Premier Foods is one of the UK’s biggest food manufacturing companies and employs over 4,000 people at 15 sites across Britain. The company is dedicated to making products from quality ingredients and sources them from British suppliers and farmers wherever possible.
Premier Foods had previously outsourced its IT Service Management (ITSM) service desk for its incident, service request fulfillment and problem management needs. However, as both the business and IT infrastructure changed priorities, this service was no longer meeting the company’s needs. Simon McKenzie, Service Delivery Manager at Premier Foods decided to bring the service in-house in order to focus on what the company really needed for the future.
Simon commented, “We found that our old service desk model was not really providing what we needed, both in terms of speed of delivery and in the breadth of support options that we wanted. We were approaching the end of our contract, so we decided that we could both improve the quality and modernise the approach by taking ITSM back in-house. That meant looking for a new ITSM platform that could be implemented quickly and effectively. We decided that a cloud-based system would best meet our needs.”
Any solution chosen would have to meet Premier Foods’ requirements around ease of use and functionality, but also be capable of supporting multiple team configurations. To achieve this, Simon and his team chose Freshservice from Freshworks.
The Premier Foods team implemented Freshservice to support more than 2,000 end users across 15 sites, including the development of a new self-service portal for IT requests. A team of 57 supports the Premier Foods IT estate, which consists of around 2,000 PCs, 450 servers and 1,200 mobile devices. Freshservice is used to manage service requests and tickets, routing them to the appropriate resources for response and resolution. Alongside this, Freshservice provides change management and problem management support as well.
As part of the change, Premier Foods would switch from a fully outsourced service to an internal service desk bolstered by a separate third party help desk for out of hours support requests. “When we made the move back in-house, we knew that we did not want to run a full 24/7 internal service desk. However, we still have to support factory environments that are running around the clock, so we chose a service provider that could replicate our first line support service. When we chose that supplier, we made using our Freshservice instance a requirement for winning the contract,” said Simon. “With this approach, anyone who contacts us has the same experience when they report an issue. This makes it easier to manage ITSM across the business.”
Premier Foods’ ITSM agents may have to work across multiple sites as part of their remit. Using Freshservice’s mobile app has helped the service team provide IT support wherever they happen to be. This has helped the team improve the change management process, as individuals could respond regardless of whether they were at their desk or not. Simon added, “Premier Foods can now operate a very fluid change management process; we approve, review and reject requests on the fly which has enabled us to make decisions far quicker. Changes can be processed more swiftly, and our employees feel that they get better service.”
Through using Freshservice, all information about Premier Foods’ IT assets and applications are in one place and easily accessible. This helps the manufacturer to identify changes and problems within systems which are linked to those assets. By dealing with issues before they can affect multiple assets and users, the service team has been able to carry out more proactive changes; this has led to improvements in response times overall.
After implementing Freshservice in 2017, Premier Foods has reduced target resolution times by 50%, from 40 business hours to under 20. The team has also improved its performance against its Service Level Agreements, with 92% of tickets resolved within the SLA. The team has found that it is now easier to report on response times and analyse issues using Freshservice. “Previously, gathering all of this information as part of the SLA had to be done manually. This took up a lot of employee hours to complete the report and get value from the data. Today, we can run reports quickly and easily. Since implementing Freshservice, the customer satisfaction rate has improved to 95% satisfied,” explained Simon.
“The reports in Freshservice are great – we were able to get started with them immediately. The only change was to make them our company colours! This ability to automate reporting and provide insights to our team and to other stakeholders provides a more accurate picture of our efforts around end-to-end incident management”
Alongside the formal reporting and service management systems, the Premier Foods team has implemented a new customer satisfaction method to gather feedback. “Using this new approach, we can easily track how customers feel after any interaction – they can use a simple smiley face system to record their experience. If any customer chooses the dissatisfied option, we are immediately notified so we can investigate further. If there is a legitimate issue, we can address this straight away,” explained Simon.
The introduction of self-service has also led to more issues being solved without needing direct involvement from the team, reducing the number of tickets overall. Since first launching, self-service usage has expanded to 10% of all service since going live and continues to grow every month.
The implementation of Freshservice was completed successfully and both the Premier Foods team and the out-of-hours service provider are now running on the cloud-based ITSM system. This project has already delivered greater efficiencies for the team as well as a cost reduction compared to the previous outsourced service. The internal team uses the service desk platform to streamline activities and find opportunities to reduce the volume of requests wherever possible, while the simple ticketing and response management tools make it faster to interact around requests too.
“We’ve found that Freshservice is easy to use, accessible and searchable, and the improvements in our customer service have demonstrated that our strategy was the right one to take. We have a complete searchable index of problems that we and our customers can access, so we can encourage more self-service over time and support users in the ways that best suit them. We are looking ahead at how we can make more high value contributions back to the business with Freshservice,” concluded Simon.