Meet The Experts – James MacPherson

SSG Insight
  • Published date: 22 October 2020

As part of our ‘Meet the Experts’ Healthcare series will take a look at the background and experience of some of our senior staff to highlight what they think are the most important factors in bringing about improvement in the sector. Here, James MacPherson explains how taking time to understand a client’s pain points is vital in building their ideal solution.

From helping customers meet contractual obligations through real time analysis to improving the lives of the people who depend on their services.

Having graduated in International Marketing, a role in a sales and marketing was the natural starting point for James MacPherson. He then worked in senior management from 2000 onwards joining SSG Insight in 2010. Throughout his time at the company he has been able to apply his experience to a range of sectors in the UK, Australia, Asia Pacific and Canada. In his own words he is ‘someone who thinks a great deal about what the future holds’ for the businesses SSG Insight works with. This means SSG Insight customers get the combined benefits of someone who uses his experience to understand what they need, but someone who is also able to take a longer view to ensure solutions meet future needs.

How is your experience helping SSG Insight customers?

I am used to working on large-scale complex projects in the UK and internationally. These are outcome-based relationships and have included group hospital contracts and large-scale waste contracts. Since taking up the role of CEO in Australia, I have been involved in hospital builds that were part of the government initiative to have large high-tech hospital buildings. My experience and focus on outcomes and transparency was particularly important here, especially when it came to Fiona Stanley – which was a game changer for the Australian healthcare system.

How is your sector insight making a difference?

SSG Insight’s Australian business has grown rapidly largely as a result being involved in some significant developments such as the Children’s’ Hospital in Perth which has become a model for other children’s hospitals. Other large-scale projects have included 81 hospitals in Western Australia. So, my sector insight has played a part in ensuring these projects were delivered successfully.

How would you describe your approach to working with customers?

A core part of what I do is to take time to listen to our customers to find out about their pain points and then play back to them what a solution might look like. A good example of this was a recent discussion with Perth Airport.

During the meeting we heard how foot traffic impacts its business model. We discovered that a significant source of revenue came from purchases in shops and stores once passengers had been through security and were waiting for boarding.

We ascertained that through the monitoring of queueing we would be able to trigger an alert through Agility, to open another lane, consequently increasing the amount of time passengers could spend in the shops. We did some initial modelling and found that if we could reduce waiting time by 15 minutes this would potentially increase overall revenue from sales by 5 per cent.

Can you give us examples of the benefits of this approach for customers?

I ensure that we deliver significant savings against total cost of ownership. For example, with hospital portering sophisticated task management resources are allocated instantly based on location, ability and availability to undertake a task of tasks.

Response times are improved either by porters being able to select jobs via a screen or a dispatch sending them out when they see a porter is about to complete a job at a location close to where a new porter request has been logged.

We have achieved time savings of around 8 minutes per task in response times which taken as an annual saving for one hospital is the equivalent of three to four whole time equivalent roles just on one service line. The savings vary between hospitals. However, time saving is just the start as it is the data outputs that can be analysed through Agility to produce insight into the work patterns and behaviours.

I also have wide experience working with consortium partners. We find that partners have to meet detailed contractual obligations which require real-time monitoring and measurement. One example of this was a contract we were involved in Ottawa with a transport maintenance group to analyse data against contract. This included, for example, the lift systems on stations which were unmanned during the night. Our solution monitored these lifts so that if there were any problems we would be automatically alerted, and a team deployed to investigate and fix. This avoids any penalties that are in the contract around lifts not working or being out of action.

What excites you about the future and what SSG Insight can offer?

We have a real opportunity to improve lives across all these sectors. We are doing a lot more with sensors by retrofitting and installing them in hospital settings. As a result we can move away from planned maintenance schedules to reactive maintenance that avoids downtime. In transport our systems can ensure that heating to train platforms is automatically switched on when the temperature falls below zero. This helps to avoid falls and accidents.

Once you have artificial intelligence alongside all these processes you can link into statistical modelling and self-diagnostics bringing in auto lifecycle replacement technologies. This means a machine can tell you when it needs to be replaced.

The exciting thing for me is that it is not just about software any more it’s about improving lives through integration and connection.

We will be posting a series of four Meet the Experts pieces in our Healthcare series profiling James MacPherson, Matthew Wood, Amber Hart and Brian Armstrong. We hope that you find them an interesting read.

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