Case Study: UrbanVirons Group ditches paperwork

Posted on May 11, 2011 by

Gardening veteran Leon Whitehead gives the thumbs up to an app that helps him reduce paperwork and manage field staff.

Thirty-five years ago, when Leon Whitehead started his Adelaide horticultural maintenance business UrbanVirons Group, the only thing he used to track jobs was a paper docket book. As the years went on, staff numbers grew, and so did the paperwork.

Today the company looks after many of Adelaide’s public parks and gardens. With a workforce of around 60, UrbanVirons Group is a fine example of how business apps can be teamed with mobile technology to give
a business a competitive edge.

UrbanVirons Group was one of the first businesses to start using Xora TimeTrack, a mobile app that effectively replaces job sheets. In the three years since they introduced TimeTrack, UrbanVirons Group has made the most of the app by hooking it up to the company’s billing and wages systems.

“Instead of relying on paper orders, what we do now with Xora is we raise a job sheet and send it out to our field operators through their mobile phones so they can receive the information
in a paperless way,’’ Whitehead says. “They then record their activities on the job, including time and materials, against an identifiable client job number. When the job is finished, that comes back from the operator and we put it through software that we have written here.

“Once that is done, with the press of a button we send it through to our accountancy package, which then generates all the wages and our financial reports. That is all done electronically. We don’t have any paper time sheets and we don’t have any data entry apart from raising the initial job order.’’

Whitehead says he’d been on the lookout for new technology opportunities for years, without success, before finally finding
Xora TimeTrack.

“A lot of those things cost us money, they took longer and they didn’t deliver the things we wanted,” he says. “At one stage we looked at giving all our field operators a laptop, but the expense was huge. With Xora we pay around $35 per user per month.”

He says this cost is more than offset by the efficiencies gained. “Just on the administration side, saving all that data entry, you could say we are saving the equivalent of 1.5 staff. But the other advantage is that we can also respond more quickly to our clients’ requirements because we know where all our staff and vehicles are located at any time.”