Aims of the project:

  • Improve delivery success rates and improve the quality of service
  • Provide customers with accurate delivery dates and times, for greater peace of mind
  • Provide a more efficient service with existing resources by optimising vehicle journeys
  • Demonstrate the value of open data

EdinburghApps civic challenge programme, run by the City of Edinburgh Council, offers the opportunity for teams to create and design concepts and solutions, focused on helping the people of Edinburgh using Council data. In 2013 the first challenge competition took place with five different themes.  AIRTS won the challenge put forward by Health and Social Care, seeking solutions to improve equipment deliveries in the Lothians (to support independent living).

The project used user research and re-design approaches to improve the service as well as provide a technology solution, taking a customer centred approach.  Delivery and equipment request data was analysed as part of the first phase. The service team worked collaboratively with the company to co-design the software solution, and its implementation.

Key challenges and how were these overcome:

The service had already implemented a range of innovations including process changes, procurement improvements and hand-held equipment scanners, but needed to explore other ways to improve efficiency.

  • The service generated a great deal of data but they lacked the capacity to carry out analysis on this and gain a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the service and insight into how they could optimise.

AIRTS brought the expertise to source, cleanse, collate and analyse the service data and use this to help inform thinking on service optimisation and development of the routing product.

  • Delivery and collection logistics were resource intensive. Using only basic tools, local knowledge and approximations, planning journeys proved complex and very labour intensive, with service quality at
    risk from poor planning, human error and inaccurate estimates.

By reviewing user needs and service requirements, generating new data and adding this to existing data analysis, AIRTS re-designed the service on new lines, then built a routing product which would meet the optimisation they predicted through analysis.

  • Customer needs were growing and complex. The demand on the service grows year on year. Urgent and last-minute requests to avoid bed-blocking were taking up a disproportionate amount of employee’s time. This was often at the expense of the regular workload, causing delays and creating a substantial backlog.

By implementing the new routing software, in the first four months the service reduced waiting time from 15 days to 7 days; increased first time success rate to over 90%; reduced admin time so that they could be much more responsive to requests. The team had 4 hours freed up per day as all the request and route planning was automated. They can book more deliveries directly with customers and ensure more first-time deliveries are successful.

Key success factors:

  • Improved data management and analysis processes in place
  • Delivery of routing software and optimisation of delivery service

Key learnings:

  • The project expanded scope to integrate the software that accepts requests from Social Care staff.  This increased the project complexity and pushed out timescales but delivered further benefit by automating an entire end to end process for requests and delivery planning.
  • The project was delivered using agile.  This was a new and intense experience for the service team, and it was realised that providing an introduction prior to the project would have been helpful.
  • Continued development of the new software meant that further budget had to be found to support improvements.  This should have been included in the original planning.

Organisation: The City of Edinburgh Council

Delivery agent: AIRTS

How long has the project been operational: Over two years

How long the project took from concept approval to implementation: 18 months

Funding: £15,000. The Service department provided funding

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