Faces of the Frontline: Jordan and Leslie from Furniture Bank share their Skedulo story
Founded in 1998, Furniture Bank is a registered charity and social enterprise which redistributes gently-used furniture and housewares from donors in the community to families and individuals experiencing furniture poverty.
Their clients include women and children leaving shelters, the formerly homeless, and newcomers and refugees to Canada.
Revenues generated through their furniture removal service funds their charitable activities as they work to end furniture poverty — one sofa and one family at a time.
The charity also runs a number of social programs including a social hire program and a furniture upcycle studio, among others.
Leslie is a fleet supervisor at Furniture Bank and has worked there for 3 years. Jordan has worked with Furniture Bank for 5 years; starting as a team mover and working his way up to warehouse supervisor.
Life on the job before Skedulo
Jordan remembers the days before Skedulo, when Furniture Bank did around 8 pickups a day and had an 8-inch stack of paperwork to go with it.
“When someone wants to donate furniture, we send a truck to their house to pick it up,” says Jordan. “There used to be a heap of paperwork for every pickup. And sometimes papers would get lost in dispatch or have the wrong address on them. There was no way to tell until a disappointed customer called at the end of the day. This then meant rescheduling the pick-up, or heading out on the road again.”
“You don’t want missed appointments. You want to get them all done in a day without disappointing anyone, especially a paying customer.”
As the scheduling manager, Leslie also feared calls from upset customers.
“With paper, you’re going in blind,” says Leslie. “You would hope every day that nobody loses anything and everyone is where they are supposed to be.
“There were other inefficiencies too — like routing all the drivers for their pick-ups, which used to take me all day. You could start at 8:30am and still be going at 5pm with your paper and a Google map.”
The team also experienced difficulties such as trying to update drivers if a job changed, making countless calls for pickup and delivery ETAs, and waiting around at a person’s house until warehouse staff were able to manually email a receipt.
“Our drivers used to have to wait at a person’s house for up to 10 minutes until warehouse staff emailed through a receipt. This delay also worried our customers, who would often call the office to make sure the pick-up was legit.”
Life on the job after Skedulo
Jordan says Skedulo has changed everyone’s lives at Furniture Bank and helped them be much more productive and efficient.
“Now everything we need is on our phone in the Skedulo app — and it’s in real time. There are no random papers, no lost addresses, and no disappointed customers.
“If a job changes, I update it in Skedulo and it instantly pops up on the driver’s phone. When we’re on our way the app lets the customer know and gives them an ETA. And when you complete a job, Skedulo sends an automatic email receipt to the customer. This saves our drivers up to 10 minutes for every pickup, which really adds up when you have lots of pickups in a day.”
Leslie says she loves knowing where all the team members are at any point and being able to orchestrate everything from the office or home.
“The automated emails are my favorite. I can manage everything from the office in a single click and our field team doesn’t need to worry about a thing.”
Both Jordan and Leslie agree that Skedulo has helped the charity grow, which means they’re able to help more people in need.
“These days we generally have between 40 and 50 pick-ups each a day,” says Leslie. “Before Skedulo, I think we were doing about half that. So, we’ve definitely seen an increase in appointments since implementing Skedulo.”
“We have to make our trucks dance, and Skedulo helps us do that.”
I can make my hockey games on time, and I can enjoy more time with my partner.
Leslie and Jordan say Skedulo has made their jobs much easier and gives them more time to do the things they love outside of work.
“Skedulo makes it easy for me to get to my hockey games on time,” says Jordan. “If I had to fill out and hand-over all that old paperwork, I could never get to a game at 5pm. Now I know I’m going to make it because I don’t have to worry about all that; it’s just done on Skedulo.”
For Leslie, the previously 8-hour routing process now takes her 1 to 2 hours. And because she can login to Skedulo from anywhere and at any time, she is able to leave work early and do it at home.
“I don’t live in Toronto, so I can leave early to miss all the traffic and be home to spend more time with my partner and my pets. Routing takes me a fraction of the time now and I love that I can do it from anywhere.”
“I have more time for me, which is really nice.”
Furniture Bank’s Executive Director, Dan Kershaw, also shares his view on how Skedulo has transformed their operations. See Dan’s interview.