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Country Fire Service Bluewater Case Study

South Australia Country Fire Service (CFS) is a government funded volunteer fire service, servicing 6 regions across the state, with 425 brigades, almost 200 staff, over 13,500 volunteers, and more than 3,500 telecom services.

Impact

“We had minimal visibility,” says the Telecommunications Technical Officer. Whenever a brigade had a billing question, it would take days to manually track down all the information from bills and spreadsheets. With 425 brigades, “managing that was virtually impossible”.

  • Lack of visibility on users
  • Difficulty assessing billing
  • Had to manually find information

Working in remote areas during extreme conditions means that each brigade has its own fleet of radios, mobile devices, Wi-Fi devices, laptops, and services with Telstra, and satellite networks to ensure they’re always in communication.

The Telecommunications Technical Officer at CFS serves as the central point of call for all of the volunteer-run brigades when they have a billing question, a variance to investigate, or need to manage or update their mobile fleet.

Solution

CFS is focused on a holistic use of the Bluewater platform, including billing and reporting, using profiles to match services and devices with their locations, building an accurate asset register, and streamlining their procurement processes.

Solution

The Teleommunications Technical Officer is leading an organisation-wide telephony upgrade project and says Bluewater has been instrumental in understanding the changes it will have on their billing.

Part of this project will be empowering each of the sites to have control over their own billing and fleet management through access to Bluewater. With the number of volunteers fluctuating at each site year on year, tracking which site had what services was leading to unused services going unnoticed for years. When a service is no longer needed, sites will be able to remove it from their bill (or add a new one in) and order hardware by themselves, a massive improvement in processes.

Outcome

Ordering hardware through the Bluewater platform initiates that device’s lifecycle tracking, which includes what service, user, and location it’s assigned to. Sites will be able to update that lifecycle as it changes, including identifying when it’s no longer in use and the service can be cancelled or reassigned.

OUTCOME

Adding on the identification of services that were no longer in use, this adds up to a substantial amount that will be saved over a five-year period.

In terms of operational savings, the Telecommunications Technical Officer has gained back a week each month on analysis and reporting since implementing Bluewater and will gain a further week back once sites are able to procure their own hardware.

The regional commanders on site won’t have to wait for an answer to their queries anymore, either. With access to the portal, they’ll be able to settle billing discrepancies themselves, getting answers in minutes, not days, and “get a clear indication every month of their spend.”

KEY BENEFITS

  • Cost effective and streamlined billing and expense management
  • Easy identification of unallocated or redundant services
  • Optimised processes, increased visibility and improved governance
  • Time saving, removing the need for manual searching

“The partnership with Bluewater emerged as a significant change, offering a solution that not only led to significant cost savings but also became a reliable source of truth for service locations. The advanced reporting tools have elevated the way CFS communicates spending to stakeholders, ensuring transparency and accountability at every level.”

Paul Bebbington

Telecommunications Technical Officer

Country Fire Service are one of over 60 1Solution customers utilising this type of platform. The successful implementation of the system has transformed the management of previously complex billing structures providing extensive cost savings and efficiencies in ways of working to enable seamless day-to-day operations.

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