Keeping track of the work done by field technicians in 83 vehicles spread across the country is no mean feat, as Andy Patterson, who runs the country's leading automotive SMART repair group, knows only too well. Compound this with the need to fulfil demanding service agreements for diverse car dealerships and then produce customer job reports for a wide range of private and public sector customers, and the admin can be both time-consuming and mind-numbing.
Automotive Group Holdings is the name underpinning a range of brands and companies that cover many sectors of SMART Repair. Its fleet carries out cosmetic repairs for vehicle manufacturers, PLC dealer groups, local dealer groups, car supermarkets, car rentals, de-fleeting centres, local authorities and insurance companies, as well as the private motorist, and its service enables dealers to add considerable value to vehicle sales.
Group MD Andy Patterson needed to simplify and improve his field management processes. "We held all our jobs in Excel. When we took a booking, we'd put the details into texts to notify our technicians, then used Outlook email to get back to the customer, then invoiced in Word, then used Outlook to email the invoice, Ccing our accounts ..."
Effectively, each job meant duplicating information several times across half the Microsoft Office suite and, of equal importance, occupied about 15 minutes of manual administration. So the Group found the introduction of Call2Field, the field service management software from RedZebra Software, quite revolutionary.
"Now we take a booking and the calls go straight into the system. We enter the info just once, adding details as we go, all the way to invoice. We notify our field technicians, log and track the jobs and much more."
Technicians receive job details and file reports on their hand-held devices while at customer locations, entirely within Call2Field, which Patterson says they find easy to use.
"Without a doubt, it's easy and much more efficient," says Patterson. "Multiple users have access to the same information simultaneously, instead of having it locked away in separate documents on separate PCs or Microsoft Exchange. And the administration time per job is down to four or five minutes.
And the cost? "If it had been double the price I would probably have looked further but, as it is, there's no contest."
Summarising the Automotive Group's experience of RedZebra's Call2Field Andy Patterson added this: "We've probably only scratched the surface. I'm sure there's much more reporting we could make use of. But already, as well as the greater efficiency and better reporting, we also have much better control over driver arrival times – so important under our contract arrangements – and it means a better service for our clients. Taking less time to process everything and less time to track technicians mean that providing a same day service is much easier."
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