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Rwt1 Business Research Report

In: Business and Management

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Business Research Report
Mobile Devices for Field Service

Assessment Code: RWT1

Table of Contents
Executive Summary 3
Introduction 4
Research Findings 4
Recommendations 7
Conclusion 7
References 8

Executive Summary

The purpose of this report is to investigate the possibilities of using mobile technologies for the company’s field service personnel and how this would affect the business in three main areas. In particular we want to investigate the use of mobile tablets to improve the efficiency of the field service call. Can our existing process be improved upon? We want to investigate the use of mobile tablets to improve the accuracy and effectiveness of each repair. Because sometimes a field technician may be required to make multiple trips to a customer location to finish a repair we want to see if these multiple trips can be minimized. Finally, we want to investigate how, if adopted, the use of mobile tablets will facilitate the lowering of day to day operational expenses. The following report outlines those findings.

Introduction As partner in the Home and Office Computer repair business that utilizes after-sales support contracts from major PC vendors I have been tasked with investigating the use of mobile technologies for field service. Specifically the use of mobile technology with tablet pc’s that the firm can take advantage of and how this technology would best serve the technician in the field. It is expected that tablet pc mobile technology will improve the field service in three primary areas.
First, we are looking to improve efficiency and lower the mean time to repair. This means that the company would like to get to the repair job quicker, make the repair in a timelier manner and therefore be able to schedule more repairs during the work day. How can we use mobile technology to do this?
Second, how can the mobile technology actually improve accuracy and reliability in field repairs at the home or office? Because, computers and their peripherals can be extremely complicated the company wants to give the technician the tools possible to correctly make repairs on the first trip thereby reducing second and third trips caused by technician error. How can mobile tablet technology help with this issue?
And lastly, how can mobile technology help save money through lower support costs? Can inventory and personnel be better managed? Will the use of tablets in the field be beneficial to the bottom line?
Research Findings
From extensive research, using a variety of relevant and credible resources, there are three issues that should be considered:
1) The use of mobile tablets to improve the efficiency of the field service call
2) The use of mobile tablets to improve the accuracy and effectiveness of each repair
3) The use of mobile tablets to lower the cost of operational expenses

Efficiency of the field service repair call
The importance of field service and the efficiency in limiting downtime is of utmost importance. That would be defined as the time between the requests was made for a service call and the successful completion of that service (Leveraging technology to improve field service, 2002). Major retailer service providers have had much success with providing their field service personnel with mobile devices (Telecommunications, 2007). Technicians can use their mobile device to access the latest schedule of repairs. They can log their hours as they are making trip to the home or office of a client. Mobile computing along with mobile printing devices can cut the time required to fill out invoices, receipts, or work orders. The use of the mobile devices built-in global positioning system (GPS) can also greatly increase the efficiency of each service call. Tracking of the service personnel can be achieved. The field service technician will know that they are being watched and monitored and that will help keep them on the job all the time. Since GPS uses maps and direction providers, the technician will know exactly how to locate a customer location. There will be no excuse of taking extra time to search for a location or taking the wrong route. GPS will tell technicians the optimum route and with voice alert features, there is no possibility of making a routing mistake. With current GPS technology, technicians can be alerted to any diversions or traffic issues with the route, which again adds to the efficiency. The most important benefit is that when shorter routes are utilized it not only improves efficiency of service but also saves on costs (ZSL Inc., GPS Vehicle Tracking 2012). Analysis: The competiveness of the field service repair business requires that efficiency in the service call is of the utmost importance. Without mobile technology that efficiency cannot be achieved. The current mobile technologies will give the company an advantage in this area,

Improve the accuracy and effectiveness of each repair
Because of the inherent complexity of computer and computer peripheral repair we want to give the technician the means to make the repairs on the first trip thereby reducing second and third trips caused by technician error or lack of proper information that could be found in a service manual. By using a mobile tablet, the technician can have at his fingertips the necessary information to make the right decision when making a repair. This would include things like ordering the correct part if necessary or verify proper measurements such as voltages or signals. Spare parts inventories should always be up to date. And if the part is not available at the local inventory than cross checks to other inventories can be made.
Not only will the information be accurate but also easily and quickly accessible.
A lack of information can result in longer service times and possibly a second service visit — which can translate into longer periods of downtime for customers (Motorola, 2007). With mobilization, the problem is dealt with immediately and while you’re in the middle of it. No more need for excessive return trips if the problem is fixed right the first time. Field service technicians become more efficient because they have instant access to information and can update records from the field. If they need to update and upload some data, maybe to obtain accurate part numbers or other technical information they can enter that information on their mobile devices. They don’t have to report back to the service desk at the main office to recall and record new updates.
The field service technicians can simply request any additional pertinent info needed for the repair from the office or can just link to it from their mobile devices. They don’t need to wait to do such tasks until they return to office.
Wireless connectivity allows continuous data synchronization (Process Engineering, 2009). As long as the wireless network is available via public or private Wi-Fi or a carrier’s 3G/4G network the technician will have up to the minute access to the most accurate technical details.
Tablets such as the iPad 2 come with front- and rear- facing cameras which, with the help of an app, make barcode scanning possible in the field (thesmartvan, 2011). This could be of potential benefit when attempting to describe a particular problem for technical support escalation.
Analysis: Customer satisfaction is a number one priority. Getting a job done right the first time with only one visit will achieve this. Mobile technology utilizing tablets will provide the mechanism to a timely and accurate repair.

