Onboard Service Improves Field Service Using Wireless Laptops in Service Trucks

Onboard Service, Inc. is an HVAC and refrigeration service company headquartered in Oregon City, Oregon, servicing commercial accounts in a broad geographical area encompassing both Oregon and Washington. Their 20 field service technicians work from their homes across the two state region, and they rarely visit the home office. Cost effective communication and automation of service order information to and from the field technicians is crucial to the business.

A management team at Onboard headed by Donna Kutch saw the need for an integrated, mobile-enabled system to address their business needs and problems, which included call taking, scheduling, dispatching, delayed billing, unbilled and incorrect materials, tracking field purchase orders, truck inventory and restocking, time collection, service history, and time spent on work orders.

Their first attempt at solving the problem was a mobile service system using PDA phones, which provided limited success. Then Donna began working with KJW Technologies, makers of QuickService and QuickMobile software. Donna worked closely with the development team at KJW to implement a mobile solution to meet her needs. Onboard Service's upgrade and data conversation to the QuickService system went smoothly, with the software team maintaining close contact to ensure technical and business needs were met.

The solution starts with taking a customer phone call in the office and logging a service order, then doing an easy "drag and drop" to an open slot on the multi-day schedule board, which shows the work schedule for each technician. In the field, technicians click a button on their in-truck laptops to receive new work orders. As a technician begins to respond to a work order, the office is automatically notified of events - arrival at job site, work initiated, and work completed.

At the job site, a technician can view all information related to a customer - the current work order, previous service history, equipment and maintenance, and service agreement information. If a part needs to be purchased to complete the job, a purchase order can be initiated from the technician's laptop. And when the job is complete, the technician can enter his labor hours, parts used, and other billing details, collect the customer's signature, and transmit the completed service order back to the office at the click of a button. New work orders are downloaded in the same transmission, and the technician is off to his next job.

Occasionally a technician may get "stuck" on a job that is taking much longer than estimated to complete. With the system, the team can react and quickly reassign service orders that cannot be handled by the original technician, re-directing the service order data to another technician's laptop. As a result, customer service as well as overall technician productivity have been improved.

They have reduced overhead expenses in the office and created new efficiencies in both the office and the field, resulting in a boost to their bottom line. In particular, materials costs have been significantly reduced, owing to the enhanced control over truck inventory and field purchases. With the system, the office can monitor inventory levels and field purchases in real time, helping to eliminate a significant problem in purchasing excess or incorrect parts to complete a job. Cash flow has improved as well, as the time required to generate and mail invoices has been greatly reduced.

Donna and the team at Onboard Service are extremely happy with the new solution. In addition to the efficiencies and cost savings, they are even picking up new business as a result of implementing the new technology. Recently, Onboard Service won a large commercial contract, due in part to the fact that they have the technology to meet the contract stipulations that require immediate billing for work performed - capabilities enabled by their QuickService and QuickMobile software.

For information on QuickService software, visit www.kjwtech.com

Onboard Service, Inc. (Donna Kutch) at 1-503-657-2696

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