AEMT - Association of Electrical and Mechanical Trades

26 October 2021
Benefit from the triangle of service
The relationship between client and repairer can be a fragile existence. Years of good service can be quickly undone by one technical issue or poor communication. Steve Ashman of EMiR Software, a leading developer of business systems for the electro-mechanical market, explains how the triangle of service helps to support positive client repairer relationships and deliver benefits to both parties.

The triangle of service consists of three key elements used by repair companies to control the repair process and maintain the client relationship. With an efficient and effective approach to all three both repair businesses and their clients can benefit.

ASSET MANAGEMENT

Repair companies must have clear oversight of all the assets they support for their customers, something that can be a challenge, particularly as asset registers evolve.

The uptime and reliability of assets is the customers focus. In a traditional relationship, the way a service centre reacts to the demand of downtime, the commitment that they show and speed of response are all factors at the heart of great service.

To achieve critical mass and suitable profitability, assets will need to be maintained in abundance. As repair centres grow, so does the administrative burden. Multiple assets across multiple sites and multiple customers means that a robust database is a minimum requirement.

As industry moves towards innovative systems, designed to predict equipment inefficiency and failure, stored historical data will also have even more relevance.

But what happens if you don’t record asset information in a timely fashion?

The slow movement of information around a business can have surprising effects on business efficiency. It is reported that the production of inaccurate invoices, due to missing or incorrect information, is the root cause of disputed and late payments.

In addition, simply holding data is not enough, that data needs to be available to customers.

As digitalisation and Industry 4.0 gather momentum, the way repair businesses interact with their customers is changing. Analytical forecasting is playing an increasing role in the value repair businesses can deliver to their clients. However, moving away from reactive repair to a more proactive assessment of possible failure, will only be achievable if historical data and real-time sensor-based data is made available.

Therefore, holding and making available accurate and timely information about a client’s assets gives the repair business the ability to build on existing services and improve the service relationship.

SCHEDULING

It is not uncommon for an operations team to develop its own solutions to managing and executing the daily workload. The use of the whiteboard is just one solution that is in use in many service centres for making the list of work visible to the operations team. But it does not always follow that the job schedule is visible to everyone that needs it.

Handling contracts and scheduling visits are core activities in a service relationship. If everyone – internal admin, engineers, managers, and customers – can see the status of every repair job, this can bring benefits to both sides of the client repairer relationship.

Decisions that can be made instantly from up-to-the-minute information save time and improve service. A repair business’s customers and stakeholders welcome a live view of the planning schedule, as it helps to eliminate uncertainty.

Situations change endlessly. In repair projects this can range from the nature of a fault to the delivery of spare parts and the availability of engineers; the whole cycle assets is the customers focus. is in perpetual motion. The way a business reacts, adopts a change, and importantly communicates with the relevant stakeholders, is important. Although many changes are caused by legitimate reasons, late communication of the facts and expected outcomes can bring about a poor perception of service levels.

Because of all these factors, a scheduling solution should be a single, integrated entity, which doesn’t rely on any additional spreadsheets or whiteboards.

ACCESS TO INFORMATION

A connected world requires all members of a team to know what is going on, and importantly what to do next.

A service and repair business is not confined to work in a single location and neither is the information that it needs. Each stage of working with the client generates important information that is critical in the process.

A site engineer needs to be led by customer instruction and the scheduling team. Details of a job need to be issued to the engineer, who in turn, needs to record all aspects of the work and in today’s climate ensure legislative requirements are met.

If a repair business charges its clients on a pay-as-you-go basis, the emphasis has to be on supplying its accounts team with information to invoice as soon as possible, with accurate appraisals of the work completed. Even if the work is done under contracted terms, an accurate and reliable record should be stored and reported to the client.

Many critical call outs are raised out of normal working hours. These incidents require the same amount of documentation and compliance, but this needs to be initiated by the engineer. A process is needed to ensure these visits are captured fully with critical information recorded.

Companies that rely on paperwork and the manual movement of information, invite the possibility of inaccuracy and delays from a neverending and expanding collection of forms and reports. In the main, these reports are designed to meet legislation, maintain standards and hold a permanent copy of the work carried out. But if any of the paperwork is misplaced there can be serious ramifications.

Now that smartphones are part of our everyday lives, they are the ideal tool to help deal with the accurate and timely storage and access of information for the service centre and its customers. Paper trays, missing signatures and late amendments can finally become a thing of the past.

CONCLUSION

A service centre can improve its performance, and the service its customers receive if it focuses on three things. These are the quality and functionality of its asset register, the ability to see live scheduling information, and the use of the latest smartphone technology to capture data as it happens.

Modern software offerings such as EMiR, offer an answer to all of these challenges. They can offer connected communication and integrated processing to ensure that the repairer is able to operate efficiently and effectively and deliver an enhanced service to its customers.

www.emirsoftware.com

No. 1 The Chambers, Bowden Business Village, Harborough Road, Market Harborough, LE16 7SA
+44 (0)84500 94588
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