With 13 installation and 36 sales branches around the UK, and a 600-employee factory manufacturing over 6,000 doors and windows each week, Bradford-headquartered Safestyle is one of the country’s leading businesses in the replacement door and window market.
But by late 2013, the company recognised that it needed to update its aftersales customer service capabilities, which had become spread over three distinct systems, giving rise to inefficiencies and data duplication.
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?
Why Eagle Field Service?
Consequently, in early 2014, Safestyle began surveying the marketplace for field service management systems, and subsequently invited a number of suppliers to submit quotations for supplying a replacement system.
The clear winner: Exel Computer Systems’ Eagle Field Service solution.
“From a functional and ease-of-use perspective, it offered all the functionality that we were looking for,” recalls Nick, “in addition, although this hadn’t been a formal requirement, we could see that we might, in future, want to be able to use elements of Exel’s EFACS E/8 ERP system. So for a variety of reasons, going with Exel and Eagle Field Service made good sense.”
This is due to the fact that Eagle Field Service is an element of the EFACS E/8 ERP solution, utilising the functionality and modules required, such as Document Management and Workflow.
Should a client require the manufacturing functionality, licences are bought, the modules implemented and the staff trained.
Implementation began in early 2015, with a goal of commencing a phased rollout by the third quarter of the year.
Customer service is important to us... it was better to be right, than rushed.”
“Customer service is important to us,” he stresses, “it was better to be right, than rushed.”
But with testing and training complete, rollout began as planned, and was completed within a few weeks.
The move to Eagle Field Service, relates Nick, has delivered a number of very distinct benefits. The user experience—both for headquarters staff, and service engineers—is far more intuitive, and enables people to work more efficiently.
“There’s no need to tab between different systems,” he explains, “all the information that people want is in one place.”
What’s more, in the case of Safestyle’s service engineers, that ‘one place’ is a simple and easy-to-use tablet interface—an interface that also provides real-time updates back to Safestyle’s headquarters, as jobs are completed.
The scheduling of service engineers isn’t just easier than before, it’s also more powerful
Roll it all together, and the combined effect of a reduction in paperwork, the elimination of duplication and data entry, and better engineer scheduling, has enabled a significant improvement in engineer utilisation, notes Nick.
Finally, the move to Eagle Field Service has delivered better reporting—reporting not just of metrics such as customer service levels and engineer efficiencies, but also the detailed reporting of faults and maintenance issues.
“By providing data on the underlying reasons for service calls, Eagle Field Service has given us an enhanced ability to perform root cause analysis, giving us much better visibility into particular parts that are subject to early failure, so that we can address this during design and manufacture.” concludes Nick.
“This has always been an objective—and now we have achieved it.”
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