GRITIT™'s high-quality, cost-effective solution is formed through a committed approach to continuous improvement, industry benchmarking, market research and ongoing conversations with customers, our partners in the process. Our winter gritting service does not compromise safety and operation of sites by taking shortcuts. The quality and timely delivery of our customer reports means our stakeholders do not have to spend time checking up on us to ensure we have done the job; we will tell you when we are going to site, when we have been and highlight any issues encountered. Combined with the level and quality of our account management, we believe that we offer the best holistic winter gritting service in the industry; we don't just do the job to a very high standard, we communicate and collaborate in a way which is unique in the industry.
Working with you as your partner
GRITIT™ works with you as a partner, not a supplier. This is reflected in our long-term relationships with our clients across all service lines and our organisational culture: putting our customers first. We promote long-term relationships and embed genuine partnering principles including joint training and collaborative working to reduce costs, improving service efficiencies and share these benefits. Rather than looking for short-term financial gain, we work with you in mutual trust to continuously improve our service. GRITIT™ actively looks to reduce costs and we share the benefits with you to ensure a great working relationship. Our commitment to partnerships ensures trust is developed, which helps to deliver an excellent service every season.
Your KPIs are our KPIs, and all this data is robustly captured and held within our NIMBUS contract management system. NIMBUS provides a data-rich environment for KPI reporting requirements, holding all data captured via smartphones (used by operators and regional managers), email responses, direct entries into our planning and management systems, and the interfaces established with our HR and health and safety reporting systems. There are numerous ways in which we capture client KPI data and monitor and report on these, including:
- Annual compliance audits and periodic reviews
- Client portal data and documents
- Pre- and post- service notification reports emailed
- Automated non-conformance reports
- Custom reports hosted on NIMBUS
- Site audits attached uploaded to NIMBUS
Always striving to improve
Continuous improvement is part of our DNA, and some of the key mechanisms for improving our service include providing client staff access to our data and information, legislation changes (particularly involving health and safety and environmental compliance), and industry trends, technology innovations & offerings. Winter gritting technology, products and materials in our service are of course under constant scrutiny at GRITIT™.
By bringing you closer to our service, you are able to analyze and demonstrate what has been delivered, within the agreed timescales. Your access to contract data and documents via our IT systems, including a 24/7 customer help desk, online ordering, and secure access to contract data and financials via our customer portal gives you full transparency and an ability to calculate any metrics required. We also use technology to confirm to you that we are servicing the right area, which reduces travelling distances between sites serviced.
Our site audits made during mobilization inform the materials order requirements, specific to the surface material requiring ‘gritting’ and their proximity to watercourses or plant life. We look at the efficacy of materials to ensure that our customers pay the right price for the right product. Quantities of materials, in particular marine salt, is calculated via the surface areas plotted in NIMBUS to ensure optimal product performance. Excessive gritting hampers performance and increases costs. We use manned 4 x 4 vehicles for mechanical gritting and light snow clearance but continue to investigate other alternatives, including future technology such as driverless vehicles and site-based automated gritting machines.
GRITIT™ is also formally committed internally to delivering improvement, including formal continuous improvement (CI) initiatives with clients. Formal continuous improvement (CI) programmes have driven our innovations within the industry since 2004, and our senior management team invests in tests of new materials, products and technology in order to improve that service offering to our customers. The GRITIT™ testing laboratory is overseen by the chief operations officer, and is led by a selected senior manager with operators and our compliance manager participating. Many improvements have come about through our testing laboratory:
- Optimization of vehicle travel routes and distances via our in-house developed route optimization software, providing every vehicle driver the most efficient driving route to each site, a vital tool under challenging weather conditions. Directions are provided via their work smartphone pre-loaded with our PULSE software.
- Visit completed via GPS technology and the geo-fence data embedded in operator smartphones, which does not allow operators from commencing their work via their smartphone unless they are at the designated site location and GPS co-ordinate.
- Provision of clients with access to our services and contract data, via our customer portal and GRITIT™ ‘app’, via their smartphone or tablet or PC.
