Magazine Article | October 1, 2005


Source: Field Technologies Magazine
Integrated Solutions, October 2005

Benco Dental is a service business that installs and maintains equipment for dental practices. One of the challenges Benco Dental's field service technicians face is same-day changes. For example, jobs often overrun or underrun their estimated duration, and urgent service requests — such as a request to fix a broken X-ray machine — often pop up. Without a scheduling solution, field technicians called a dispatch center, and a dispatcher had to try to determine whether the technician could be scheduled for an additional assignment (if the previous assignment was completed early) or who else was available in the technician's area for assistance (if the previous assignment overran). The process could require multiple calls and eat up several minutes of time.

In mid-2003, Benco Dental invested in ServicePower's SERVICEPower workforce optimization software to help its field organization work smarter and accommodate same-day changes to their work schedules. The scheduling software was deployed at the beginning of 2004 following an implementation project that included integration of the SERVICEPower system to Benco's existing business applications. "As soon as we began this deployment, we started to reap the rewards, " says Rick Cohen, VP of operations at Benco Dental.

Using real-time data from ServicePower's SERVICEMobility application, the scheduling application is able to update field service technicians' schedules as changes occur. Implemented on Verizon Wireless' voice and data network, the mobile solution provides field technicians with wireless dispatch and job status messaging directly from Benco Dental's dispatch center to field technicians' Samsung i700 Windows CE devices, which include phone, data, PDA, and camera functionality. Technicians use the SERVICEMobility interface to report their job status to the scheduling system. All transactions occur without the need for voice communication, which saves time in the dispatch center.

"The scheduling application helps our technicians manage their days and feel connected to headquarters," says Cohen. The wireless solution enables Benco Dental's field technicians to take advantage of the integrated camera, also. "Some of our technicians use the camera to capture the details of a particularly tricky repair and compare images and notes with their colleagues," says Cohen.