12 February 2008
Teams respond to customers faster thanks to digital forms
ABB service engineers can devote more time to working for customers and less time chasing paperwork, thanks to digital pen and paper (DP&P) technology from Destiny.
Completed service forms can now be sent from the field to the office in just two minutes, allowing ABB to respond more quickly to the needs of its customers.
“Our main objective was to improve the speed with which we get field reports disseminated,” says Neil Ritchie, manager of ABB’s Instrumentation & Drives Product Service. “This has been received very positively by customers who get the service details, recommendations and cost information quicker.”
ABB service personnel work for clients on a wide variety of sites, many of which are tough industrial environments that are unsuitable for laptops or PDAs. The DP&P technology is sufficiently robust to use almost anywhere that a traditional pen and paper can go. It also enables the engineers to incorporate the new technology into their existing working practices.
“Engineers already complete a paper field report which is signed off by the customer. We needed to retain the ability for signature and be able to leave a copy with the customer at the time of completion as this was effectively our proof of delivery note,” says Ritchie. “The digital pen links to our existing mobile phone system, via Bluetooth and sends a facsimile and electronic HTML version of the report to our office within seconds of job completion. The technology has slotted perfectly into our existing operation, rather than needing our processes to be redesigned.”
The technology uses a pen that records exactly what the engineer writes using a built-in camera and digital memory. Standard service forms are overlaid with a nearly invisible pattern of dots, which act like map references and show the pen exactly where on the form it is writing. Once the form is complete, the engineer simply ticks the box at the bottom to send the information to their mobile phone and from there back to the office. The hard copy can be left on site for the customer.
“The more we use this technology the more we find new benefits,” says Ritchie. “As well as fast dissemination and access to information we have improved our filing storage of reports. We have been able to resolve customer queries faster and reduced our debtor days dramatically and also we have improved our stock management with faster restocking of used spares.”
Following the success with digital service reports, ABB plans to introduce other digital forms in the future, such as workplace inspection forms, risk assessments and so on. “The introduction of the technology has been easy and cost efficient. Now the technology is in use, all we need to do is simply introduce a digitised version of the appropriate forms,” says Ritchie.
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