Taylor Wimpey, one of the UK’s largest homebuilders, faces a challenge typical to all homebuilders: they don’t directly employ the vast army of plumbers, electricians, carpet fitters and other specialists needed for their projects. Instead, they work with a network of subcontractors. With 22 business units across the UK, managing these subcontractors was becoming increasingly cumbersome, and inefficient. Their previous system involved a lot of manual data entry, which left them susceptible to delays, which in turn impacted the level of customer satisfaction. Manual data management also presented an increased risk of GDPR leaks/mismanagement.
Taylor Wimpey’s previous system worked in a straightforward but inefficient way. When a new homeowner reported an issue, their team would manually assign a subcontractor to resolve it. Job details were sent out via email, and subcontractors provided weekly updates on their assigned tasks. These updates were processed manually by Taylor Wimpey’s team, leading to a lag in data accuracy and a waste of person-hours, as well as presenting a risk to the security of customer data. Job sheets with customer information were sent directly to subcontractors, leading to GDPR compliance risks.
The Solution: Crimson’s Microsoft Power Pages Portal
Taylor Wimpey collaborated with Crimson to create a Microsoft Power Pages portal integrated into their existing Microsoft Dynamics 365 customer service solution. This was designed to streamline the management of subcontractor tasks. Integration between the two Microsoft products was seamless and avoided complex integration challenges. The portal:
- Allows subcontractors to view and manage tasks directly.
- Facilitates real-time updates on task status.
- Assigns tasks only after subcontractors accept them, ensuring customer data is kept confidential.
- Enables a centralised approach, allowing a new central customer service team to handle tasks more efficiently.
The portal’s ease of use and focus on real-time data ensure that subcontractors can easily report their progress, reducing the need for manual data entry. Subcontractors now have the tools to tell Taylor Wimpey precisely what’s happening with each task, reducing misunderstandings and improving collaboration.
Though it’s early days, over 60% of subcontractors and suppliers have already adopted the system in some business areas. In under a month, over 12,000 tasks have been updated and the subcontractor user base, which includes over 1,500 people, is growing daily. The system is anticipated to handle at least 10,000 tasks a week once it reaches peak operation, and will represent a considerable return on investment in terms of person-hours saved.
Centralising some of the processes also frees the regional units to focus on more complicated customer cases, offering them an opportunity for more value-added activities. The business case is built around centralisation and aims to allocate resources across the company better.
Customer and Subcontractor Experience
From the customer’s viewpoint, the portal helps Taylor Wimpey offer better and more timely service. Customer service agents now have real-time updates, providing accurate and immediate responses to customer queries. Additional benefits of rolling out the portal include the elimination of printed job sheets which subcontractors were required to manually sign. This will lead to a vast reduction in the use of paper, which will in turn benefit the environment. The new system also helps ensure that subcontractors have the correct and most up to date information available about any job that they are working on, erasing the risk of out of date information being passed on. The portal gives subcontractors more control of their work and allows them to can update the task status themselves. Together, these benefits have made Taylor Wimpey even more straightforward to collaborate with.
Lessons and Future Directions
Taylor Wimpey and Crimson took a very hands-on approach to ensure the portal’s successful adoption. They held multiple training sessions and pilot testing phases, an approach that subcontractors found very supportive compared to other homebuilders. The goal is to push past the 70% adoption rate, making the portal an industry standard.
Taylor Wimpey’s collaboration with Crimson on the Microsoft Power Pages subcontractor portal addresses the inefficiencies, data lag, and GDPR concerns that plagued the old system. While it’s still early, the initial numbers are promising and point to significant future benefits regarding operational efficiency and improving customer and subcontractor relationships.
“Crimson’s understanding of the homebuilder sector and the project’s objectives helped to ensure the subcontractor portal project was delivered on time and within budget.”
– Bryony Walker-Hayes – External Project Manager