Former Cestrian MD launches new project management business

By Richard Stuart-Turner, Thursday 10 May 2018

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Former Cestrian managing director Phill Reynolds has launched new business OPOC, which offers a field management tool of the same name to make data collection more efficient, allowing businesses to track and improve live projects.

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OPOC allows businesses to track and improve live projects

Cestrian was acquired last month by 3a-Group, owner of Austrian digital and screen printing specialist Arian. Reynolds is currently supporting the integration and handover of the company but has simultaneously started up his new business from a new office in Stockport.

OPOC – Online Proof Of Completion – has been in development for three years, initially intended as a system for Cestrian to use in-house. It is said to be suitable for handling projects underway at multiple locations, such as surveys, audits and large-scale display installations.

Reynolds said the tool, which can be adapted for almost any industry, eliminates stacks of paper, lost or missing details, and waiting for information to be uploaded or sent.

“We were putting this in front of Cestrian’s customers, as a unique tool to help Cestrian, and then those customers were showing it to their supplier base, and their suppliers were coming to us to ask to look at it and asking what it could do,” Reynolds told PrintWeek.

“It’s just snowballed to a standalone business, which is why we moved it into a separate company.”

Reynolds said a cloud-based desktop platform links seamlessly with mobile devices, using a free app to monitor, gather, collate and control information from field agents. Data is streamed instantly to the control centre, where thousands of details are clearly displayed and made available for use.

The app uses Google to provide accurate mapping and geocoding, allowing management of site locations and geographical positions. Managers can assign locations to local field agents, while field agents can manage their routines, create directions and filter best routes.

GPS captures field agent locations and allows progress to be accurately tracked, monitored and measured. The app automatically geostamps location, time and date, from the start to the end of a job, and has also been designed to operate offline, so field agents are unaffected by loss of internet connection.

OPOC is also able to send a site survey request to a field agent, which then populates the app, simultaneously updating the control centre with the same live details.

Furthermore, jobs can be subcontracted numerous times and remain tracked so, providing all subcontracted parties use the app, all information will be streamed to the control centre.

The cloud-based platform means no installation is required, so projects can be built quickly and easily, while the system’s API enables it to be connected to third-party systems.

“This is quite a powerful piece of kit. We’ve got shop fitters, fulfilment companies and even boiler repair companies looking at it because it works for any industry,” said Reynolds.

“But we’re focusing on retail at the minute because that’s what we know, and we’ve got a lot of appointments lined up through word of mouth on the retail side.”

Six staff will work at the new business, which Reynolds said £500,000 has been invested into to date.

Three versions of the platform are available – the Free option is suitable for an individual project or for an independent small business, the Business option is suitable for SMEs with teams of field agents but a limited budget, and the Enterprise option is targeted at bigger companies with numerous large projects.

The Business and Enterprise options are available on a yearly license, with the former starting from around £3,000 to £5,000 per annum, and the latter starting from £15,000 per annum, dependent on customer requirements.

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