Everyone’s Talking About Parts Catalogs…

There’s a topic that keeps coming up at every field service event I attend…

Parts Catalogs.

There’s intense pressure to reduce costs and increase profitability in many service industries. And yet, equipment is becoming more complex and regulations keep changing. That’s why more businesses are looking for better parts catalogs.

Incorrect parts orders are one of the biggest challenges to increasing profits.

According to Aberdeen Group, one in four parts orders (25%) are wrong. The reason? Engineers cannot determine the right part from the information they have.

Imagine if you could eliminate incorrect orders…

Your service costs would reduce. You’d deliver a faster fix. Your customers would be happier.

Most importantly, your business would be more profitable.

That’s why everyone’s talking about parts catalogs.

Many companies struggle with disparate data. Important technical information is often locked up in corporate silos and scattered across several different departments. It’s not unusual for parts lists, exploded diagrams, parts images and price lists for equipment to all resided in separate departments within a single organization.

Even if a company provides parts information for their engineers, there is no guarantee that it will make them more efficient or accurate. Often, engineers struggle to access any information at all because of connectivity issues onsite.

A limited system hinders performance and extends the time it takes to find the answer and information is often missing.

It’s not ideal. It wastes engineers’ time and your money.

So, what does the perfect parts catalog look like?

Four key elements will make a huge difference to your results:

  1. Offline access

Whilst onsite, your engineers might have online access to information via a mobile device. But what if there’s no signal? In this situation, your KPIs will suffer. Offline access is a game-changer.

  1. User-friendly information

Your business will have thousands of pages of parts information: technical documents, parts lists, exploded diagrams, and more. It’s one thing to collate it on a shared drive, it’s another to make it work for you. The perfect catalog needs to give answers – fast. Parts lists must display next to diagrams. Hyperlinks must link to other relevant information. Only then will you accelerate your service.

  1. Integration with field service management

Switching between screens is slow and frustrating. Integrated systems are a reality today, with impressive efficiencies. They reduce errors, they speed operations, they enhance service.

And they increase your profits.

  1. Up-to-date information

Is that part available or out of stock? Has it been recalled? Is it obsolete and, if so, what is the alternative part that’s taken its place? These are all possibilities in a parts ordering scenario.

Data can become outdated as soon as it’s published. It’s a huge challenge for many. Your engineers will stop using your parts catalog if they cannot rely on its accuracy.

The perfect catalog provides up to date answers every time.

Incorrect parts ordering can be overcome. Implementing a solution that offers online/offline, integrated parts catalogs is the ultimate solution to ensuring accurate parts ordering every time. It might not be a quick fix, but it is an important investment in the future of your business.

 

 

Why data-driven field service businesses perform better (and how to be one)

There’s no doubt that the best performing field service businesses are driven by their data.

Aberdeen Group says these organizations are reporting a 7% decrease in operating costs. Just one advantage to data directing your business operations.

But what does a data-driven business look like, and how can you become one?

Why is data so important?

That might seem like a question with an obvious answer. We all know how important data is. It provides us with facts to replace hunches and assumptions.

Working with data is certainly not a new thing. Far from it. But using data to inform, influence and predict the performance of your field service business is relatively new – and incredibly effective.

Data can help to better allocate your resources and identify knowledge gaps and training needs. It can also enhance your customer service and in turn, your customer loyalty.

Put simply, data can help to transform your field service operations. It can save you money, make the most of your time and ensure excellent service.

Savvy businesses have been working to harness the power of data for years. Back in 2012, an Economist survey identified that 63% of those ahead financially were also ahead on data usage.

And today, data is no longer past tense only. You used to learn what had happened with data, weeks or months after the event. Collection methods have revolutionized since then. We can now access data that tells us what’s happening right now, in real time. It helps us to become predictive, not just react to events of the past.

Where is it?

That’s the thing. Your data is everywhere. You’re probably drowning in it. Overwhelmed by the many sources and the sheer amount of it.

Having the data is one thing. Using it effectively is another.

It’s a major challenge for many large organizations. There’s no benefit in grappling unsuccessfully with large amounts of data without extracting practical learnings from it.

Many departments have access to data that could be useful. You might have machines that collect data, not to mention many service systems via mobile devices. Digital transformation has delivered the goods, we just don’t know what to do with it all.

Which data matters for field service?

The data of most use to your business depends on your objectives and KPIs.

As a field service operator, that’s likely to focus on delivering excellent service: first time fixes, rapid response times and maximum job completion per day.

Your field service management software is likely to collect the most valuable data for you. That’s to say, your field technicians working alongside your customers. They’re on the front line of your operations.

Thanks to digital transformation, field service data is often available in real time. And with the right software, you’ll be able to gather even more.

Such knowledge enhances performance too. AnswersAnywhere Analytics recently uncovered that the top 20% best performing field service engineers were also the most frequent users of the knowledge base. A useful insight for the remaining 80%.

Remember: data is for everyone

There’s a myth we need to dispel. Data is not just for top-level managers when it comes to field service. Every level of your business will benefit from being better informed; from chief executives right through to the field service team themselves.

And getting buy-in at every level is powerful stuff.

Take the example of HVAC and parts ordering. If your parts managers have access to data that highlights key seasonal peaks in demand for particular parts, they can manage their stock accordingly. Hold more when demand is high, and less when it’s not. The result is two-fold: less cash tied up in stock and faster fixes for your customers.

Spread the love of data across your entire organization. If you get the right facts into the right hands, you’ll transform your operation.

How do I start?

It probably seems like an enormous task. As with many such challenges, starting small is often the answer.

Choose some core KPIs – just one or two if you like. First time fixes, jobs completed per day and mean repair time are all common measures of performance. By engineer, by machine and by customer.

