Custom software for job scheduling and business management

Moody Sewage Case Study:
Job scheduling and business management system

"Switchplane gives me more time to go surfing!"

Project Overview

Services Provided

Financial integrations, customer and site management, job scheduling, iOS app

A little bit about Moody Sewage

Moody Sewage provides liquid waste management services across South East England for households and businesses. Their tankers visit over 300 sites per month for emptying, and the company also offers installations of all types of sewage systems, servicing and repairs, and consultancy. They are managed by a small office team who use the custom-built software to manage jobs. Switchplane has been working with Moody Sewage since 2010, finding custom software solutions to streamline various aspects of their business processes over the years.

The Solution

Before Switchplane started working with Moody Sewage, the director was struggling to schedule the monthly workload, so we automated it.

We firstly created a customer database with details of how often each customer needs to be visited, then we worked out the best order to visit each customer. We integrated this job system with Google Calendar to allow engineers to pick up job sheets on the move, but we've since replaced this with a mobile app for iOS devices where engineers can record and update information on jobs on the go.

The next phase of work looked at automating invoicing and transitioning the financial accounting to Kashflow. We also helped with a front-end website rebuild and direct marketing campaigns. More recently, we've worked on various exports to support marketing activity and improving tanker routes to save time and distance travelled.

Financial integrations

Switchplane has worked on automating invoicing so that when a job is completed, the customer is automatically sent an invoice. We transitioned Moody's financial accounting from Quickbooks to Kashflow, allowing us to use the Kashflow API to record an invoice. We also use the Viapost API to automatically send a hard copy in the post to the customer.

Since that point, we have expanded out the finance elements of the software to incorporate payroll, debtors, repeat payments, and management accounts.

Most recently, we have worked on an aged debtors report to enable Moody Sewage to have a better understanding of their cash flow, as well as an integration with SagePay so that customer card details are held securely in a PCI compliant way.

Customer and site management

We have developed customer and site management capability, so that relevant customer details can be stored and tracked against actions. Administrators can set up a direct debit, add credit notes, record marketing preferences, link customers with sites, record past jobs for a customer, track any relevant contact notes, and view the customer's invoicing records.

Summer 2021 has seen a new integration with telephony platform 3CX, which enables admins to be linked directly to an inbound caller's customer screen as they answer, improving the overall experience for both admin and customer.

It is also possible to view details on a by-site basis, as business customers will typically have multiple sites on record. Recording site-specific information also helps when customers move house, as previous work carried out on a property can be recalled when a new owner requires work to be completed.

Details, such as Waste Transfer Notes, are stored on every job carried out, so the software maintains a wealth of information on site sewage systems.

Job scheduling

Whilst it's possible for work to be booked on an as-needed basis, the majority of Moody Sewage's work is on a monthly, quarterly, six-monthly, or annual basis. Because of this, manually scheduling such work historically took a lot of administration.

Switchplane has worked on an algorithm to schedule this work automatically, so that sites are paired depending on tanker capacity, grouped around the closest sewage works needed for waste disposal, and then the most direct route between them is calculated. As well as administration in the office, this also saves drivers time and fuel costs; it means they work in a certain area each day and do not need to travel long distances back and forth over Moody Sewage's wide operational region.

Our latest update to the algorithm saves the tankering fleet approximately the distance from Brighton to Newcastle every month.

We are now working on a similar schedule for servicing engineers, to reduce their need to travel over the same ground on the same day.

iOS app

The iOS app that Switchplane created for Moody Sewage is used by engineers on site every day in slightly different ways by each team. Tankering engineers, for example, use it to view their diaries, record information and log images against a job, and to complete their daily vehicle checks.

The diary enables engineers to view what work they should be doing each day and at what location. They can view any notes left by office staff when scheduling the visit, such as who to call upon arrival, any access issues, waste types to be expected at the site, and how many gallons are to be removed in the case of an empty. Service engineers have a full checklist of what assessments should be made at each visit. Photos can be stored against each job, which are pulled into a PDF report and stored for future reference. A customer signature is also captured at the end of a job, and an engineer can then mark a job as complete and ready for invoicing.

Vehicle checks through the app enable administrators to monitor the health of the vehicle, mileage, and the amount of fuel added every day. There are thorough checklists for the vehicle and the ability to report defects, as well as how these are rectified.

As requirements for the app have gradually changed since first launch, we are now looking to redevelop the app using Flutter infrastructure, which will mean the app can be used on both iOS and Android devices for minimal additional cost.

“Switchplane have helped our business by creating a completely personal system to us which is completely unique and is really good, amazing. [...] They've streamlined things in a way that we probably didn't think was imaginable.”

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