Ficep, the supplier of structural steel and plate fabrication equipment, has deployed the latest mobile technology as part of a real-time management system that has transformed customer service.
Supplied by Leeds-based BigChange, the cloud-based mobile resource management system sees Ficep field services engineers equipped with tablets that synchronise in real time with central systems as part of a completely paperless system.
First established in Italy in 1930 and celebrating 20 years in the UK this year, Ficep manufactures machine tools for the metalworking industry. The construction industry worldwide relies on steel work made to measure and fit using Ficep’s equipment. With UK headquarters at Europort Wakefield in West Yorkshire, Ficep has a team of engineers installing and maintaining machinery across the UK and Scandinavia.
“Our steel fabricating machinery plays a key part in preparing steel for construction and keeping the equipment in optimum working condition with minimal downtime is crucial. We have been improving our engineering support services to support an increasing number of installations and the introduction of BigChange has completely transformed our customer service,” says Richard Clark. UK Service Manager, Ficep UK Ltd.
Previously Ficep engineers filled out paper services sheets and other forms by hand which were then sent to the office for processing and actioning, such as the ordering of parts, the production of quotes and issuing of invoices.
“It used to take 2 or 3 weeks to get a quote out to a customer; now we achieve that within 24 hours. It’s the same for invoices and with electronic sign offs from customers onsite we can invoice almost immediately. As a result there has been a much better and quicker conversion rate of quote to order and queries on invoices have virtually disappeared,” Clark explains.
BigChange gives Ficep customer service teams and management up to the minute visibility of every service job. Engineer movements are continually tracked and displayed on maps and this will allow automatic estimated time of arrival notifications to be sent to customers so they know exactly when an engineer is about to arrive.
Ficep’s engineers receive their jobs on their tablets which provide navigation to site and allow access to all documentation, with workflows ensuring proper procedures are followed and information reported from site. The devices are used to take photographs which are, together with time and GPS location, matched to service sheets for the job. This provides an accurate and indisputable record of work done.
“The tablets have really revolutionised the way we work giving engineers instant access to the information they need,” says Clark. “We now have service sheets customised for each machine that identifies the correct parts and even gives the engineer a complete history of previous service work and parts used. It really helps them do a good job every time and helps ensure machine downtime is minimised. Customers have been markedly impressed with the system and the information it provides.”
As well as the benefits to the field engineering services, Ficep has reported significant time savings back at the office. “By eliminating paperwork we are saving about 20 hours a week in administration time and as managers we spend much less time sorting out customer and service issues as we have all the information we need at our fingertips 24/7; no longer do we need to track back into paper records or call an engineer to ask about a job,” says Clark.