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SITUATIONAmbient Edge operates the largest fleet of HVAC technicians in Kingman and Bullhead City, Ariz., and Laughlin, Nev. The company sought to improve productivity and operational efficiency via updated business processes.
CHALLENGEAmbient Edge needed to automate what had been manual processes for dispatching jobs, capturing time sheet information, and tracking mobile worker activities. Until recently, new jobs were dispatched via phone call to technicians, who called back when the job was done to get their next assignment. Technicians also used paper time sheets to record shift start and end times. If a technician “rounded up” his time for the day, or forgot to record his hours at all, payroll and job-costing data would be affected. Ambient Edge knew the manual dispatch and time sheet processes were impacting the amount of time technicians had available to service customers. The company estimated its “opportunity cost” to be around eight billable hours per day.
SOLUTIONAmbient Edge now uses mobile workforce management software from Xora integrated with service management software from ESC Software. The combined solution automates the process by which new jobs are assigned to technicians, while providing a tamperproof system for collecting time sheet and job-status data.
ESC software tracks all the company’s outstanding jobs. Jobs are dispatched via text message to technician cell phones running the Xora GPS TimeTrack application. As technicians complete each job, they close the service ticket from within the GPS TimeTrack solution on their phone, and the next job is dispatched.
Technicians also use GPS TimeTrack to record when they begin and end each shift, take breaks, and when they are traveling to a customer site. This data is available in real-time on the dispatcher’s desktop ESC application. An icon of a truck appears next to the job information when a technician has indicated he is en route to a customer, and an icon of a wrench shows up when the technician has noted in GPS TimeTrack that he has arrived. GPS chips in the phones enable management to verify technician locations, improving confidence that time sheet and job-cost data is accurate.
RESULTSSince deploying the Xora/ESC solution, Ambient Edge has regained the eight billable hours per day that was being lost due to manual dispatch and job management processes. Since each hour of billable work brings Ambient Edge $200 in revenue, the company has increased total revenue by $1,600 per day and approximately $384,000 in a year. In addition, Ambient Edge has not had to hire a second dispatcher to track and manage field staff, saving the company approximately $30,000 annually.
HIGHLIGHTS• The solution integrated GPS TimeTrack with the ESC service management application.
• It automated the dispatch and time sheet/job data collection processes.
• It increased billable hours available by eliminating manual processes.
QUOTE“Running a successful contracting business requires that we spend as much time as possible delivering services for which we can bill the customer,” said Steve Lewis, owner of Ambient Edge. “GPS TimeTrack and ESC have enabled us to update processes that had been impeding our ability to spend the maximum amount of time on billable work. The result has been an increase in revenue of nearly $400,000 in the last year. We would not be able to run the business as efficiently or effectively without these solutions.”
Publication date: 04/07/2008