CASE STUDY: ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR
Stiegler optimizes field service utilization with an innovative data capture, service
& workflow management solution. Delivering improved responsiveness & efficiency.
Stiegler was originally founded, owned and operated by only two people - John and Evalene Stiegler. But in the past couple of years Stiegler has grown and so did their customer base. The company realized that it needed to improve it’s way of doing business to be able to offer their customers the best possible service in the fastest manner of time by streamlining their operations and increasing efficiency.
THE BUSINESS CHALLENGE
When Stiegler provided on-site services, technicians needed to write down all service-related information on pre-printed paper forms. Technicians did not like to write down the job notes and material lists. As a result, job notes and material lists were not properly delivered. It was sometimes difficult to read the handwriting, as the lists often contained errors, or slang terms and brand names. Information during field service was sometimes even lost or never captured.
The accountants and payroll experts in the back office had to look up the full item names and enter them manually, or sometimes call the field worker and ask for additional information, or explanations, which took around half of their day. This also meant that parts of information were entered twice, or three times - once in the field, secondly by the administrative personal while filling out the the job information into the internal system and the third time over phone in case misunderstandings needed to be cleared up.
Every time Stiegler was charging a customer for the provided services, the back office team had to wait until their colleagues returned to the office to collect all pending job information. This led to piling up of pending invoices or even increased the chances of invoices being erroneous due to delayed data entry or job information getting lost so no invoice would be sent to the customer.
Also, when customers called the customer support line to ask questions about their bill, the customer-facing personnel had insufficient information to explain what they have been charged for. The billing cycle could last almost a week.
The company started looking for a mobile solution, that would allow to speed up field-related job reporting and billing, while not having to hire new technical and administrative staff to manage the increased workload. They required an efficient technology to improve customer service while keeping operational costs down.
After evaluating different solutions on the market, Stiegler decided to go with Cobra Mobile Forms powered by JetTrac. Compared to other competing solutions, Cobra Mobile Forms seemed to be flexible, user-friendly, practical and advanced enough to meet their needs now, and in the future.
Cobra Mobile Forms can run on a server in an on-premise environment or in the cloud, and can be accessed using IOS and Android* devices in offline mode. The solution offers a line of features, that no other solution on the market offers, like voice to text, dispatching,
customer service history, material descriptions with customer pricing/discounts, e-signature, reviewing, and many more.
“Payroll information is entered with one click of the mouse – no more trying to decipher handwriting and processing paper forms. Also, lost forms have been completely eliminated.”
- Shari Kronschnabel, Controller at The Stiegler Company
The company tested initially Cobra Mobile Forms with 3 lead electricians for a few weeks. The product training took less than 15 minutes. After observing how easy and efficient the new solution is, all 24 technical workers and 7 back office team members including the owner, controller, project coordinator, accounting assistant, purchasing coordinator, automation coordinator and administrative assistant started using the solution on a daily basis.
Technicians out in the field are able to leverage their mobile devices to follow standardized checklists and fill out pre-populated and pre-approved forms, which are the same for all technical workers, to capture important customer data. Finally, all service documentation is standardized, detailed and stored in logically-structured digital folders.
The company was able to improve the onsite customer service due to the use of optimized report handling in mobile devices by service workers. When field workers now come to a customer visit, they have an overview of all the needed information regarding service history, location and customer. The optimized process allowed to minimize the unsuccessful field visit rate, shorten the waiting hours and improved the ability to resolve issues in a more sustainable way.
The new solution allows to calculate job costing based on the spend onsite time and material costs using predefined drop-down lists with customer pricing and optional discounts. By calculating the price with customers, the company significantly lowers customer support calls about what work was performed during the job and what they have been billed for.
By doing all their jobs faster and more efficient, employees can concentrate on delivering more and better services each day. Consequently, they can focus more on the job in hand and deliver an excellent customer service while also servicing more customers.
Even though Stiegler’s sales and productivity have increased, the company did not have to add any administrative staff to invoice customers, process the increased time and material data.
“Within a month we were realizing the substantial ROI. We now have all apprentices and helpers using the new Cobra Mobile Forms powered by JetTrac solution, too. It not only simplifies time and material entry, it helps our apprentices and helpers grow in their career by increased responsibility for their own information.”
- Shari Kronschnabel, Controller at The Stiegler Company
After installing Cobra Mobile, Stiegler achieved the following benefits in their service-related business part:
- Improved service quality
- Reduced unsuccessful field visit rate by about 30%
- Minimized paper and phone usage costs
- Customers call support less often due to onsite service cost calculations and faster invoice delivery
- Better cash-flow
- Faster invoicing translated into getting paid quicker
- Increased productivity
- After implementing the solution, each technician was able to save around 1,5 hours per week on job documentation time. At a billing rate of $75/hour, and by having about 15 employees in these teams, the company was able to invoice $87,750.00 more per annum
- Fast ROI
- The overall savings on Cobra Mobile Forms project resulted in a 9 to 1 return on investments
- Enhanced job satisfaction
- Field and back office employees tasks are made easier to deliver a great customer service
In the past, limited access to project data in the field was a big issue in effective management of service orders. Now all technicians benefit from an improved workflow and smart solution with on- and offline access. If the schedule changes (as it does daily), the field technicians have project information immediately available without the need to return to the office. The back office employees do not have to prepare project information on paper to be picked up in the office by the assigned technician as all information is accessible through their mobile application in real time.
As a result, workers can drive directly from home to their first field job. Job routes can be built by taking the home address of each field worker as a starting point. This not only allows to do more jobs during the day, but also adds flexibility in case of emergencies, such as doing a job first thing in the morning, if needed.
Optimized information readability
Service information, job descriptions and material lists are now entered only once and mostly using the voice-to-text function of Cobra Mobile. The entered information is much more detailed and easier to read than the former handwriting. Technical workers navigate material lists using customized directories based on job type. Proof pictures (for example: before and after images) are inserted automatically into the field reports as part of the job workflow, and allow to describe the provided service in a clearer manner.
Transparent material handling
Technicians indicate if unused materials are returned to truck stock or returned to the supply house on their field sheets – no more investigation on partial rolls of wire or partial cases of lamps. All information is collected automatically.