New system keeps Blackpool Illuminated

  • Automated switch-on system controls six miles of promenade lights
  • Lifting plan enhances health and safety by recording data for each display
  • Stock control system tracks a vast range of equipment and reports on costs

1 million

LED lamps under automated control


Tonnes of Illuminations equipment

6 million

Visitors a year

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Our client’s issue

Lightworks is the Illuminations workshop for Blackpool Council, responsible for creating, installing, managing and maintaining the famous lights on Blackpool’s six-mile-long promenade. The extraordinary display requires an enormous amount of equipment, from lamps to wiring to the displays that support the lights. The workshop’s ageing stock control system was failing to keep on top of what was in store, required a time-consuming process for recording stock, and wasn't time efficient for the team, as well as sowing confusion. Lightworks needed a smart, flexible new system.

What we did

We built a new stock control system tailored to Lightworks’ needs which gives the team precise knowledge of all the equipment they are holding, provides costs for each job, and alerts them when stock is running low.

All equipment entering the workshop is scanned using a handheld device – far quicker than recording it manually. This links directly into the system, recording a wide range of data including cost and location. When stock levels run low, the system checks against pre-set minimum levels and automatically sets up a reorder that just needs approval.

The Lightworks team were so pleased with the results that they asked us to work on three further projects. We created a signing in and signing out system for the warehouse, workshop and offices to ensure security of the equipment, which today includes micro controllers and lasers. Next we developed a lifting plan that ensures installation of the displays is safe and compliant – not easy when each display can weigh over a tonne. Detailed data is recorded for each of the displays based on testing done in the workshop, so when members of the team take equipment out to be installed they have precisely the information they need with them on a mobile device.

Finally, we built a system to control the daily switch-on and switch-off of the entire Illuminations, accessible via an interface on a desktop computer. The daily switch-on can be scheduled automatically or carried out manually. They sometimes choose to switch on manually ahead of the published time if there are large numbers of visitors.

A separate launch sequence is initiated for each of the eight electrical substation units. Once the lights are on, a message is sent to the team to confirm the operation is complete.

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“We are delighted with the difference Decent has made to how we work. We can work more easily, more quickly, more consistently and more safely.”

Richard Williams

Blackpool Illuminations Manager, Lightworks

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“We used to have an extremely manual system, where it was very paper-based, and all that’s gone now. Now it’s instant, so we can generate complete stock reports at any moment.”

Richard Williams

Blackpool Illuminations Manager, Lightworks

The transformation journey

Stock control analysis

We were called in to review an immediate problem (the old stock system), got to know the organisation, and gained an understanding of the people and processes.

Bespoke software build

We built a bespoke stock control system with precisely the features that the Lightworks workshop requires, with the flexibility to enhance it as necessary.

Deepening understanding

As our understanding of the workshop and their trust in us grew, new ideas were hatched through our discussions.

Ongoing bespoke software build

With trust in place, we continue to develop the ideas that deliver the greatest impact.

The results

Each phase of our work has deepened the benefits that the new system delivers for Lightworks. 

Above all the team now have control and visibility over the cost and time of their operations and are able to work far more efficiently. They know where all equipment is and can maintain adequate stock levels; they know the cost of different jobs and can carry out installation faster and more safely than previously; and they can control the lights from an easy-to-use computer interface.

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“Decent know what they’re doing, and get what we need. It’s been a surprisingly easy process working through. We’ve done some workshops which I thought were really useful, learnt how we each work, and that’s got us to where we needed to be.”

Richard Williams

Blackpool Illuminations Manager, Lightworks

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Services used

Business process analysis

Discover exactly how and where your business can be improved, with an impartial and rigorous analysis of your business processes.

Bespoke software

Software designed specifically for your business dramatically improves your productivity and supercharges your growth.

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