In terms of tangible innovation, we have upgraded our NIMBUS contract system in 2019 and NIMBUS V2 provides greater visibility of information and convenience for our customers to view real-time service detail and data analytics. NIMBUS V2 includes a customisable customer portal – a 24/7/365 web-based and user-friendly dashboard that provides ‘live’ data feed and real-time service analytics wherever you are. This dashboard data can be customized to your compliance and KPI requirements, including reporting provision. NIMBUS V2 includes ‘live’ service status per site at any moment in time, historic performance, and financial invoicing, and gives a number of additional benefits:
- Even easier access to services – one touch access to order extra priority jobs on any device, anywhere, at any time, via ‘radio buttons’ added to their GRITIT™ portal and app installed on their smart device.
- Even easier proof of delivery – NIMBUS V2 collects extra levels of detailed information about on-site operatives, which improves working efficiencies and can provide definitive proof of an activated gritting or snow clearance visit if required. Detailed ‘breadcrumb’ trails shows the movement of vehicles and operators on-site in sequence, which confirms the site areas covered and can help to ensure operators grit the right areas of the site as per the specification and at the right vehicle speed.
Every client benefits
Within the winter gritting industry, cost and quality improvements are primarily concerned with quality-related aspects: operational efficiencies, materials, products, and customer service. We work with manufacturers such as BOSS (our supplier of winter equipment), Peacock salt, FM industry groups, and the wider IT industry to deliver superior customer service and compliance monitoring. We conduct regular research and testing of new products, materials and technologies to ensure we deliver the highest quality service at a lower cost.
For example, we have recently tested and used a wide range of non-corrosive salt products as alternatives to marine salt, where surfaces will not react well to corrosion, including non-sodium urea-based liquids and pro-coat. We offer lower-cost alternatives where these are suitable solutions to ensure our customers receive the best value for money. Similarly, our fleet procurement strategy is to reduce the long-term costs of our vehicle fleet and pass on these cost savings during the new season.
In relation to our new monitoring technology we can also reduce costs where possible by reviewing the areas required for gritting in consultation with the client. Where an area is not used throughout the season but is being gritted we will suggest signs/bollards are put in place; reducing the gritting area, time taken on-site, and salt volumes reduced – and where significant this is recognized within our costings and savings passed onto you. During the lifetime of any contract, we monitor the following, and where alternatives are available propose these to reduce ongoing costs:
- Operators required to deliver a safe, compliant service for every site.
- Gritting materials – marine salt and liquids used for certain surfaces.
- Vehicle costs and alternative fuels, where practicable.
Building long-term relationships
As part of our benchmarking exercises, we complete ongoing research into potential improvements in service delivery, holding reviews with you every six months to identify where we can make improvements to enhance your experience. During these reviews we internally review our own contracts which have produced cost savings or gained the maximum customer satisfaction rate and use this information as a benchmark against which to make improvements to every other contracts. We also review industry-wide research into best practice, to identify where we can make advancements in service delivery.
By implementing many technological developments, through our in-house developed IT platform NIMBUS and route scheduling software, we have reduced the amount of administration required on all operations to an absolute minimum, for our customers as well as ourselves. Optimized route planning has dramatically increased operational efficiencies, which enable us to deliver high quality, value for money services.
Customer surveys are distributed to our customers on an annual basis, requesting feedback on a range of topics, and customers can rate our service on every post-service notification report which is issued by us. Data obtained from these surveys is processed via our NIMBUS system and compiled into a report which is used to inform our planned service improvement meetings every six months. Improvement plans are implemented for any areas of service delivery where we have scored lower than expected.
Contact us for more information
The extremes of recent years have demonstrated the unpredictability of winter weather in the UK. If you're responsible for a portfolio of buildings, facilities, business or retail parks, this can make it challenging to budget for the costs of winter services. At GRITIT™, we offer a breadth of commercial arrangements with the flexibility to meet the needs of your business. Pay for gritting and/or snow clearance only when needed with a cost per visit (CPV) arrangement that ensures you only pay when the weather conditions trigger a visit. For more cost predictability, fixed price deals for the winter are ideal and ensure peace of mind that no matter how harsh the winter, you will only pay the agreed price.
This covers all visits for winter gritting and/or snow clearance when the agreed weather condition trigger is reached. For clients seeking a hybrid model that combines elements of both arrangements we can create a tailored commercial plan. We can also work with you to customise the triggers for visits according to the exact temperature or snow conditions that meet your requirements – and advise on best practice for doing so while keeping your sites safe.