The core system was a decade-old customer care system, directly fed from Safestyle’s ERP system, which handled maintenance work associated with the ten-year guarantee that Safestyle offers its customers.
In addition, any aftersales maintenance necessitated by customer complaints was handled by a second system. This did not benefit from a data feed from the ERP system, and so required manual data entry.
Finally, a specialist scheduling system handled service engineer scheduling and routing, creating the service engineers’ daily work programmes and vehicle routings.
While each system worked acceptably well when viewed in isolation, a very different picture emerged when they were viewed as a whole. Service engineer visibility required enhancements to go to the next level, management reporting was limited, and opportunities for better scheduling were being missed.
In addition, adds Nick Stokes, Safestyle’s IT Change Manager, the whole process was overly reliant on paper, using printed work schedules against which service engineers would report progress by telephone, requiring headquarters staff to manually update the relevant system.
Clearly, schedules provided on tablet computers, and directly updated by the service engineers themselves, would be far more efficient, as well as providing real-time progress visibility.
Finally, adds Nick, the core legacy system was becoming both difficult and expensive to maintain. “As a business, we’re passionate about customer service, and so retiring these various systems and replacing them with something that was both newer and better would be an obvious step forward,” he recalls.
The only question: replacing them with what, exactly?