Switching to a new IT system can be hard for any business. B&M Waste Services was one of the first to move over to edoc (electronic duty of care), the new online system for recording movements of commercial and industrial waste, and is bringing its customers along in the process. Their experience shows that, with good preparation and a focus on customers, the switch can be easier than you might think.
“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 waste transfer notes with ease. 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.”
B&M Waste Services
We asked B&M Waste Services finance director Grahame Henderson, and systems accountant Kevin Wong who managed the company’s transition to edoc, to share their experience and top tips for other businesses looking to make the switch to the new online system.
How will edoc help?
B&M Waste Services has more than 6000 customers in the North West of England, and issues around 10,000 waste transfer notes (WTNs) each year. So, to ensure an easy move from paper to online, preparation started several months ahead.
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.”
How did you go about moving to edoc?
Kevin commented “As an active member of edoc’s Business Advisory Group (BAG), we enjoyed consulting on the development of edoc. We attended regular testing days which enabled us to trial the system and feed back 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.”
Grahame continued, “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 e-newsletters kept customers up to date throughout the process, and customers were encouraged to communicate with B&M with any queries. B&M organised training for its Customer Service team to ensure they were able to assist.
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 very same day that edoc launched. Using the edoc CSV uploading feature, which enables businesses to upload large volumes of data in bulk, B&M uploaded 10,000 waste transfer note season tickets on day one of operation.
Kevin said “The CSV upload process was very straightforward, simple and quick. In order to prepare the data, however, we found we needed to split our database 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 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.”
Why did you move to edoc?
“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, and it’s our aim to convert 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 to edoc from B&M Waste Services
1. Plan your move
Establish a detailed plan for moving your business over to edoc. This involves choosing the right method for you to upload your data – web portal or API
2. Communicate with your customers
Inform your customers of your plans to switch 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
3. Data cleansing
Take the opportunity to review customer information, for example email addresses and SIC codes, ahead of implementation
4. Make it easy for your customers
Pre-register your customers on edoc and add their business information for them. This means they only need to click a link to complete their registration
5. Personal approach
Make yourself accessible to your customers. If you can, have people available to answer any queries they might have.
If you are interested in hearing from more edoc users, sign up for our edoc e-bulletin.