What’s New in Technology to Transform Client Processes?5 Nov, 2013 By: Ken Staubitz, BEI Services
Reflecting back five, ten, or even over 15 years ago there has been an investment headwind in technology allowing organizations to improve efficiencies, profitability and customer service levels. For the majority of dealers index cards, pagers and bulky tech manuals have been replaced by various ERP’s, some form of mobile computing device linked to a mobile field service solution allowing one to access client records, machines histories, and on-line technical resources.
Interestingly enough even though many organizations have implemented similar technologies to improve its business, there are varying degrees of integration of this technology and few organizations effectively leverage the business intelligence resulting from these solutions. For example, by now most organizations have implemented some form of remote monitoring solution to improve the attainment of valuable meter data and to better identify the image volume produced for various devices. However, few have effectively implemented such solutions to leverage the data (meter data, service/supply alerts) provided and few organizations have actually automated various processes resulting from the business intelligence provided. Keep in mind technology will not run your business for you, but according to a recent Aberdeen Group study, The Impact of Business Intelligence on Financial Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting: Aiding Insight and Confidence, “the Best -in-Class organizations are more likely than All Others to implement technology to enable both data access and the ability to utilize the data to make predictive decisions.”
Our businesses have become increasingly dependent on technology to improve business processes, it begs the question, “What new technologies are out there allowing me to optimize my operation and improve the level of service provided to my customers. “ Various solutions continue to evolve to improve service operations and for some the technologies listed below may not be new, but the manner in which one can leverage these technologies can have a dramatic impact on the organization.
BEI Services Advanced Inventory Management (AIM) solution/ integrated with the Overstocked Parts Network (OPN): although managing inventory to meet customer demand isn’t new, BEI Services has proven that organizations struggle with determining the proper parts inventory levels which have contributed to an increasing amount of aged parts inventory. In a recent inventory study BEI Services Vice President of Operations, Bud Karakey, explains, “We have found that dealer’s average just over 34% of parts inventory that hasn’t been used in over 18 months. Further analysis proved that even though a part might be obsolete to your dealership, someone else in the country might be using that item.” So, the AIM solution was born. This (free) solution integrates with the OPN allowing dealers to identify their aging inventory and also allows organizations to purchase parts and sell its aging parts inventory to others; reducing unwanted inventory write off and helping to reduce a dealer’s cost of goods.
GPS technology: used to aid tracking for service, fleet optimization, and to improve technician productivity. GPS has gained increased popularity in allowing service organizations to track company assets (vehicles) to improve workforce productivity. Years ago (and even today) service managers use to periodically show up at a customer’s site at the beginning and end of day to ensure their technicians were working a full day. Although this process is considered a best practice it comes at a cost to the organization. Depending on the cost of the resources used the dealer could be spending $60-$75 per hour to complete such a task instead of utilizing the technology available.
In addition, when incorporated effectively, a GPS solution can drastically improve the efficiency of a company’s dispatch center. According to Jack Duncan at US Fleet Tracking, “Our solutions allow dispatch personnel to visualize a technician’s physical location in relationship to the open service calls and can incorporate real-time traffic and weather conditions into the dispatch process allowing technicians to service up to one additional customer per day, per technician.”
Bar code scanning: for improved inventory management and improved technician accountability. Bar code scanning has been around for years, but ironically few fully utilize this technology. Many companies utilize bar coding to aid in various processes for inventory management, but few use this type of technology in their service delivery approach. For example, there are scanners that are integrated into, or can attach to, a mobile device allowing technicians to scan the machine to be serviced which automatically will record his arrival and departure time, eliminating the need for a technician to tediously enter these times. This process can improve data integrity and streamline the dispatch process.
There is no question the solutions mentioned above and various others can improve the efficiencies within your organization, but I encourage you to choose the next evolving technology to enhance your business carefully. Don’t chose a solution just because it is the next shiny rock in the sand box, so to speak, but ensure your company has a clear picture and expectation for implementation and use of whatever solution you choose. It is also important to understand the scalability for such a solution. Choosing a solution to help your business is a judicious process and your organization must have a clear expectation and plan for the implementation of the solution proposed. Otherwise, you could be at risk of investing in a solution with the intent on using and never implementing.
Ken Staubitz is National Sales Manager for BEI Services. At 513-200-2169 or email http://Ken.email@example.com