TIS design, install and maintain smart life safety and security systems for a diverse range of sectors operating as a specialist in the following vertical sectors; Public Spaces, Education, Integrated Retirement Communities and Defence. The company was founded in 1948 in Mansfield and has grown to become a leader in its field with regional offices across the UK.
Via NTU’s Productivity through Innovation project, TIS’s leadership team have been working with a software development specialist from NTU, Nigel King, to help achieve their ambitious plans for growth. As part of the project, TIS worked towards becoming Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) compliant - a set of best practice processes for delivering IT services to customers.
A strategic map for change
We spoke to Mark Wilson, Head of Operations at TIS, to find out how the business has benefited from the support on offer.
To achieve our ambitious plan for growth we need to make sure that every part of the company is running optimally, or as we grow, any inefficiencies will be amplified and increase our costs. Our business includes a lot of complexity as different customers want and expect different things. From smaller clients focused on cost-efficiency, to larger client-partners focused on growth, innovation and future-proofing their technology. There isn’t a single strategy for all those markets, we need a tailored approach to support the spectrum end-to-end. Working with Nigel has given us an independent, holistic view of our business which has been invaluable.
Using the ITIL-4 framework as a guide and focusing on service operation, Nigel King helped TIS to develop a strategic map using the balanced scorecard methodology, including a global gap analysis and service teams workflow. Mark explained:
With Nigel, we developed and documented process flow charts to look at the processes we use in our service divisions including design, installation and maintenance. For example, how we process, log and triage customer enquiries, choose the right skillset and type of contract, and schedule engineers. We also introduced service delivery mechanisms to complete tasks and improve workflows. We then shared these charts with teams across the business for end-to-end visibility, so everyone can see how things work.
As a result, we’ve changed the process in our service team to focus solely on delivering for the client, and moved the quoting side of things over to our business development team. Nigel also advised us on our existing service management software system and met with our software provider who has also benefited from his input and recommendations. The gap analysis identified the changes we need to make for growth, and also confirmed the things we’re doing right. For example, it identified the need for more multiskilled engineers, confirming our decision to invest in our new Apprenticeship Academy, which we launched in November 2021. We’ve been training multiskilled engineers for over 15 years and our apprentices rotate through the business and spend time in each division, alongside learning at college, so they are truly multiskilled. Today’s clients need integrated technology and our multiskilled engineers know how to design, install and maintain multiple systems. This means we can offer our clients a premium service and real value for money, while growing the skills of our engineers. It also means we can pay and reward our engineers more, helping to recruit and retain talented engineers at a time when the industry is facing a skills shortage.
We’ve adopted ITIL-4 thinking to help us drive efficiency and integrity. For example, rather than charging clients for our engineers’ time, we offer managed services and fixed costs, giving our clients greater value for money with less risk. That makes efficiency key in every area of our service operations, including how we triage enquiries, get to site, and find faults. The more efficient we are, the better it is for the business.
As a business, we had already made a lot of efficiency improvements before working with Nigel and NTU. The support we had via the PTI programme helped us improve by another 10%-15% and optimise our processes ready for growth, from multiskilling our engineers to improving our service operations. We are also prepared and ready for ITIL-4 compliance, giving us a competitive edge as leaders and innovators in our industry. We have all benefited from the newly documented process flow charts and the changes we’ve made as a result, with our service operations becoming even more client-focused and efficient. With NTU’s support we’ve been able to amplify our optimisation and are now on track to meet our ambitious plan for growth. Any business needs continual evaluation to flex and grow and we plan to engage with NTU again when we reach our next growth milestone.
I would 100% recommend the PTI programme to other businesses. It’s given us the building blocks to build on and a framework to explore how we can be better.