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Winning back MRES: Enable’s journey of change and transformation

Learn about Enable New Zealand’s journey to be a world-class provider of disability equipment and information.

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In 2019, Enable New Zealand embarked on its most ambitious project to date, the Enablement Programme – a project designed to transform Enable into a modern, technology-first, customer centric organisation focused on one goal: supporting disabled people and their whanau to live everyday lives in their communities.

The Enablement Programme, which has led to substantive changes in how Enable operates, came to be after the organisation lost the contract to continue as supplier of ACC’s Managed Rehabilitation Equipment Services in 2014.

“Losing the MRES contract in 2014, was a very painful time for the organisation. It forced a lot of change,” says David Andrews, Enablement Programme Manager. “[But] it gave us a chance…to really look at why we had lost the contract. It mainly came down [to the fact] that we were very internally focused, we'd lost sight of where the sector was going, and our funders had started changing what they wanted from us and we hadn't responded to that.”

“Losing the MRES contract was a really big deal for the organisation,” says Michelle Riwai, Enable New Zealand’s General Manager. “I joined in 2020…and they were still talking about the day they lost the contract.”

"In those very early days, not long after I started, I do remember having some very courageous conversations around the desire of the organisation to win back that contract. From what I could tell, the organisation had been through a significant growth period. It had taken the timeout after losing that contract, to explore why they had lost it and what they needed to do to turn that around and win it back.”

This period of reflection led to a big shift in how Enable operates, with a focus on embedding the eight Enabling Good Lives principles into every decision the organisation makes.

“At the heart of our decision making, when we're looking at how we do things or what technology we use, is really the Enabling Good Lives principles. We want to put the customer at the centre of everything we do. We want to make sure that they're getting the service that they expect,” says David.

Changes made as part of the Enablement Programme include improvements to how Enable’s contact centre operates and shifting technology to the cloud to ensure we can work flexibly and responsively.

All these changes put the organisation in a strong position for making a bid to secure the MRES contract when it was up for renewal in 2021.

“When the bid for the MRES contract came out, we knew we needed to put our best foot forward,” says Michelle. “Based on that, we reached into all parts of the organisation and pulled together a team of teams.”

“It really was a team effort,” says David. “We brought together the knowledge and experience from when we had MRES, but with a very new way of thinking, very much focused on the customer. How can we do things better? How can we be innovative?”

Enable made their bid and were successful. After a 10-week project to get everything in place to deliver a minimum viable service, the organisation officially took over as supplier for MRES on 15 November 2021. Work is now underway to make improvements and enhancements to the service, in collaboration with ACC.

“We know we deliver an exceptional service to disabled people, and we knew that by having that contract we could extend our reach,” says Michelle. “We also know in ourselves that we have an exceptional level of expertise and professional experience in being able to deliver an outstanding modern service. But in the background to that as well is the whole cultural identity for the last seven years at Enable has been about making improvements, about adapting, and being agile and innovative. Winning back the MRES contracts was evidence that we've made significant progress.”

Find out more about Enable New Zealand and the services the organisation provides.