Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Service Orders Using Handheld PDAs

We published a press release today about a recent project we completed -Kane's Furniture Selects MobileDataforce. This project involved converting their paper service order processes to mobile service orders on handheld computers. They are very happy and the CFO confirmed they are saving 32 man hours per day over their 17 locations.

Service orders and work orders are quite similar across many industries. At least similar from an IT perspective. Technicians need:
  1. Job assignment
  2. Job location
  3. Job schedule
  4. Job task
  5. Document result

The traditional manner of dispatching and completing a service/work order is by phoning the technician with a job assignment, and the technician writes the information onto carbon paper. When the work is complete the customer signs it and the technician leaves a copy with the customer and attaches his copy to a clip board on the seat of the truck. At the end of the day these service/work orders are delivered to the office where an administration person re-types this information into an invoice system.

There are a great deal of inefficiencies in the manual process. Incomplete forms, lost work orders, bad handwriting, wrong information, duplicate efforts required to re-type the information in the office, etc.

When you have a mobile service/work order system - the technician gets a message on their handheld computer that a new service/order assignment is available. The handheld computer synchronizes with headquarters and provides the work assignments, driving directions, instructions, etc. Once the work is complete, a digital signature is captured on the screen of the handheld, and the completed work order is synchronized immediately with the office service/work order dispatch and invoicing system. Very clean, accurate, fast and efficient.