Lower the cost of operational expenses
By increasing the productivity of the field service technician this will in turn enable the field technician to make more repairs in a day. As the rate of repairs per day increases so will the ability for the company to absorb more service contracts. The increased level of customer satisfaction due to the increased efficiency and accuracy of our service technicians will also lead to more service contracts. With these new contracts and the ability to arrive at a site with a quicker response time can also lead to the emphasis on premium contracts whereas the customer will pay a premium price for higher grade service-level agreements with minimal response time requirements for example.
The company will lower costs with mobile technology by better utilizing the field technician (SAP, 2011). Utilizing the GPS functions, field service technicians can view the current day’s service calls on a map. With access to all needed information, the field technician can efficiently and effectively plan their day and fix issues immediately on the spot. That will minimizes the number of required field service visits, leading to lower service costs.
The more frequent the new mobile devices are used the more easily the return on investment is realized. As the new devices are used, work orders can be closed out in the field. The field technician can record labor time, materials, and expenses upon each job completion. The billing process and cycle can begin even before technician returns to the home office (Oracle, 2012)
Analysis: Efficiency, accuracy and customer satisfaction are all lofty goals. But while achieving those goals the company wants to increase market share while limiting costs and gaining profit. After the initial investment of capital for the new hardware as well and any software costs, the return on the investment should be realized shortly with increased service contract sales and lower operational costs.

Recommendations Recommendation 1: Adopt the strategy to incorporate mobile technology into the company’s field service business. The current process of utilizing paper tickets invoices and receipts is outdated and in efficient. The current support system for parts ordering and technical support is slow, inaccurate and antiquated. Mobile technology positions the company to be much more competitive in this competitive field.
Recommendation 2: Utilize tablets with mobile capability as the device of choice for the field service technicians. These devices have all the capabilities including Wi-Fi or 3g/4g support for wireless connectivity, GPS for tracking and directions, large screens for the ability to view technical documentation, cameras for additional technical support, and the ability to run software for web-browsing and connectivity to the home office data base.
Recommendation 3: Lastly, hire a consultant on a short-term basis to integrate the company database with the new mobile devices. This may require upgrades to the existing software to make it mobile compatible as well as install pertinent software on the mobile devices so that the integration is seamless. In addition, the consultant will provide user training at both the mobile and database levels.


The objective of this study was to explore the possibilities of introducing mobile tablet technology into the company’s computer field service repair business. We explored how the use of mobile technology can be utilized to help the business in three areas. First, that mobile technology utilizing tablet devices can improve the efficiency of the technician in the field. Second, that the use of mobile technologies can improve the accuracy and effectiveness of the repair at a customer site. And lastly, we looked at how the use of this technology in the field can ultimately lead to lower operational costs.
This report recommends that the company adopt mobile technology for use in the field as well as purchase the necessary tablet hardware for each field technician and also provide funding for the use of a short-term consultant to kick-off the migration for the mobile strategy. The end-results will be extremely beneficial to the company’s long term competitiveness in the field service industry. References

ZSL, Inc., GPS Vehicle Tracking (2012)
Retrieved from

Agnihothri, S. (n.d). Leveraging technology to improve field service. vol. 13, no. 1 (2002), p. 47-68
Vascellaro J. Telecommunications; What's a Cellphone For? Businesses are finding all sorts of new uses for mobile devices. [serial online]. n.d.;(Mar 26, 2007), p. R.5
Motorola, Transforming field service operations: Drive costs down and service levels up with mobility (2007)
Retrieved from

WIRELESS: Empowering mobile workers
Anonymous. Process Engineering (Nov/Dec 2009): 42.
Sara Suddes March 4, 2011

SAP. Empower Field Service Engineers to Achieve Service Excellence. 2011.
Retrieved from

Oracle. Mobile Field Service. 2012.
Retrieved from…...

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