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NEC BIRMINGHAM   09-11 OCTOBER 2018

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Who are you?
My name is Matthew Tickle and I work for ED Controls as UK Sales Director. I started out in the industry with an apprenticeship at a Building Services Consultants, basically helping out with hand drawn technical plans, this was before we had the likes of AutoCAD.

My father helped me get my first job because he knew I had a keen interest in art and a technical brain. He thought this would be a good way to dip my toe into engineering.

Soon after this, I worked towards a mechanical engineering qualification whilst working as an apprentice with a Mechanical Contractor. After receiving my qualifications I worked for a ductwork contractor and then an air handling equipment manufacturer before I took time out to go live in Spain for a year.

After an enriching year away, I arrived back in the UK and started working for my father’s company. My role there quickly developed into technical sales and I continued to work with my family for 22 years. I’ve always worked within the construction industry, this has enabled me to develop my model of working with manufacturers, mechanical contractors, consultants, main contractors and various other people connected to our industry.

I am very lucky to now be involved in various businesses. Over the years I have developed various products and companies, one of which is a piece of software exclusively for sales agents. This became a software business within its own right about seven years ago and this, along with my previous ventures, gave me the experience required to work in both the construction and the software industry.

What do you currently do for ED Controls?
I’m in a Sales Director role and am currently helping ED Controls to become an established brand in the UK. We are generating business and interest for digital snagging. I am managing a network of sales agents for different areas of the UK. Also, I am developing sales and marketing strategy to draw in customers from the construction industry using our in house marketing teams with in London and in Holland. I am also out on the road, following up with customers and making sales in Greater London area.
I am also involved in many other companies. My current roles are Co-Founder & Director of SalesLoop, our CRM software company, Co-Founder & Director of a manufacturing company called GlobalH20, which supplies cold water booster sets and tanks. At the same time to support all of these endeavours, I run my own Technical Sales and Marketing Consultancy called TICKLE. TICKLE is the vehicle we use to help companies like ED Controls and GlobalH2o and it is also how we represent a number of other excellent companies. I just love helping people. We are being contacted regularly by companies who need assistance in developing their businesses and we are growing Team TICKLE to make sure we can help them all.

What is ED Controls exactly?
ED Controls is a digital tool which creates a simple and efficient way to handle snagging, compared to what people use now. It’s a step in the right direction in regards to utilising software and technology, without alienating people. What I like about it, is that it changes people’s opinions on previous snagging methods and software. Snagging is often loathed because of how complex it can be to manage.

How would you describe the current method of snagging in the construction industry?
I think the best way to try and describe it is probably as a mixture of photographs taken on tablets or smartphones, emails and notes. Plus maybe hand marked drawings. These are combined usually by emailing those photographs and notes to people. There is also probably a spreadsheet somewhere - that is used to try and pull it all together. In the end, you can imagine, it’s a bit all over the place. That’s what makes ED Controls software so great. It it pulls all of this together and eliminates the messy element, creating a solution to make everything more organised and efficient.

What convinced you to start working with Interactive Blueprints and therefore ED Controls?
It was a couple of things actually. Firstly it was the way that ED Controls combines two industries which I’m very interested in; software and construction. Those things are in my blood and ED Controls sits right in the middle. When I heard about it, I thought, hang on a minute, I’m not just interested in this product, I totally get it and I think I can sell it.
When I first met the directors and they gave me a demo, I understood it straight away. I think it took less than 5 minutes. I thought: this makes sense. So, the second reason? I got it and if I can understand it so quickly and it makes sense to me, then the clients I know are going to feel confident to use it also.

What are some positive and negative points about ED Controls?
The ease of use is one of the positive points for me, like I mentioned previously - I took to it extremely quickly. You can use it across multiple platforms, it’s not just restricted to iOS or Android. It is universal. This is great as it means communications are fast and clear, things don't have to wait. People know exactly what needs to be done and by who, when (and with the use of imbedded photos) how.

