The emergency services look after many time-sensitive processes, with the timely treatment and care of patients a top priority.
Cega Air Ambulance offers emergency rescue and travel for private clients when they are in need of medical help while overseas.
“Clients will request a flight for someone who is ill abroad, and we arrange that for them,” says Jackie Gillard, services manager at Cega Air Ambulance, explaining the service it provides.
But the organisation was bound up in manual processes that meant it was unable to quote for flights quickly enough. To speed up its service, Cega deployed a Microsoft Dynamics customer relationship management (CRM) system to quickly assess and calculate flight prices for customers.
The air ambulance service previously relied on a paper-based method of creating quotes, which involved manually entering bid details into Microsoft Word documents. This resulted in duplication and long-winded processes.
Once a job was activated, several paper documents would be produced, each for a different purpose – such as for a doctor, for the hospital and for other entities involved in the process, including Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs.
But this meant it took a long time to collect the details needed to determine the price of a flight.
“These different types of papers, before Microsoft Dynamics, were produced in Word or by separate systems. It used to take us up to two hours to complete a job,” says Gillard. “You can’t take that long to get back to a client with a quote.”
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The many different systems and file types shared across the organisation also made it difficult to find the information needed to make a quote, slowing down the process further.
Providing quotes quicker
The firm decided it needed to look for a “filing cabinet” system through which jobs could be traced, and that would provide a single, searchable repository where appropriate information could be stored.
To address these issues, Cega selected an off-the-shelf Microsoft Dynamics CRM system. This was adapted for an aviation environment by the in-house IT team, with help from business intelligence consultancy Qgate.
Quotes for flights can now be produced in 10 minutes or less, making it easier to win jobs and save more lives.
A single form is now created for each case, which is then accessible by all of the firm’s systems and has information feeding into it from external systems required for a job.
A document is automatically generated from the set of credentials entered at the start of the bidding process.
Updates to airports, flight paths or customers are changed and stored in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM system to ensure the system is up to date, and from there they are accessible to everyone.
Integrate or upgrade?
When the system was implemented, Cega had to decide whether or not to convert and consolidate all of the old documents into the new system.
The firm chose to leave the old system as it was for reference purposes, and to start from scratch with the new implementation.
The system has not only reduced the time it takes to produce a quote, but has also ensured the ground team can gain up-to-date information about the progress of an emergency.
This, in turn, has not only enabled Cega to win more jobs, but means it can more easily reach its time-critical deadlines for saving lives.
“It does save people’s lives, because you can react a lot quicker,” summarises Gillard.