Every innovator worth its salt knows, that at the end of the day, the most powerful developments come when they solve really, big problems. As humans, our very nature is to solve problems. Be it a sudoku puzzle in the morning paper, a game of Tetris on your vintage Game Boy or a firefighter trying to work out how to get the cute little kitty out of the tree without crushing Mrs. Jones’ bougainvillaeas… so much of what we do is about tackling a challenge head on and emerging with a positive solution (and a new furry best friend!).
So what’s your problem right now?
Ask 10 facility managers or facility service providers in a room what causes them the most pain and we bet our house that over half would say procurement of materials and maintenance services.
The brand new Infraspeak Network™ is a shared workspace that directly tackles these challenges by introducing collaboration to procurement and work-execution processes between facility managers and facility service providers, and simplifies everyday processes like sending out and receiving quote requests and proposals, sharing work orders and monitoring maintenance carried out by third-party vendors.
Before we dive into more detail, let’s take a minute to remember just how bad it was before we released the Infraspeak Network™.
For far too long, collaboration has been missing
After countless hours of conversation with facility and maintenance managers (The Client), vendors, suppliers, contractors and facility service providers (The Supplier), one thing became abundantly clear – managing relationships with their counterparts was a nightmare!
Whilst other areas of their operations had been modernised by software integrations, CAFMs and hardware, procurement and collaboration lagged behind… dangerously so.
Even in 2023, many Clients and Suppliers:
- were losing up to 60h hours a month trying to manage emails and phone calls, constantly frustrated by missed calls or no-responses.
- were struggling to find quotes that ticked all the boxes and often settling for options that didn’t meet expectations
- were unable to meet the partners they needed! They had closed books of contacts and couldn’t close new deals because it all took so long.
- were left in the lurch with last minute cancellations, missed calls and unread emails!
Zero transparency, zero visibility, zero accountability.
Contacts lost. Contracts lost. Time lost. Money lost. Sleep lost.
When you think about how much stress our industry has been under just to find a specialist to run safety inspections or to meet the quarterly targets for closed maintenance contracts… it becomes increasingly surprising that nobody tried to fix this problem once and for all.
Invoicing? Fixed. Thank you, Xero. Data analytics? Fixed. Thank you, Power BI.
But what about collaboration and procurement?
The Infraspeak Network™ fixes it. We’re now, at long last (!), ready to have a detailed look at the new workspace and all its capabilities. Now’s a good time for popcorn. 😂
Infraspeak Network™— 3 Pillars
Now, we’re going to approach the product with more detail so that you can grasp exactly how the Infraspeak Network™ works.
To do this, we’re going to break the product into 3 key pillars, before providing an example workflow:
- Open access. Open to all people — Infraspeak users, partners and anyone else looking to improve their client-vendor relationship management.
- Procurement. The buying and selling of maintenance services. Use case 1.
- Collaboration. Working together to execute maintenance services. Use case 2.
We wanted to make sure that we solved this problem for everyone — existing Infraspeak customers, future customers and crucially, partners of customers too. To achieve this, we made it possible for you to invite non-Infraspeak-using partners to collaborate with you using our platform… 100% for free.
Simply send an email invite to your intended partner asking them to create a free Infraspeak account, and they’ll be up and running in just a few minutes. They can use their new account on mobile and desktop.
We wanted the Infraspeak Network™ to be a totally new experience for you. That means no emails, no phone calls and no frustrating losses of information.
The Infraspeak Network™ connects two entities so that all actions are perfectly mirrored on both sides. Responding to a quote request with a quote and comparing them with other options is now straightforward. When you accept one, you automatically decline the others and everyone is kept perfectly in the loop. Centralisation for the win!
As well as simplifying the process to close a deal, we needed to do a lot of work to improve the experience for the Client and Supplier after. The Network allows work orders, complete with a list of all tasks, to be shared with partners and executed from within the platform.
We added a messages section so that you can communicate directly with all points of contact in your new, connected partner entity and have centralised, transparent records of all conversations. Much better than WhatsApp! We even made it possible to share documents!
The best bit? We’ve barely got started yet.
Tie this all together, and what do we get?
A synchronised, intuitive and transparent workflow! Here’s an example:
- Toby is the facility owner of Lemon Water Inc., a large manufacturing plant.
- On Monday, he finds a problem with the refrigeration system and technicians can’t solve it — he needs a specialist.
- As an Infraspeak user, Tuesday morning, he prepares a quote request and shares it with Supplier Alpha, Supplier Beta and Supplier Gamma.
- Supplier Alpha is a long-term partner of Lemon Water Inc. and one of its listed suppliers. They use Infraspeak.
- Supplier Beta was recommended by a colleague in the industry at an event — Toby invites the manager at Beta to collaborate with him on Infraspeak.
- Supplier Gamma isn’t known to Lemon Water Inc. but happens to already be on the Infraspeak Network™.
- By the close of play Tuesday afternoon, the 3 suppliers have connected with Lemon Water Inc. Each one prepares a quote and responds to the quote request. They set their terms, perhaps adding extra lines of material, and click share.
- Toby reviews the 3 quotes and clicks approve on Supplier Beta’s offer — perfectly aligned with budgets!
- This automatically declines the other two quotes and is reflected on their respective platforms.
- Supplier Beta converts their quote into a Sale, whilst Toby converts the chosen quote into a Purchase. This way they can manage the sale and purchase in a dedicated app.
- It’s Wednesday afternoon and negotiations are closed, it’s time to get started!
(This is where procurement becomes collaboration, hold onto your seats!)
- Toby creates a work order and shares it with Supplier Beta, who approves it, letting him know that they’re ready to get started.
- Thursday first thing, a Supplier Beta technician arrives on site. He checks his app and finds all the necessary information to execute the maintenance and sends a message to Toby letting him know everything is in order.
- The work is completed. Supplier Beta closes the work order which automatically updates on Toby’s side.
And that’s that — from quote request to closed work order in under a week! Not bad.
Wahoo! We’ve made it to the end
Cor blimey! Whoever said it was a good idea to tell the writer of this blog they didn’t have a word count… well… look what you’ve done 🤔😊😂
Infraspeakers are so proud of what we’ve done. From the Product Team who dared to put this ambitious project into action down to Eddie the dog who spurred our CTO, Luis along the way… everyone had a role to play! It was a collaborative effort if ever there was one (ey, ey, eyyy?)
We covered a lot here, and we’re here to help clarify any doubts that you have. Please get in touch with your customer success manager if you’re an existing customer, or reach out for a quick demo if you are curious about joining the fun. Demos are quick and we promise our sales team doesn’t bite.
To a new era of procurement, collaboration and execution that won’t make our hair fall out.