Heron Plumbing, based in Auckland New Zealand is a 56 year old business. When Dale, president of Master Plumbers Auckland and wife Andrea bought the business 6 years ago they saw an opportunity to refine the workflow by removing the paper laden processes in place.
Removing paper and going digital
It’s easy to forget that many trade businesses are still handing out job cards to their field staff on paper each morning. Meanwhile, in the office, even quotes are being hand written from scratch on paper then handed to reception to ‘put into the system’ then print.
Heron Plumbing’s processes were also lengthy given their reliance on paper, but not any more.
"I used to hand write every single quote separately”
The workers would come into the workshop, pick up the day sheets, complete them by hand at the end of the day, drop them in the next day. Staff in the office would then enter the information from the job sheets into the computer.
Nowadays staff in the field have all the iPads and iPhones required to enter the travel time, materials and labour there and then on the job. With the office staff well equipped the jobs are processed and invoiced in record time.
“Quotes now take me 5 minutes”
Andrea goes digital
When Andrea, Dales wife, originally joined the business her intention was to have minimal involvement. That quickly changed as she saw the drastic improvements that could be made by removing the lengthy paper trail.
Fast forward to now, Andrea's determination to make things more efficient and take paper out of the equation has paid off. In fact she’s now looking for something new to sink her teeth into outside the business as her role is now becoming redundant.
“Sometimes I wonder if I need to be here!”
Having a business and a life
The first year Andrea and Dale took over wasn’t a profitable year as they put new processes in place and bought new equipment. But now…
“We’ve doubled the number of staff and turnover has tripled, while we’ve kept the same number of admin staff”
The couple are now both able to slowly pull back from the company and do more of what they want to do. Dale is giving something back to the industry by becoming more involved through various governing bodies and continuing to coach their son's rugby team and Andrea turning her attention to what she’d like to do next.
“It’s not just about having great staff, it’s about a great system”
A 7 week break from the business to take the family on holiday is something they could only have dreamed of in the old days. Everything back at the office ran as it should as they travelled Italy and Croatia.
"It was the first time we weren’t going, oh my god is the company ok?!"