Ricoh SA has rolled out Windows-based mobile devices to all of its 120 field engineers, giving engineers and Ricoh SAs service centre greater control, flexibility and improved response capabilities as they are integrated with the call centre, service despatch controllers, and the Siebel-based back-end system.
The system issues jobs, tracks spares availability both with the engineers and in stores, and updates controllers and the website into which customers have a view, says Abdul Arend, who heads up technical services at Ricoh SA. It also removes our sole reliance on service controllers yet, with their vast experience, they remain in control.
Arends engineers and the additional 150 of the indirect channel service around 50000 active units. Ricoh SAs technical services division logs an average of about 6000 calls per month. Service level agreements (SLAs) range from four hours to next-business-day and Arend says the average repair time is between 35 minutes and one hour.
The handhelds make the technical service slicker because engineer skills are stored in a database, along with their stock availability and locations and the system can intelligently route engineers with the right skills, stock, and those in close proximity to customers who have logged calls. Engineers are immediately updated via the mobile devices with any changes to their schedules and there is no issue associated with regular cellphone communications.
Delivery vehicles and drivers interchange parts between engineers when necessary so that stock availability does not hamper a fluid operation.
The devices have extended batteries, cameras for barcode scanning and signature authentication capabilities are currently being developed.
Engineers are now more in control, they have direct communications with our central hub for all the information relevant to their roles and they have more responsibility than before, said Arend. Weve experienced improvement productivity that has led to improved customer satisfaction based on the third-party, monthly audits conducted on our behalf.