Checkmate Fire is the UK’s leading passive fire protection specialist, supplying a comprehensive range of third-party accredited survey, installation and compliance services to public and private sector organisations across the country. Founder members of the BRE/LPCB passive fire protection certification scheme, they’ve served a growing list of industries for over three decades. Checkmate Fire protects people and property nationwide across the UK.
Checkmate Fire CEO John Lewthwaite and the executive leadership team were frustrated by the limitations of the sales, operational and accounts applications. Three key systems, Salesforce, Boris and ClipIT, weren’t fully integrated, which meant senior managers had poor visibility into business performance, and teams across the seven regional offices were using inefficient manual processes and off-system reporting methods.
The executive leadership team worked with staff across the business to transform operations and develop a unified approach called 'The Checkmate Way'. The whole team believed in the Checkmate Way, but they didn't have the right tool set for one consistent process.
Partnership for success
The leadership team chose to work with FluidIT because they wanted a partner who could rapidly identify and deliver improvements, leveraging new and existing technology, in order to generate quick business benefits.
FluidIT Director Louise Pipe started by working to understand their business vision, the people and the challenges. At the time, both businesses were moving to remote working because of lockdown. FluidIT Business Analyst, Lindsay Cahill, led virtual process mapping workshops, which participants said were 'just as good as being in the room'.
Checkmate’s Chief Operating Officer, David Woffendin, spearheaded the BA process internally, while FluidIT worked on the mechanical details to ensure everything could run smoothly from a technical and logistic standpoint.
Louise’s team presented options to Checkmate’s senior managers, showing how the scalable solutions fit for both now and the future, based on technology and budget and highlighting the risks. Checkmate decided on three work packages:
- System integration by robotic process automation (RPA), aka ‘the bot’
FluidIT’s software developer Jamie Powell saw an opportunity to utilise Microsoft Power Automate, which at the time was new to market, to enable new work to be created automatically in BORIS and ClipIT directly from Salesforce.
The new process means when a contract is won the contract administrators run a report from Salesforce which includes all key data and save it to Sharepoint. The bot copies the data and enters it into Boris and ClipIT, automatically creating contract records. No more manual re-entry of data or administration burden of spreadsheets.
- Performance reporting with operational management dashboards aka ‘one version of truth’
FluidIT software developer Ijaz Amjad worked closely with Damien Ward, Checkmate’s National Technical and Compliance Manager and Christian Key, Commercial Manager, to understand the Salesforce, Boris and ClipIT systems and their business processes. Ijaz built a new SQL server data mart, i.e. one data warehouse merging all the information from the three systems. Ijaz utilised Microsoft PowerBI to create an operations management dashboard reporting portal, containing multiple dashboards. Now senior managers can see real time reports on business performance throughout the company, the business units, and for each individual contract manager. This ensures no more labour intensive production of system trackers and reporting, and enables Checkmate to increase operational efficiencies across the board.
- Purchase to pay
FluidIT Director Louise supported Checkmate to implement the systemised purchase ordering and invoice matching system. She introduced good practice project and supplier management approaches to ensure their supplier delivered a robust solution that met the business's needs.
With the bot busy at work, 22 instances of re-keying data between spreadsheets, Boris and ClipIT have been removed. The bot saves time, increases efficiency and has reduced the risk of error from multiple manual data entries.
The dashboards provide click-of-a-button data on operational KPIs, including health and safety, quality, sales activity, profitability, productivity and customer satisfaction. The database supporting the three systems is a single source of information for the whole organisation.
Checkmate Fire’s CEO John and his team value consistency. Through the partnership with FluidIT, they’ve put in place the right tools and systems to enable the office teams to work to one process, continue to deliver to the same high standard across the regions, and that are scalable to support the business growth.
John Lewthwaite was the guest speaker at the Digital Quick Wins webinar, the first in our Digital for Transformational Growth series.