Scot JCB finds perfect planning software partner in PODFather

Scot JCB, supplier of agricultural and construction machinery in Scotland and the North of England has selected PODFather’s field engineer management system for roll out across its complex service management operation. With over 150 engineers, 17 depots and 1,000+ daily visits that involve a varied mix of routine repairs, emergency SLA dependent call outs, and multi engineer jobs, Scot JCB has struggled to find a solution capable of handling the intricacies of its operation. With PODFather’s job management, route scheduling and electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) software now rolling out the Scot JCB team is confident it has found the right supplier capable of handling the nuances of its operation. PODFather will replace Scot JCB’s incumbent technology with an intuitive planning system and smart phone app for improved visibility and control across its operation.

“Our operation deals with so much more than routine repair visits,” comments Scott Spowage, Group IT Manager at Scot JCB. “The jobs our engineers are handling are usually complex, multi point inspections that vary depending on manufacturer instructions and client needs. This has been a problem for solution providers we’ve worked with in the past, but not for PODFather.”

The Scot JCB group consists of five companies operating from a network of 17 depots across Scotland and the North of England supplying and servicing construction, agricultural and industry machinery. With PODFather successfully implemented at its Glasgow-HQ, the Scot JCB team is now embarking on a swift roll out plan across its entire operation. Having struggled to find good fit technology for its busy operation, Scot JCB reviewed what the market had to offer and picked PODFather as its solution of choice. The PODFather solution is being used to plan engineer schedules, track vehicle movements and capture photographs, service and maintenance records, and signatures against each completed job. With strict customer SLAs in place it is imperative that Scot JCB has a sophisticated solution to ensure engineers are sufficiently utilised, and that customer service promises are adhered to, in the most efficient way.

“With PODFather we get the system flexibility, and reliable results, that we’ve been looking for from a software supplier. We have been able to configure the system to meet the specific needs of our service engineer visits. This was a huge plus point and something we’ve struggled with in the past,” adds Spowage. “We are using PODFather to plan engineer routes, that includes both routine servicing, multi engineer visits and emergency call outs for which we must adhere to our strict service level agreement promises and we can now make informed decisions quickly which is great for our customers and our business.”

With PODFather, Scot JCB can capture onsite information relating to each specific job. Historically engineers captured photos on a digital camera; this is now all captured via the PODFather smartphone app. Engineers can log what work has been completed and what repairs or part replacements will be required in the future. They can also use the app’s dictation tool to capture their spoken notes, as opposed to having to type out written notes for every job. “We are at the start of our PODFather journey and we look forward to seeing the system’s proven benefits become a reality across our operation,” concludes Jamieson.

“We are delighted to be helping the team at Scot JCB tackle the challenge of planning and managing its complex service management operation,” adds Colin McCreadie, Managing Director at PODFather. “The selection and roll out of PODFather is testament to just how flexible, configurable and intuitive our award-winning field service technology really is.”

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UK Antiques Dealer Sells Cracked Cup For £28,000 Finds 300 Year Old Imperial Chinese Spirit Recipe

First it was beer that underwent a revolution. Then came gin (and let’s not forget the tonic it’s served with). Now China’s most ancient and popular spirit, baijiu (pronounced bye – joe), is busy being reinvented for western markets.

Baijiu is one of the biggest mysteries of the alcohol industry. Despite achieving total sales of 10.8 billion litres in 2018, which is more than whisky, vodka, gin, run and tequila combined, practically no one in the west has ever heard of it.

But a British entrepreneur is determined to change all that by launching a handcrafted baijiu distilled in the UK that he says is more than a match for the most prestigious state-owned Chinese brands.

V.I.P Jiu 8 is the brainchild of Irving Graham, a Chinese antiquities dealer from Newcastle. Back in 2014 Graham bid £300 for a cracked Chinese wine cup at an auction in southern England. He later discovered it was a piece from the Imperial Chinese collection once housed in the Forbidden City during the reign of the Kangxi Emperor between 1654-1722.

Irving went on to sell the cup for £28,000, but not before it offered up one last valuable secret – a handwritten note hidden in its wooden presentation box containing a 300 year-old recipe for an alcohol-based tonic known as a jiu. All nine ingredients had been specially chosen by the Emperor himself.

A few years later Graham embarked on a gruelling journey across Russia and China on the Trans-Siberian railway, keen to learn more about baijiu and its importance in Chinese culture.

He discovered that baijiu was once produced in thousands of small, family-owned distilleries throughout China until the Chinese Communist Party took over and set about shutting them down or merging them together to create state-run ‘mega distilleries’.

Graham returned to the UK determined to resurrect the Kangxi Emperor’s recipe and create a craft baijiu distilled in Britain. He spent more than a year conducting intensive trials to get the balance of the ingredients just right.

“What I’ve created is a modern yet authentic Imperial craft baijiu made in Britain that embraces and celebrates the history and traditions of China’s favourite spirit”.

Irving admits convincing western drinkers to embrace baijiu, which was once famously described by celebrated US journalist Dan Rather as drinking liquid razor blades” can often be challenging.

Baijiu is undoubtedly an acquired taste, but as with anything the more you try it and learn about it the more you appreciate what an amazingly versatile drink it is.
“It’s a sad fact that a lot of the art of creating baijiu was lost when it was industrialized by the CCP. Today the huge mega brands blend batches and cut corners to produce a uniform product on a mind-boggling scale”.

“I’m committed to bringing the craft back to baijiu, only distilling small batches that are made by human hands and not machines.”

In fact Irving is so confident the Kangxi Emperor’s 300-year-old recipe is superior to the best Chinese brands available he sent a sample of it together with a sample from the famous Kweichow Moutai Distillery (from which rare bottles can fetch thousands of pounds at auction) to an accredited UK laboratory to have them analysed.

