Home Instead Senior Care replaces less flexible mapping system

home_instead_senior_care_logoHome Instead Senior Care, currently the fastest-growing UK care franchise specialising in the delivery of the highest quality non-medical care for older people in their homes, has been able to improve its system for defining franchise areas in the UK radically by introducing the Geoxploit mapping and geographic information system from Mapmechanics.

The organisation has discovered that its franchise areas work best when they include between 25,000 and 30,000 people aged 60 or over.

Having started UK operations in 2005, Home Instead originally used a basic mapping product to define its franchise areas, storing demographic and other related data in separate spreadsheet files. “But this approach was very time-consuming and inflexible,” says franchise recruitment manager Ruth Brown, who was appointed to help streamline the system.

We had to keep switching between applications if we wanted to make any changes, and the areas defined by the system sometimes straddled two or more administrative boundaries, which meant undue complexity for franchise-holders.

In place of this, Home Instead has introduced Mapmechanics’ Geoxploit, a powerful product that combines the world-renowned Geoconcept geographic information system with a range of pre-configured mapping and demographic data sets. Included in the package for Home Instead Senior Care, Mapmechanics supplied UK 2001 Census data, plus 2006 estimated Census data.

Using Geoxploit in combination with this data, Ruth Brown is able to cross-reference demographic data with postcode sectors and administrative boundaries, creating territories that contain exactly the target population of older people.

The areas defined by the system also have to match up to other requirements. For instance, the geographical area must be small enough to be practical for a franchise-holder to administer.

Ruth explains:

Having established appropriate franchise areas, we can then use Geoconcept’s thematic mapping capabilities to colour-code them and differentiate them from other areas.

The migration from the previous system was helped by the fact that Geoxploit allows spreadsheet data to be imported by a simple drag-and-drop process. Geoxploit has also provided a number of other must-have features to Home Instead, including the ability to create walking or driving catchment areas, and to overlay data on Microsoft Bing aerial mapping to provide an at-a-glance picture of franchise territories.

A specific requirement was to be able to look up franchised territories by name, which is easily accomplished with Geoxploit. This capability is reflected in the Home Instead web site, which includes the facility to perform searches by territory name.

Now that the whole process is managed within Geoxploit, it’s much easier to make changes on the spot. For instance, if I’m on the phone to a franchise-holder, and they explain that it would make sense to amend some detailed aspect of the territory boundary, then providing the change doesn’t have any adverse impact on an adjacent territory, I can make the change there and then. I could never have done that with the old system.

Along with a full copy of Geoconcept, Geoxploit includes ready-to-use UK street mapping, plus licensed access to aerial photography from some of the big names in the mapping world. There is also a range of map-related data such as population and social class data, postcodes and business delivery points. Training and technical support are included. The combined price for the software and inclusive data is significantly lower than the sum of the prices for the individual components.

“I had worked with Geoconcept previously,” Ruth Brown says, “so I had a pretty good idea that it would also be appropriate. Home Instead approached the Mapmechanics team, and they explained that Geoxploit would be even more suitable.”

The Home Instead Senior Care franchise model originated in the United States, and its success is being shared across more than 15 countries, where there are now more than 900 franchised offices.

Home Instead Senior Care UK Limited was founded by Trevor and Sam Brocklebank in 2005. The network has approximately 300 territories across the UK, of which 56 have now been taken and are extremely successful.