(Image: Gary Nicholls, Managing Director, Swiftclean)

Swiftclean are a 'one-stop-shop' for compliance hygiene and fire safety, operating throughout the UK. The company's three core service areas are: cleaning kitchen extraction systems; General ventilation system cleaning and fire damper testing; Controlling Legionnaires' disease by risk assessing water systems. Gary Nicholls explains Swiftclean is a company that can be relied on to protect their clients and keep them legally compliant:

"The reason to use Swiftclean is we will do the job, right. We work to the right specifications that people can rely on. What we do is going to protect them and keep them legally compliant.

"We are very well accredited, we operate our business to ISO 9001, 14001 and  45001. We've done that for many years and the way we manage quality, environmental compliance and health and safety management is to the highest level.

"With our kitchen extraction system fire safety management service, we are pioneers of a new scheme called the 'Ventilation Hygiene Elite' scheme. That was set up to help the industry to improve quality."

Swiftclean recognised that something was holding them back: Their internal systems weren't supporting their business as it grew. To better support larger clients with multiple locations, like Dunhelm, Swiftclean needed to make their processes more efficient. They sought support from the Haven Gateway Partnership's project TALE to upgrade, and were awarded £57,153:

" TALE helped us change our computerization systems to make us more efficient.

"We were using lots of different IT systems, taking information out of one putting it in another. We'd have one accounting system, we'd have another CRM system, lots of Excel spreadsheets. The idea of the TALE funding was to start to bring that all together into one system or linked systems."

"It all starts off through the CRM system. The technical salespeople would collect information about systems that need servicing quantities, etc. and then that information would be added to the CRM system. That can then be converted into a contract on the Collabit system. The system is a planning tool. So, once the contract's set up those jobs that need to be done will be added to the planner. Certain jobs will be set automatically, every three months etc.

"When the engineers go over to site, they will get issued the job on the smartphone or tablet. The idea is there's no paper."

The next step was to share this job information with the client in a seamless manner. So, Swiftclean then sought funding from the I-Construct project, to make their processes easier for clients to follow. They were awarded a £20,250 grant to help develop a dashboard:

"The I-Construct funding is about developing that system further so that the dashboard, all the information we give to our customers, is state of the art. It's considering how the customer wants to see that information and presenting the information in a way that helps them to manage their non-compliance issues efficiently."

Though the new system is still rolling out across their division, Gary feels the project will have a very tangible impact on Swiftclean's bottom-line:

"In the long-term when the whole project is complete, we think we'll gain at least 20% efficiency so that we can expand without increasing our overhead.  The gross margin on the business is around about 50%, so once the turnover covers the overhead, the net profit will increase exponentially because of the efficiencies."

He also hopes that the dashboard will offer an added benefit when it comes to customer acquisition and retention - two key components of growth:

"Having that customer portal differentiates Swiftclean against our competitors so that when our salesmen are out in front of customers, they can show them this really useful dashboard.

"We're also hoping that by having that desirable customer interface, our customers are really going to want to stick with us. They won't want to move because they love the information that we're providing them."

If you have an innovative project like Swiftclean's in mind, visit the TALE or I-Construct websites to learn more about the benefits they offer SMEs.

I-Construct and TALE are funded by ERDF.