“Not only did they conclude that V.I.P Jiu 8 is more complex than the Moutai sample, it also contained many more compounds that have potentially positive health benefits,” he said.

For further information please contact:

V.I.P Jiu 8 is Britain’s first authentic Imperial craft baijiu. It has been made according to a 300-year-old recipe found hidden with a cracked wine cup that once belonged to the Kangxi Emperor of China.

V.I.P Jiu 8 (58% ABV) is an extremely versatile baijiu; it can be drunk neat in small glasses in accordance with Chinese tradition or can be added to cocktails to give them an exhilarating new dimension.

After opening the bottle the first thing you’ll notice is the baijiu’s intense aroma, filled with hints of fresh mint and fennel. One sip reveals a complex interplay between flavours that shift between mandarin, nutmeg, citrus and saffron.

When making V.I.P Jiu 8 only the ‘heart’ of the alcohol produced during the distillation process is used. The heart is the purest, best-tasting part of the alcohol. By using only the heart all the poisons, fats and oils that lurk in the so-called heads and tails created when alcohol is distilled are discarded.

V.I.P Jiu 8 is now being sold to the UK on and off trades in a limited series of distinctively branded 700ml bottles.

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4 in 10 UK workers expect to work from home more often, survey finds

43% of workers say they will be “more likely” to work from home following the Coronavirus crisis

For millions of workers forced to work from home during the Coronavirus lockdown, remote working could become part of the ‘new normal’. Image licensed by Ingram Image
For millions of workers forced to work from home during the Coronavirus lockdown, remote working could become part of the ‘new normal’. Image licensed by Ingram Image

An end to Covid-19 lockdown may not mean an end to home working for many UK workers. A survey has found that 4 in 10 people expect to work from home more than they did before, even once the crisis is over.

More than 5,000 UK workers were asked to think beyond Summer 2020 and consider whether they were more likely, less likely, or equally likely to work from home in the future.

The result signalled a significant increase in remote working, with 43% of respondents saying they were more likely to work from home in the latter half of 2020 and beyond.

Adam Jones, Editor of, the website behind the survey, said: “Companies and staff are beginning to realise that they can be just as productive while working remotely as they can in an office. And that working from home has many benefits.

“Remote working can improve employee satisfaction and retention, reduce carbon emissions and bring about savings in costly office space, facilities and utilities.”

Prior to the Coronavirus crisis, only 30% of the UK workforce had ever worked from home. While only 5.1% of the working population worked from home most of the time.

In recent years, the number of home workers has been steadily increasing – from 4.3% in 2015 to 5.1% in 2019, according to the Office for National Statistics. However, the current need for millions of people to work from home has the potential to accelerate this trend.

Not everyone can work from home of course, but there really is no reason why most desk-based jobs can’t be done remotely for at least some of the working week.” Jones adds.

“A combination of modern technology, such as high speed internet and video conferencing, combined with the catalyst of the Coronavirus crisis, now looks set to make remote working part of the new normal.”

About HomeworkerHQ: A new remote working website launched in response to the current crisis, HomeworkerHQ is dedicated to helping people work well from home. The website offers advice on how to set up a home office, choose the best office furniture and tech, and remain productive while working remotely.

Twitter: @HomeworkerHQ

About the survey: The survey was conducted via a Twitter poll that used the social media network’s promoted tweet functionality to target a random sample of UK citizens aged 18+.

There were 5,157 responses within a 24 hour period from 19th to 20th May 2020.

The results were:

● 43.6% more likely to work from home
● 17.6% less likely to work from home
● 38.8% no change anticipated

Statistically, we can say to a 95% confidence level that between 42.2% and 45.0% of people in the UK’s working population of approximately 31.3m consider themselves more likely to work from home in the future.

View the results

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Seriously ill fashion designer finds therapy through his hand painted designs

A critically ill organ transplant patient who has had an operation cancelled twice due to the coronovirus pandemic is healing himself though his hand painted leather jacket company.

Richard Gair, of Gogairy Hand Painted Leathers, has survived a pancreas and kidney transplant after suffering from diabetes since a teenager.

Now 47, he survives on a daily cocktail of pills and injections to keep him alive. Over the past 18 months he has developed a painful hernia the size of a football which has split open his abdomen and until the procedure he will need a number of Botox injections to relax the surrounding muscles. This will allow the operation to more straight forward and less stressful on his abdomen. The operation was due to take place in March but was pushed back to April and now has been moved again with no further date planned

Artist and fashion designer Richard is on daily opiate painkillers to numb the pain from all this and is disappointed that his operation was cancelled, saying, “It’s a lot of mental preparation for an operation of this kind especially with an 80% survival rate. I have been fully prepped and prepared myself for it for several months. Now it’s been cancelled and of course I understand why. So I shall just carry on painting and selling my jackets.

GoGairy creates unique hand painted leather and vegan friendly faux leather jackets. Customers can create their own design which he then paints onto a jacket, making a bespoke timeless fashion piece for the wearer. Despite the pandemic the orders are flying in.

Richard said, “Everyone’s online and the traffic to my website and the GoGairy Facebook page is huge, it’s great! I have dropped by prices to reflect the current climate but life has to go on and I am very fortunate that my business is one working from home so I am unaffected by this.

I am in constant pain as a result of my health issues, and I do need to take a daily nap but I find painting really helps with the pain, it’s a really good distraction; a therapy and focusing on painting takes my mind off it. My operation was cancelled but in a way it’s blessing as I would have not been able to work for two to three months. And I can’t imagine not painting, I love it, I love creating a unique piece of art that people are proud to wear.”

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