Magazine Article | March 26, 2013

Mobile Data Capture Makes SLAs Easier To Meet

Source: Field Technologies Magazine

By Field Technologies magazine

Capita Business Services, owned by The Capita Group Plc and based in the United Kingdom, runs the majority of administration and collection duties of TV licensing for the BBC. Capita worked with global IT service provider CSC to deploy Blackbay’s Service Connect mobile worker software that enhances the service Capita delivers to the BBC.

“Deployment of Service Connect, which runs on Motorola MC70 handheld computers, has let Capita’s field operations staff increase the number of visits completed in a day, which in turn resulted in an increase in license fees being collected. Our operations staff has less paperwork to deal with, which has significantly reduced time spent on administrative tasks,” comments Colin Jones, Capita’s TV licensing field operations director. “Our staff quickly accepted the mobile data capture solution, which has mostly replaced our paperbased systems. Many have said they wouldn’t want to return to the old paper process.”

Capita wanted the mobility solution to deliver real-time visibility of its field operations staff, cut the high level of manual processes they had to carry out, replace the existing paper-based system to help improve staff and manager efficiency, and reduce back office workload and costs. An 80% reduction in the number of calls to the support team to check address/license inquiries has helped to cut back office workload and costs. Previously the call center was handling between 25,000 and 30,000 calls per month; this has decreased to 4,000 to 5,000 calls per month.

“We can now produce reports around visits made and the resulting actions, which have improved our ability to meet our SLAs (service level agreements) with the BBC,” adds Jones.

Handheld-Based Solution Eliminates Paper
“The solution had a positive impact on the cost of the field force. The impact on the environment has also been positive as the reduction in usage of paper has led to us eliminating the use of over one ton of paper per week,” concludes Jones.

Scheduling Automation Improves Job Costing

Centra Windows Inc., a windows manufacturer and installation company, has more than 3/4 of its staff in the field. It realized it needed to replace its manual paper process and knew that mobile technology was key.

Manual paper processes were causing delays in communication, were error-prone, and did not provide an accurate, up-to-the-minute snapshot of the status of jobs. Centra needed a solution that would:

  • utilize mobile forms on smartphones to eliminate manual data entry and improve data accuracy
  • speed up job costing and streamline scheduling
  • improve communication between departments
  • automate existing business processes and workflows without having to modify them.

Previously, paper forms were used to record materials and time, which all had to be verified, and it took months to cost a job. “Before, we waited until the end of the month and then did a whole month’s worth of work,” says Garett Wall, CFO, Centra Windows. “Job costing was taking too long.” Centra decided to use Flowfinity Actions to manage daily workflow and reduce the job-costing cycle “The new system speeds up costing, which allows us to make better decisions for future jobs,” says Wall.

Centra also saw an opportunity to improve scheduling of installation crews. Centra worked with Flowfinity to develop a scheduling system portal that allows the users to interface from the field and update the system and the schedulers or managers in the office to easily communicate with other departments.

The company used Flowfinity Actions to efficiently replace faxes and automate approvals going back and forth to the head office.

With installation, service, job costing, and scheduling managed in Flowfinity Actions, the status of each task and where it sits within each process are transparent. Now as soon as a job is complete, the head office can determine whether it’s been costed or not, and whether it’s been invoiced. “Flowfinity’s real benefit is workflow. The workflow capabilities allowed us to create ‘moving filing cabinets’ to hold people accountable and know what was in process at all times,” says Wall.