Somerfield claims to have saved £30m on maintenance costs in the past five years by installing an online monitoring system.

Emergense, which was developed by Nickleby and replaced paper records, enables Somefield to track all maintenance jobs and emergency repairs in 900 outlets. Staff can view each job and all calls logged by contractors from a central computer system.

Somerfield also scrapped its third-party help desk and now deals direct with contractors, which has saved time and money. "An unconventional approach to a tough situation was a leap of faith, but it has paid off," said Ian Callaghan, director of construction and renewals.