McGinley use TimeTravel for efficiently planned site visits
McGinley Support Services is one of the UK’s largest specialist recruitment agencies providing the Infrastructure sector of the construction industry with permanent, contract and temporary staff at all levels. They originally came to us wanting a solution to allow them to calculate the time and mileage required on site visits.
“TimeTravel from Beacon Dodsworth is a great tool to have in our toolbox. We worked closely with the team from the outset, and created a bespoke solution that matched our requirements and added a huge amount of value to our service delivery.
We have saved two hours per team each week by introducing TimeTravel, which equates to a saving of approximately two man days per week. Automating the input of travel distance and time has also made our worker allocation process more attractive for users”
Michael Coyle, Business Support Director, McGinley Support Services (Infrastructure) Ltd
Initially, McGinley signed up for our TimeTravel data, which provides a time and distance matrix for UK postal sectors. However, as McGinley grew, they needed more detailed data as a means for verification on their expenses system, and an automated way the data could be provided.
As a full postcode to postcode matrix was out of the question (see our blog about the challenges of postcode-to-postcode lookup tables), McGinley asked about our web hosted services and how we could get an automated look-up to work. We discussed their requirements and how the data would be sent to our server and, combined with working on samples of their data, came up with a feasible cost-effective solution.
In the final product, McGinley drop a simple CSV (Comma Separated Value) file into a working folder on the server, with a source and target postcode column, this in turn is processed and creates a new file in a completed folder with the additional columns of time and distance. We also highlight rows where postcodes have not been found or recognised.
Because FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is used to push the original CSV file and retrieve the new CSV file with drive times and distances appended, the technology is robust and required very little new development. A lower-level API (Application Programming Interface) is available so all that was needed was a wrapper to batch the requests and format the file. The drive time analysis is using the most detailed open source datasets available from the OS (Ordnance Survey) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for the road network and postcode locations.
Previously, McGinley were manually verifying the times and distances between postcodes, but the ability to complete thousands of lookups in under a few hours has not only saved them time and money, but allowed them to focus their resources elsewhere.
The service functions with almost no interference or communication needed between ourselves and McGinley. We do periodic checks and ensure any server maintenance will not hinder performance. The service receives postcode and road network updates as they become available, to ensure McGinley always have access to the most relevant information to future proof their service.
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