospective clients and say ‘this is what we do’, when it is clear that a ‘one size fits all’ approach simply won’t cut it anymore. To get the best results clients need solutions that are customised to their business requirements and specific management challenges.
That’s the whole premise of why we have moved into this marketplace – there’s an opportunity here. Most of the time something isn’t delivering everything that the client wants or they are delivering but across lots of different applications.
What clients want is simplicity and the centralisation of data. We write everything within a single product and modularise it so that the client gets what they want. They don’t get lots of different applications that provide segmented data – instead they can build the perfect system for their business.
All of the data collated sits in a central database can be interrogated to provide a whole array of reports. If the data is in there, they can create a report on it. It gives them strong management information and analysis to be able to make strong decisions going forward.
How has Vanquish impacted the industry positively?
One of the major things in the industry we’ve done is develop Vanquish so that it not only records the arrival/departure of contractors on site, but ensures they have the correct skillsets. These will be aligned on their CSCS cards so we actually utilise that credential within our application so that the cards themselves identifies their attendance on-site. We can utilise this so that who they are and what they do is identified.
We’ve also built on-site briefing meetings, into the software so the contractor can create an array of briefing meetings depending on the projects, and those people working on site have to register their attendance at those meetings as well as their arrival on site.
If they don’t attend meetings for site risks, health and safety challenges, risk assessments, it flags up alerts in the software to say who hasn’t attended the briefing meetings and for which task. It improves health and safety and efficiency by ensuring the right people are fully aware of what needs to be done on site that day, week or for a particular element of work.
There’s no other software out there that really does that in a centralised platform so that impacted heavily with the clients we’ve deployed it to because it gives them another element of control of the contract and project. Therefore it is a positive impact on the efficiency, productivity and overall cost of the job.
By working in close collaboration with contractors we have developed a good understanding of the industry. This means when contractors invest in Vanquish they are not investing in a blank slate but a system that is ready to deliver immediate value to their business.