Call +31 (0)30 44 2 00 15,   Whatsapp or e-mail info@ipmpartners.com
Housing Corporations

How housing corporation Poort6 repaired its organization-wide repair chain

A housing corporation aims to provide prompt and efficient assistance to tenants when they report a defect. This requires seamless coordination between the call center, housing corporation, and craftsmen. Working with external parties, such as Poort6, can present challenges in this process. Discover how this housing corporation improved its repair chain with an approach that reduces costs and increases customer satisfaction.

Craftsmen are heroes. They come to your rescue, for example, when your central heating boiler suddenly stops working on a cold day or when your toilet needs to be replaced. Appreciation is guaranteed, one would say.

However, a craftsman can quickly go from hero to zero. Consider a situation where your report was not properly recorded or communicated. This could result in the craftsman bringing the wrong parts and needing to come back again. That’s not what you want. As a tenant, you usually have little understanding for the excuse that there was a “communication error”. And rightly so.

This issue occurred at housing corporation Poort6. Craftsmen were receiving incorrect information about repair jobs, resulting in multiple visits to the same customer. This frustrated the tenants, who also felt that it took too long for a craftsman to arrive and that it was unclear who would be responsible for the costs. Not only were the tenants unhappy, but the craftsmen were too. And last but not least, the management of Poort6 was not amused. Their ambitions of having “satisfied tenants” and “staying within budget” were not being met.

About each other and not with each other

In these kinds of situations, it is common to see people talking about each other instead of with each other. The tenant blames the craftsman for poor handling of the complaint. The craftsman is angry at the call center for not handling the complaints properly. And the management of the housing corporation hears that they have not managed things properly.

Poort6 didn’t just leave it at that. They decided to thoroughly improve the chain together with us and their chain partners. We started working on structure (process) and culture (communication and more).

The process surrounding repairs needed to be clearer and simpler. An indication of this was the name itself. The process was called the “Daily Structural Mutation and Maintenance Process” (DSMO). From a customer value perspective, it makes more sense to refer to the chain as “maintaining and repairing homes”, where the customer expectation (the intention, what we do it for) is made more explicit. Together with Poort6 and its chain partners, we redefined the process. We created a clear visual representation of the chain that everyone could understand. And we established simpler, interconnected KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

Encouragement

Merely having the process on paper is not enough; the human aspect is even more crucial. It is important that the right individuals take ownership of their responsibilities. Furthermore, effective communication among all chain partners, characterized by understanding, respect, and encouragement, is essential (a culture of encouragement).

A complicating factor in the chain is that the call center and repair technicians are external parties. By outsourcing this service to specialized companies, a housing corporation can limit costs. However, such an organization-wide chain places high demands on communication and solid agreements. The employees of different companies rarely or never encounter each other under normal circumstances. When we brought together all parties involved in the chain, it became apparent that there was a considerable lack of understanding on both sides. There was a high risk of assigning blame. Therefore, we agreed not to pass judgment but to investigate: why are repair requests not resolved in one go? And how can it be improved?

One of the causes for not resolving issues in one go was the inaccurate recording of repair requests. This required patience from the call center, as some tenants find it challenging to clearly articulate their complaint. Another cause was uncertainty about which company the call center should engage. Therefore, we created a “decision tree” with clear agreements on which companies are involved in which repairs.

Improvements were also needed among the craftsmen and the housing corporation. There were also things for improvement at the craftsmen and corporation. Craftsmen could better organize their warehouse and van, so that they had fewer missteps when carrying parts. Poort6, on the other hand, could better monitor the entire chain. They appointed a chain owner and initiated regular chain meetings. In these meetings, the stakeholders in the chain now openly and honestly discuss areas for improvement.

Half a million euros

The changes at Poort6 are bearing fruit. Repairs are now carried out to satisfaction in eight out of ten cases during a single visit. The likelihood of tenants being left out in the cold or waiting unnecessarily long for a repair has significantly decreased. This is evident in the tenant satisfaction, which has increased by a whole point. Furthermore, the investments in service quality have not cost Poort6 any money; in fact, they have yielded half a million euros. This ensures that homes for households dependent on social housing can be kept affordable, both now and in the future.