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Brothers’ success flowed from software switch

ByRob Lawson

Nov 24, 2021

A SWITCH to develop new software that drastically reduces the time it takes to produce survey reports has paid dividends for a Newcastle tech company.

Brothers David and Paul King launched Flow Software Solutions in 2019, initially focusing on software for the company fleet market. In March last year they took the decision to move into the development of asbestos reporting software.

Paul and David’s pivot was a success, with their asbestos software now being used by nearly 80 clients across three countries – the UK, New Zealand and South Africa.

Such has been their success, the brothers have recruited their first employee, Mark Malone, to cope with demand.

“The decision to move to the development of asbestos reporting software has been game-changing for us. We signed up our first asbestos reporting client on the first day of lockdown in March 2020, and have never looked back. We’ve been so busy we asked Mark – an old friend who’s been working for Sage for many years – to come and join us,” said Paul.

“Our software dramatically reduces the amount of time needed to produce an asbestos report – from two hours to ten minutes – and is proving very popular with customers here and abroad,” he added.

It’s a sector that David knows well, having developed a pioneering cloud-based risk and management software for one of the largest and fastest-growing asbestos management companies in Europe.

He explained: “It’s a sector I’m very familiar with and I fully understand the business processes involved. I used my network of contacts to meet with surveyors and understand what they’d really want from a software solution. What they asked for was a simple, easy-to-use solution that could give quick results. Speed is the key – slow report turnaround can lead to financial loss.

“So we developed our software to speed up on-site and office-based reporting using Android or IOS devices – and we’ve kept the app really simple to use, with as few clicks as possible.

“It’s a really busy, competitive market, but we’re doing well. I think clients have been impressed by the speed, ease of use and also the fact we don’t charge set-up costs, just a monthly fee.”

To further understand the asbestos sector, and to help their clients, Paul and David have compiled a comprehensive State of the Asbestos Industry report, which they are sharing with existing and prospective clients.

Paul explained: “While our customers are experts, often with decades of experience, they don’t necessarily have the time to understand how the industry is changing. Likewise, we know our customers could benefit from knowing the trends their peers are experiencing, or the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead.

“So we pulled together our State of the Asbestos Industry report, after speaking to more than 130 professionals. It’s been well received and hopefully our clients can learn something new or approach a challenge in a different way.”

The brothers are confident their reporting software would be equally applicable to other industries, so see growth in the asbestos sector, but in other areas that are regulated and need regular, timely on-site reports, too.

“There’s plenty of growth within asbestos and we’re getting a steady supply of queries and sign-ups, but we think the software has great potential elsewhere – ventilation hygiene, fire safety and Legionnaire’s Disease surveys, for instance,” said Paul.

In the meantime, Flow continues to develop and refine its software while planning to expand further: “Our next step is to improve our marketing, to get across how great our software is to more people – so I think we’ll be looking to bring someone in to help us in the New Year,” said David.

Flow is based on Hoults Yard, Byker, where they plan to expand as the team grows. For more information on their mobile surveying software, go to www.flowmobile.app