Teraoka Seiko Is A World-Leader In Customer Service
Founded in 1934 and headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Teraoka Seiko is a manufacturer of point-of-sale devices, weighing scales, and wrapping equipment, focusing on the supermarket industry. Teraoka Seiko markets under the DIGI brand, which has always been synonymous with quality and is considered a world-leader in weighing technology.
It has taken more than just a remarkable product to grow Teraoka Seiko into a $438 million organization. With over 50 years in the business of manufacturing electronic scales, Teraoka Seiko's corporate culture has always included a special emphasis on customer service and support, resulting in thousands of satisfied customers around the world, in both the retail and industrial sectors. "We are an organization that prides itself on developing quality products and providing exceptional customer support," says Kazuharu Teraoka, the company's president.
Teraoka Seiko's service organization is substantial, with over 200 field engineers in 40 centers throughout Japan, servicing 80,000 pieces of equipment. In addition, outside Japan, the company works with more than 50 third-party distributors that sell and service Teraoka Seiko's products around the world.
To manage such a diverse community of field engineers efficiently is a significant challenge, requiring significant resources. In 1998, the executives at Teraoka Seiko realized that the volume of service activity was exceeding the capabilities of their in-house solution. "We needed a system that would be robust enough to manage our community of field engineers as well as the field engineers of our global network of distributors and vendors," explains Kazuharu Teraoka. "The system would also have to support our service business, and increase service revenues and productivity."
Reviewing their requirements, it became clear that the new workforce management solution must enable Teraoka Seiko to:
- Achieve measurable increases in customer satisfaction
- Provide individualized, dynamic management reports using real-time service metrics from the field
- Resolve more service requests without requiring a site visit
- Reduce the manual intervention required at the central warehouse
- Improve stock turnover and reduce inventory levels at the central warehouse and in the field
"ViryaNet clearly demonstrated the ability to help us achieve our business objectives," confirms Kazuharu Teraoka. "They quickly became the vendor of choice."
Teraoka Seiko recognized that the exceptional breadth of ViryaNet's service management capabilities would guarantee the realization of its business goals. The strategy included implementing ViryaNet workforce management, service contract, supply chain, and depot repair solution in all forty of the company's branches in Japan. At the same time, Teraoka Seiko also established regional service call centers.
Service Hub integrates with the call centers, achieving substantial savings by avoiding unnecessary site visits. The call centers are staffed by experienced engineers, who are trained to analyze and fix customer problems over the phone. Service Hub tracks the serial numbers of all Teraoka Seiko's equipment, enabling the call center engineers to gather the information they need easily - such as details of the service contract and customer history - to provide phone-fixes and minimize the number of on-site visits.
At the Teraoka Seiko central warehouse, ViryaNet Service Hub has automated the spare parts request and dispatch processes, effectively reducing the manual intervention required to manage such requests. Kazuharu Teraoka is delighted with the new efficiency. "We receive an average of over 500 part requests each day, from Teraoka Seiko's branch offices and a number of domestic and overseas distributors. Thanks to Service Hub, it takes only five warehouse employees to manage this volume of daily requests!"
In the past, Teraoka Seiko managed service contracts locally at each of their 40 service centers. Now, following the implementation of Service Hub, all contracts are managed centrally at the company's headquarters. This ensures accurate and consistent contract details, allows for the identification of the correct contract, and ensures accurate calculation of customer entitlement for each service call. This alone has increased customer retention by facilitating outreach prior to contract renewals.
"With ViryaNet Service Hub, we have the requisite solutions to unite our vast number of field service personnel on the Internet and position Teraoka Seiko's service business as a profitable entity," explains Kazuharu Teraoka. "Service Hub will enable us to capitalize on the efficiencies offered by the Internet - and position our company as the world leader."
Taking a broader view of the improvements to their business, Kazuharu Teraoka notes that, "Integration is an essential element in the successful implementation of Teraoka Seiko's complete workforce management solution, and Service Hub enables us to draw all the elements together." Shipment data from the BaaN sales application is transferred to Service Hub's contract records and installed base configurations, while stock quantities and invoicing information is transferred from Service Hub to the BaaN accounting system. At the central warehouse, part request information from branch offices, and domestic and overseas distributors, is passed from Service Hub to the shelf control system to initiate the automatic picking and dispatch process. On completion, confirmation is fed back to Service Hub, which manages the on-going status of the requests. Teraoka Seiko also integrates between Service Hub and LotusNotes, to facilitate management reporting and analysis.
"By using Service Hub to enhance the efficiency of our service business and bring together all of the constituents in the service community, we have increased customer satisfaction and gained the ability to maintain our leading edge over competing manufacturers," summarizes Kazuharu Teraoka. It is their commitment to excellence and to embracing new technology that will allow Teraoka Seiko to remain an industry leader for the next 50 years.