Another big plus point is the online/offline synchronisation. For a lot of people that will be a real winner, because sometimes you just can’t get phone signal on a site. Furthermore, you have the ability to have multiple pictures of snags. You can then annotate those pictures and leave detailed descriptions. We also have the capability of uploading layout drawings and adding snags to specific areas, meaning everyone is aware of where the snag is.

Most importantly, it saves time and money in so many different ways. The overall process of snagging has also been challenged by ED Controls. Snagging now could - and should - happen throughout a project. It should not get pushed to one side and ignored until the end, as this usually delays project deadlines and makes meeting handover dates even more difficult…and that’s how you lose quality and money.

ED Controls is also constantly improving and innovating, for example, we created ED Analytics. When using ED Controls to snag, you are automatically capturing data. Using ED Analytics this data can be used to run reports and progress can be measured and assessed in a proactive way - rather than reactive, which is how it is now.

This information can also be used to manage and improve many things, such as; regular snags, the time taken to resolve snags, the time between a snag being assigned and completed and much more. If you are managing your colleagues and/or sub-contractors across multiple projects using ED Controls, this analysis will start to show patterns and highlight areas requiring improvement.

What is the downside?
We don’t cater for 3D at the moment. However, this is an opportunity to grow and develop which ED Controls is continually doing. There are even more developments being made as we speak, including 3D capabilities.

Who can make use of ED Controls?
Anyone who undertakes snagging can make use ED Controls. Even though our focus is within the construction industry, we have come across users in different industries who have found ED Controls very useful. Certain people on a site are more involved in snagging than others, site team structures are always different. For me, one of the most important teams for ED Controls is the project managers. These are the people who are managing the projects directly on the site, they could be working with main contractors, mechanical contractors or sub-contractors. They are the ones who pull the work together. They are interested in delivering results, being organised, tracking performance and meeting deadlines. ED Controls is designed to help everyone with a system that is easy to use, but it also provides the reports and analysis that the app can generate to measure on site productivity.

What is the potential of the construction industry itself? How much potential do you think the UK market has for ED Controls?
I have seen 3 recessions, it seems to be an 8/9-year cycle where things go up and down and cycles back again.
This is a very difficult question to answer at the moment because of everything that is going on with Brexit. A lot of people are very nervous, but ultimately you have to go out there and find the work.
If they are not building offices and schools we need to go and find infrastructure projects and we need to go and talk to interior designers and we need to go and talk to maintenance companies. I think you can make excuses all day long, but ultimately you just have to get out there and sell.

Do some markets have more potential than others?
You have got a real mix of big and small main-contractors but also a mix sub-contractors as well. Nowadays there also seems to be a lot of other parties involved in construction projects, there are lots of client consultants and client representatives, design consultants, quality assessors, quantity surveyors etc. A lot more people are involved in a project compared to how it used to be before and they are all potential clients for ED Controls.

What kind of project is best for ED Controls?
ED Controls was originally built to be used on construction projects. The creator of the app, Michiel Otterloo, worked as project manager on construction sites and he created the app to deal with the process of snagging. However ED Controls is not only restricted to construction, it has been used in many other sectors including nuclear power plants, railways, road networks and infrastructure. Regardless of the type of project, there is a similar process that includes a snagging phase and that is when ED Controls can be utilised.

Is the construction industry ready for apps like ED Controls? Are they already using apps like ED Controls?
Of the companies that I have spoken to, 30% are already using similar software, 40% are definitely open to it and want to work with it and the remainder are unsure about changing their snagging process.
The industry is very open to using software applications to track and control their snagging, reporting on sub-contractors and monitoring quality and defects.
Companies have been doing this for years using a plethora of different systems, but they haven’t managed to pull it together in the way ED Controls has managed too.
I have met some people who are happy to carry on as they are, but you will always get that, not everybody bought an iPhone when it first came out, but after a while, everybody wanted one!

This is the perfect time for a product like this, the industry is open to finding new ways to solve their issues with snagging and ED Controls is a great digital solution.

ED Controls are exhibiting at the Build Show on stand B455.

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