OK, let me address your first concern. What’s a nice “Irish” boy like me writing about St. Patty’s Day? That is a good question…next. I have actually visited and vacationed in Ireland, and I really hold the Emerald Isle near and dear to me as my wife and kids do have that blood line. However, today’s topic has more to do with saving money, time, and effort instead of St. Patrick, snakes, shamrocks, and beer.
People are still struggling with paperwork—hard copies, something you can get your hands on, written proof…. At home or in your office, it is so easy to print something out and shove into a pile on a desk where it will reappear 3 months after you have given up all hope of ever finding it when you really needed it. Many older computer systems are based on reports and printed paper. With the advent of laser printers, we’ve made the skeins of perforated 11 X 14 green-bar dot-matrix blocks of mostly useless information less of an eye-sore in offices across the world.
I am currently working on a project with one of our valued business partners, MobileFrame, that will eliminate paper in several areas for the client. Number one, work orders are generated from an antiquated system. Every day, work orders are printed and distributed to the maintenance technicians. The technicians take the orders, perform maintenance on the equipment, attach additional paperwork to each job, and write information on a form. If a manual is needed, the technician will spend time finding the manual and take it with him. At the end of a shift, the paperwork is handed into the office. A clerk enters the information into another computer system and files the paperwork for future reference. If the paperwork has to be retrieved, it is a manual process to find the right location, file folder, and name. Repeat these processes hundreds of times per day, and it can get messy pretty fast.
What are the problems? Speed—or lack thereof, transcription errors, storage space, retrieval questions, etc. Are all the fields filled in? Is the proper information in the fields? Is that a 4, a 9, or a P? Is the paperwork complete? When was the last time this equipment was maintained, and what was performed? Can you find the file for the “Jones” job from May 15th?
As a corollary, how much are you spending on supplies—paper, ink, toner, ribbons, etc.? How much time is spent for someone to enter the data, verify/validate the data, and/or retrieve the data? Time is money, and wasted time is wasted money.
Our project takes the current workflow and streamlines it. The work orders are electronically retrieved, and the technicians are scheduled and dispatched.
MobileFrame has a unique approach which mirrors the current paperwork that the technician is used to onto a rugged tablet. Thus, the training and implementation times are significantly decreased. The application walks the workers through the steps and requires certain data entry points. It validates the field data and allows for viewing manuals, maps, and histories: all critical to an efficient workflow.
Management has the capability to view or schedule the jobs. Worker statistics and other information that are vital to deploying the right resources when needed are also available. If necessary, reports can be printed; however, all of the information is presented in a user-friendly environmentally-friendly manner. So why would you want to print when you can order the information, filter the information, retrieve the information, and save the information at your fingertips, fast and accurately?
MobileFrame was the best fit for this project as their vast experience in this arena and with the particular nuances of data connectivity issues made them the clear choice to present a viable solution to the customer. The scalability of the system makes it ideal for the immediate need to eliminate paperwork now and to grow to interact with new computer systems on the horizon. We have future-proofed the project as this will result in saving money, yes, saving some “Green”. Sorry about that!
So, when you really need to be more efficient, more accurate, and future-proof your investments in equipment and in people, think about L-Tron and partners such as MobileFrame. You’ll think you’ve found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.