20 August 2012

The Powermaster Group was established in 1984 as a supplier of industrial air conditioning and cooling products in the UK. The Service business formed in 1986 to provide a comprehensive after sales and maintenance service to optimise equipment operation and ensure customer satisfaction. This includes a 24-hour nationwide repair and maintenance service using field-based engineers.  To reduce the administration and business delays caused by paper-based job reports, Powermaster have deployed a customised version of the PODFather Field Service system on semi-rugged Motorola ES400 PDAs.

The PODFather Field Service solution connects the remote Powermaster engineers with the back office systems in real-time. Service jobs can be created in the office and sent to the engineers immediately, providing instructions to the engineer about the customer site to visit and which chiller units to service when they arrive on site.

The real benefit comes from receiving the job sheets back into the office the same day that the job is complete.

The engineers also have the ability to create jobs on the PDA software as it is often the case the precise unit to be inspected is not known at the point the engineer is called out.

A two-phase project was carried out; with phase one being a trial of the system to prove Powermaster’s highly technical paperwork could be replicated by a PDA system. Phase 2 involved the implementation of an asset tracking database to ensure better records of on-site equipment, and reduce the data entry requirements on the PDA by sending records of previously entered chiller details to the PDA.

Arthur Stewart, Service Director of Powermaster, explains, “Through the PODFather PDA system we get an exact replica of the paperwork our engineers had to complete manually. In terms of time, it’s actually faster for our engineers to input the data on our PDA devices than it is to hand write all the required technical information onto job sheets. Repetitive unit information does not have to be manually entered every time helping improve data accuracy and we no longer have to worry about the legibility of the engineer’s handwriting.

“The real benefit comes from receiving the job sheets back into the office the same day that the job is complete. Previously the engineers posted them back to head office once a week. Each job sheet can be worth anywhere between a hundred to several thousand pounds so this is a huge improvement to our cash flow and it also enables us to analyse our reports and follow up with customers faster.”