Enable — What we've done — NSL Services Group

NSL Services: bespoke software

NSL Services

Enable develops bespoke software for NSL Services Group

NSL Services Group (NSL) is one of the biggest transport services businesses in the UK. The company is the largest provider of on-street parking management services in the country, with over 50 local authorities and two government agencies as customers. The business also provides a range of transport and related services to public and private clients, such as debt recovery, CCTV monitoring, bus and coach operations, notice processing and street design consultancy.

What was the issue?

NSL was created following a demerger from NCP. The challenge facing the new business was how to, within a 6 month timeframe, replace the existing software system by which NSL used to collect, record and reconcile cash from all the company's car parks and on-street parking machines. Under the terms of the demerger, NSL only had a 6 month transitory agreement to continue to run NSL's software, after which time it would be switched off. It was therefore a business critical issue to design, develop, test and implement a new bespoke software system for NSL before the expiry of that agreement. Failure to do so would mean the company would effectively be unable to operate.

NSL required a flexible, web-based solution that could be deployed across all its business units and contracts. The core product demonstrated by Enable met the requirements of the new cash management and control system NSL were looking for, while at the same time provided sufficient flexibility to allow for extensive customisation to meet the specific needs of the business.

Enable's proposed software solution was not only very user friendly, it was also much quicker than the system previously used by NSL and simplified the company's existing business processes. Rather than try to fit technology to solve a business issue, Enable had the capability to understand the business issue first before developing the optimal technical solution to resolve it.

What was Enable's solution?

Although it was necessary to ultimately provide a software solution, Enable also interrogated the underlying processes currently employed in the NSL business model.

It was important to identify what systems and operations could be made more efficient, allowing technology to do more processing with less people.

In this initial consultancy phase of the project, the Enable project team identified three daily processes that were historically carried out:

  • Collecting money from ticket machines, counting it and inputting the data into the company's system.
  • Hand-filling a daily analysis sheet on a car park by car park basis to provide detailed management information, for example, if people were let out without paying and the reasons why, and manually entering the data.
  • Processing of an audit ticket on a per machine basis which would then be entered into the company system manually These three processes were then run through the existing software system to identify any discrepancies, allowing management to review, investigate and reconcile the company's figures.

Having understood the business challenge, Enable then designed and developed a software system that not only met the existing system requirements but improved them. By developing a daily analysis system as part of the new software package itself, the Enable solution reduced the three business processes highlighted above to just two; effectively creating an efficiency and process saving of 33%.

What was the impact?

The solution from Enable delivered time savings in reporting and reconciliation, as well as improving the quality and robustness of NSL's cash management business. The software is used to manage hundreds of parking machines across the country on a daily basis and in the first four months of operation, there were only 11 tickets raised with the Helpdesk team, some of which related to users forgetting their login details or requesting changes.

The number of post implementation bugs and support calls is at an unprecedented low for the business relative to other projects from the past.

Testimonial

"Enable delivered a fully working system within the extreme budget and time constraints imposed. They demonstrated their ability to take a standard product and adapt it to our business needs. They worked closely with our project management team and engaged the business at a very early stage. The new software is great, it's very user friendly, quick and does exactly what we want it to do."

Bruce Gardner—IT Director, NSL Services Group

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