Monday, October 19, 2009

Equipment Centric Mobile Software Applications and Workflows

A service technician receives a mobile work order dispatched to his rugged mobile handheld. It calls for the immediate repair of an air conditioning unit in a specific factory. Under the account status it says annual service contact in flashing red. He pushes the red flashing button and the mobile work order application then queries a different application - the central office CMMS (computer managed maintenance system) for any additional maintenance or inspection work that needs to be completed on the broken air conditioning equipment, or any other equipment under a service contract in the area.

Let's pause a moment and consider the implications of the above scenario. A need for a customer's equipment repair generates a work order that is wirelessly dispatched to the service technician. While at the jobsite, the service technician wants to know if any other equipment needs serviced while he is onsite. If he can accomplish more work while he is onsite, then that can save fuel and travel time expense.

Ideally, there would be an automated workflow that would link the Work Order Management System with the CMMS (computer managed maintenance system) and service calls would be organized (repairs, regular services and inspections) prior to the service technician dispatch, but even without this integration good mobile software application can synchronize with multiple backend database applications so onsite coordination can be done.

What kind of "regular" services are needed? Often, HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) companies will service their customers' equipment on a schedule for an annual service fee. To be profitable, the service company needs to make each visit the most efficient possible. They will inspect the equipment, do minor maintenance and change out filters. If a service technician is already onsite with a service dispatch, then he can efficiently conduct the "regular" services on additional equipment while he is there.

Often the environments described above involves a number of different software applications. CMMS, Work Order Dispatch, CRM and the customer's Asset Management software application. Ideally the service company would have the CRM/CMMS and Work Order dispatch system in place and all of these would integrate and synchronize with the mobile handheld computer. Once the work was completed at the jobsite the work order details would then be integrated with the customer's Asset Management application. This would allow the customer to keep their records updated on each piece of equipment.

For a related article on geotagging equipment for Asset Tracking and Management please see this article.

If you would like to discuss this topic in more detail please contact me.

Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobile Strategy, Sales and Marketing Consultant