The need

A retailer was handling all of its snow and ice management in-house. That meant each location was individually responsible for every step of the process: sourcing their own service providers, negotiating individual rates, tracking insurance, managing each service, performing independent quality control checks, and more.

And all of this was being done on top of the store managers’ everyday responsibilities.

With thousands of locations across the country, it was time for a more streamlined and efficient approach to snow and ice management that would help save time and resources.    

The solution

In 2013, the retailer began working with SMS Assist to manage snow and ice removal for 80 of its locations. Since then the relationship has continued to grow—bringing the current location count to 4,000.

Now, all of those tasks that each location previously had to do on its own are handled by SMS Assist.

Provider sourcing and pricing

For each location, the SMS Assist Sourcing team identifies primary, secondary, and tertiary service providers. The same team also handles negotiating pricing for each service with every provider.

This is all made easier with an RFP tool that allows providers to accept sites they’ve previously serviced and bid on new ones. This means SMS Assist can confirm coverage more quickly and efficiently—and for the right price.

Insurance coverage

The Compliance team ensures that every provider has the proper insurance. This is in addition to the $60 million policy that SMS Assist provides every customer.

Weather tracking and service dispatching  

One by SMS Assist™ tracks every incoming winter storm. Whenever there is a potential for precipitation that would meet the customer’s trigger for service, the primary provider gets an automatic alert that dispatches them for service. This means the store manager doesn’t have to call in to request services.

Quality assurance

Throughout each storm, the SMS Assist support team tracks the frequency of services across every location. If a location falls behind on services—or even receives too many services—the team proactively reaches out to the provider to resolve. Plus, every provider takes before and after photos for each service to verify the work is completed.

The results

Prior to working with SMS Assist, the store managers were involved with every step of their locations’ snow and ice management program.

But of the 22,849 services that were performed by an SMS Assist service provider during the 2021-2022 season, 95% were completed without any customer involvement. And whenever a call was made, SMS Assist’s expert operations team was available 24/7/365.

This means each location’s team members got time back in their days to focus on their business and their customer’s needs. And that time adds up.

How long does it take to…

Source a single provider: ~2 hours

Review contracts and insurance for one provider: ~2 hours

Confirm work orders and handle billing for the season at one location: ~4 hours

That’s nearly 50,000 hours of time saved for this retailer in one snow and ice season.

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