Since edoc launched in January this year, over 1000 organisations across the UK have recognised its financial and practical benefits and started making the transition over to the new online system for recording waste transfers.
B&M Waste Services is one of the businesses that have successfully moved over to edoc and is now actively using the system for recording waste transfers on a day-to-day basis, along with more than half of its 6000 customers.
We talked to finance director at B&M, Grahame Henderson and systems accountant, Kevin Wong who managed and implemented to company’s transition over to edoc and asked them to share their experience of moving over to edoc and offer up some top tips for other businesses looking to make the switch to the new online system.
Grahame Henderson, Finance Director at B&M identified the benefits of edoc from an early stage and was actively involved in its development since the initiation of the project last year. Consequently the business was able to start planning for its move over to the new system in August last year which was key to its quick and seamless transition.
Grahame said “As a business we are always streamlining our processes to be more efficient for our customers and more environmentally friendly. As soon as we were made aware that the Environment Agency was preparing to launch a new online system for recording waste transfers we were eager to be involved.”
“The current paper system is out-dated, time-consuming and costly, and doesn’t align with our recycling-led core values as a business, so we eagerly anticipated this new system. As a result, once implemented, it has not only saved us time and money, but also assists further in our maintenance of Carbon Neutral status, which we have held since 2011.”
B&M were invited to join a Board Advisory Group by the edoc development team which was made up of more than 100 businesses all keen to act as consultants on the development of the new online system. This allowed the team at B&M to have a head-start over other businesses when it came to understanding how the new system would align with their current business format.
Kevin commented “As an active member of the Board Advisory Group (BAG) since the initiation of the project, we enjoyed consulting on the development of edoc. We attended regular testing days which enabled us to trial the system and feedback our thoughts and ideas on its overall design and functionality, along with other members of the BAG.”
“The testing days also allowed us to explore how the system would work for us and generate a comprehensive six month plan for switching the business over to edoc at the time of launch.”
B&M has more than 6000 customers and issue around 10,000 paper waste transfer notes (WTN) each year, so to ensure an easy move across to the new system preparation commenced in August 2013.
Grahame said, “We have a huge customer base and were keen to prepare for the launch well in advance to ensure a seamless transition.”
“Customer contact commenced last summer to inform them of the future changes and move to edoc, and while doing this we took the opportunity to data cleanse and obtain email addresses and SIC codes, both essential for the new online edoc system.”
Regular customer update e-newsletters kept customers up to date throughout the process, and customers were encouraged to communicate with B&M with any queries. The B&M Customer Service team undertook training to ensure they were able to assist with any of these customer queries.
Grahame commented “As a customer focused business, we always endeavour to give the highest level of customer service, and staff training is a fundamental part of this.”
All the preparation work allowed B&M to move over to the new system on the day of launch. Utilising the edoc CSV uploading tool, which enables businesses to upload large volumes of data in bulk, B&M uploaded 10,000 waste transfer note season tickets.
Kevin said “The CSV upload process was very straightforward, simple and quick, however in order to upload the files we were required to split our all our databases into 100 line files. We managed to do this by using Gsplit 3 – a simple, free-ware programme which splits CSV files for you automatically. We had ideally wanted to use the API uploading system which would have allowed us to bulk upload all our files in one go but our IT department was unable to implement this in time for launch so we went ahead using the CSV option instead.
“The best thing about edoc is that it is free to use, although not mandatory. We also like the fact that we can review, edit sign and store WTN’s with ease. We also receive notifications when there is a WTN for our attention or when a change has been made to a note by another party. There is also a log of all actions performed on a WTN, by whom and when, so we can keep track of all activity and monitor the process from start to finish.”
Grahame concluded “Customers have been very receptive to the new edoc system, and within one month more than 3000 have agreed to switch. As time passes more and more are coming on board, with the aim of converting all customers to edoc by the end of 2014. We have saved time and money on admin, printing and postage, and had a positive environmental impact whilst improving customer service, so the immediate impact has been very positive.”
Five top tips for moving over to edoc from Bagnall & Morris:
1. Communicate with your customers
Inform your customers of your plans to switch over to edoc prior to implementing the change. Explain how it will work and how they will benefit from switching over to the new online system
2. Data cleansing
Obtain all customers email addresses and SIC codes ahead of launch
3. Make it as easy for your customer
Pre-register all your customers on edoc before launch so all they need to do is click a link in order to complete the registration process
Establish a detailed plan for moving your business over to edoc – this involves sourcing the right system for you to upload your data and moving the business over to edoc
5. Personal approach
Make yourself accessible to your customer so you have a team of people available to answer any queries they might have