Mobile Field Service App Pumps Up Efficiency

By Bobby Culbertson

Field service is an ideal business function for enterprise mobile applications. Technicians need critical service information and customer data at their fingertips, no matter where or when, so they can solve customer issues fast.

However, building an effective mobile field service application can be a challenge. In order for a mobile field service app to be effective, it must have an attractive front-end and connect processes across an organization’s core backend systems, including CRM, ERP and related systems.

At Superior Industries, we made a decision in September of 2013 to improve our customer service by implementing an end-to-end field service mobile application for our Westmor Industries Division, North America’s largest fueling equipment and services provider. We wanted to optimize our service delivery, improve profitability and boost customer satisfaction by mobilizing and automating processes and eliminating unnecessary and redundant tasks.  

We needed a solution that would help us achieve timely and efficient dispatches of technicians covering a large geographic area, including Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and South and North Dakota. Being a highly regulated industry, we also needed a solution that would enable us to maintain an accurate record of products implemented at each site—one that would support timely billing for products and services.

As Salesforce users, we found the field service management app by Salesforce partner ServiceMax to provide the front-end features and connectivity to Salesforce that we wanted. But we still needed a solution to integrate and automate processes, including work orders, sales orders, parts inventory, and billing between Salesforce and our Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne ERP system.

We had to eliminate the manual data entry needed to keep both systems up to date. When all the supporting processes were fully integrated, our data would be more reliable, enabling technicians to be more suitably scheduled, based on skills, locations and service-level agreements. In addition, technicians would arrive with all the necessary equipment for faster problem resolution, and billing could be performed more quickly and efficiently.

We considered the possibility of tackling the integration on our own, but we knew that with all the integration points and the complexity of ERP interfaces and transformation, we couldn’t complete the project within the timeframe required. So we looked for a solution that would enable us to integrate Salesforce and EnterpriseOne as quickly and easily as possible.

Easy to Understand and Maintain

Eventually, we determined that Magic Software Enterprises’ metadata-based Magic xpi Integration Platform (with prebuilt and certified adapters for Salesforce and EnterpriseOne) fit the bill. Magic’s visual data mapper automatically exposes EnterpriseOne business functions, and its drag-and-drop interface makes it easy for developers to understand, implement and troubleshoot. It also makes it easy to maintain.

We started to work on the Work Order and Sales Order integrations in September and were finished by mid-December. This included using Magic Software’s integration solution to automate business processes across our Salesforce and EnterpriseOne systems.

Now, when a problem is logged using Salesforce, a work order is automatically sent to a technician using ServiceMax, and the work order is simultaneously generated in EnterpriseOne. When technicians complete time cards or order replacement parts, both systems are automatically updated. The system is also used to monitor labor costs, which enables us to track our efficiency.

By making it easy to share data and automate processes between systems, Magic enabled us to complete the integration project with our existing resources. Plus, we were up and running ahead of schedule!

After implementing the system, we have found that our dispatchers save on average of 10 hours a week by not having to manually input data. This enables them to focus on what they do best: respond to and schedule field service calls.

As a result of the successful completion of our project, we have achieved a much faster call-to-dispatch rate, and our technicians are able to spend more of their time on revenue-generating activities. The percentage of billable hours per technician has gone up from approximately the 35 to 40 percent we achieve in the past to 60 to 65+ percent today.  

Based on the success of the initial implementation, we are planning to add another region to the system and to use the solution for another division of the company that manages technicians who work on the pipeline. We expect these projects to be completed even quicker now that we have the base established and have more experience with the system.

We are very pleased with how Magic has accelerated the systems integration process and foresee many other opportunities for using it in the future.

 Bobby Culbertson is a software developer at the Westmor Industries Division of Superior Industries.