Home appliance innovator Dyson has rolled out a new managed mobile service developed by iTouch Business Mobility called iService. The implementation is the first in the UK that exchanges customer and service job data from engineers in the field to the head office in real time using advanced handheld barcode technology over O2’s GPRS wireless network.
Dyson has a team of 170 field engineers across the UK. With increasing business activity, the company recognised that it needed to improve efficiency if it was to keep its same day service and repair promise to its customers. Dyson was looking for a paperless solution that would eliminate the 2 hours spent daily by their engineers filling in forms by hand and double entering the data into the computer when they returned home. They also wanted to save the 4 hours that each of the call-centre staff spent telephoning engineers to relay job changes and cancellations.
iService works by communicating all customer and repair job details directly from the head office to the engineers handheld. As the units are online all the time (coverage dependent), all progress updates, parts ordering, receipts and customer signatures are integrated live with the back office system. The data is instant, measurable and 100% accurate.
To ensure their staff were trained and up to speed in a comfortable timeframe Dyson opted for a deliberate 6-month slow roll out. At each stage, groups of engineers had their old PCs replaced by Panasonic Toughbooks Pocket PC running Windows Mobile 2003 OS, with an in-built barcode scanner for re-ordering parts, and a portable Extech printer for printing off customer receipts.
Since the project was completed Dyson has noticed a number of benefits of the new system, including a “massive reduction in errors” in the data collected by the engineers.
With the old system a single typo such as a wrong serial number would corrupt the entire data, and a lot of administration time would be spent correcting the mistake. Now, accuracy of the data collected has increased 100% in part numbers, stock holding, customer data, and serial number capture of all Dyson products.
The new system has improved efficiency and customer service by enabling Dyson to plan and co-ordinate repair jobs more effectively and timely. Also, with significantly less voice calls to engineers, telecommunication costs are down and support staff are able to add value to other business processes.
iTouch worked with partners Panasonic and O2, securing a three-year fully managed service contract with Dyson in September 2003.