Magazine Article | January 1, 2006


Source: Field Technologies Magazine
Integrated Solutions, January 2006

BÖWE BELL + HOWELL provides document processing and mail sorting services to companies around the world. Its field technicians work at customer locations to keep high-volume mail production equipment running smoothly. Having accurate metrics on machine locations and service status is a key factor in both solid business analysis and positive customer image.

The company wanted to wirelessly collect accurate data and improve security, efficiency, revenue, and overall image to customers. Unlike many field service organizations where service calls come in through a call center, most of BÖWE BELL + HOWELL’s service calls don’t originate in the call center. Technicians create and dispatch their own tickets since they already work on-site. This meant the wireless solution the company developed needed to enable the technician to open and close the ticket and to enter the type of machine, the nature of the work completed, the parts used, and billable activities. “Once the service ticket was closed, we needed it to go into a system so that reports on metrics could be pulled on that service activity,” says Don McKennitt, project manager at BÖWE BELL + HOWELL. “Various levels of the business, from financial to product engineering, had to be able to look at these metrics to determine things like break history, response time, utilization, and product performance.”

In 2004, BÖWE BELL + HOWELL began working with several partners, including Research In Motion, developer of the BlackBerry suite of products, and Dativoci, a mobile application provider, to develop a solution. The company ended up developing a custom application to run on BlackBerry wireless devices using Java ME capabilities; the application integrates with BÖWE BELL + HOWELL’s legacy back end Vantive CRM (customer relationship management) solution. The company also deployed the BlackBerry Enterprise Server v4.0, equipped with MDS (mobile data service).

With the help of several key partners, including Research In Motion and Dativoci, BÖWE BELL + HOWELL met a three-month time limit for developing the application. BlackBerry was used to build a data integrity solution that was 1/6 the cost of other options.