Let’s say you decide to monitor first time fix rates.

So, gather data to understand which engineers have the highest first-time fix rate. And monitor which pieces of equipment get fixed first time. This might throw up some training gaps on certain equipment, or the need to have more parts available to speed the fix.

Monitoring first-time fixes by engineer might uncover some best practice to make more widespread across your field service team. Do your better-performing engineers use certain tools or resources to speed their work? Do they follow a different fault diagnosis process?

If you cannot gather the field service data you want to see, talk to your field service software provider. They might guide you towards analytics that already exist or help you with relevant reporting.

Should you have gaps in your field service data, consider new methods of collecting it. Such investment could make a significant difference to the future performance of your business.

How AnswersAnywhere helps your field service data analysis

At AnswersAnywhere, we’re acutely aware of the importance of data-analytics. It helps to drive our customers in many ways.

And that’s why we’re constantly developing new capabilities in our mobile software. We want our customers to have direct insight on how their engineers are using AnswersAnywhere. For example, the products or manuals they access most frequently, and the customers that require this type of on-site support.

Such clarity will enable AnswersAnywhere users to understand where to focus their development of this parts and technical data tool. They’ll also appreciate the knowledge that’s being under-utilized, prompting important training opportunities.

Without doubt, data analysis is helping field service organizations get ahead of their competition. The effective process must achieve three things though. You need to be collecting the right data in the field. You must then process it correctly. Finally, you must get it into the hands of those who can learn and act on it.

Achieve this, and you’ve just found one of the most powerful tools (to date) in the 21st century.

Improving Field Service Training with Knowledge Management

There’s no denying field service organizations pour a large amount of time and resources into training new talent. In fact, it’s estimated corporations spent around $19.7 million last year on training expenditures alone.

Effective training increases employee retention – this is a no-brainer! According to a survey by Society for Human Resource Management, one third of newly hired staff quit their jobs after the first six months, with the majority citing lack of skills one of the major reasons they leave. Considering the fact that the Millennial worker is twice as likely to leave a job after two years than their predecessors, it’s no wonder field service organizations are putting more emphasis on training than ever before.

What is Effective Training?

So now the question is, what does effective training look like? Companies have long known that the typical “one and done” onboarding process doesn’t work, and this is especially true for field service. Training needs to be an ongoing process and companies need to figure out how to provide new workers with continuous support in the field, in an effective and cost-efficient manner.

Some companies rely on new staff calling support centers for questions and guidance. But let’s be honest, call center staff are already busy, they don’t need the additional burden of providing support training as well!

A Crucial Component in Field Service

Enter Knowledge Management – organizations are starting to realize what a crucial role this plays in the training process, both initially and throughout the employee’s tenure.

A good knowledge management application will provide the digital training new hires need to learn the solution. It allows for scenario-based learning, which in turn makes lessons more impactful, especially when combined with the ability to refer back as needed. Additionally, some knowledge management platforms will allow trainers to monitor everyone’s progress by providing analytics to see who is accessing what information and work individually with those who need extra guidance.

Also consider that millennials are native tech users and expect access to information at all times. By embracing knowledge management, you’re being the kind of forward-thinking organization that millennials want to work for.

Making Knowledge Management a core component to your training process also makes new hires feel empowered. By giving them access to knowledge in the field, they will feel more confident to handle any task that may come their way. All of this leads to increased retention rates in the company.

Increase Adoption to Drive Efficiency

A common complaint we hear from executives who have implemented new software in the field is that workers “don’t use it”, either out of inertia, lack of training (or confidence in that training), or simply because they prefer the “old way of doing things”.

However, by making knowledge management an essential part of new hire onboarding, not only will it provide additional support in the training process, but it will drive adoption of that technology. We already know knowledge management is crucial in the field, reducing repair times by more than 50% and increasing SLA compliance by more than 26%. Ingraining the use of these tools early on will help companies drive efficiency like never before.

Ready to learn more about how knowledge management can make training more effective and empower your field service engineers?

AnswersAnywhere Announces Integration with ServiceMax Go and Host of New Features

Seattle, WA – October 18, 2019 –
AnswersAnywhere, the leading global provider of knowledge management solutions for field service organizations, today announced integration with ServiceMax Go and the availability of innovative usage analytics and control over the delivery of proprietary technical knowledge.

AnswersAnywhere’s integration with ServiceMax Go, ServiceMax’s new mobile app for service execution management, further supports AnswersAnywhere’s mission of delivering parts and service knowledge to field service engineers when they need it most – on site with a customer. Bo Wandell, Vice President of AnswersAnywhere said, “From inside ServiceMax Go, a field service engineer can call hundreds or thousands of pages of relevant parts and service knowledge simply by pushing the integrated AnswersAnywhere button.” Wandell said that a part selected from an AnswersAnywhere parts list or exploded product diagram can be added automatically to a work order in ServiceMax Go.

According to a Technology Services Industry Association’s (TSIA) research report 2019 Field Services Technology Stack, deploying a knowledge management solution reduced mean time to repair by more than 50% and lowered annual employee attrition rates by over 3 points. “Knowledge management has evolved from a ‘nice to have’ to a strategic necessity for field service organizations seeking ways enhance efficiency, increase service profits and improve engagement with their mobile device focused workforce,” Wandell said.

Unlike traditional knowledge management software solutions, AnswersAnywhere is a complete outsourced knowledge management service that includes the people, process and technology required to transform disparate parts and technical information into a mobilized knowledge base purpose-built to address the needs of field service engineers. Wandell said, “Developing and deploying a knowledge management strategy in a big corporation is not for the faint of heart, but it is a perfect outsourcing opportunity. Because AnswersAnywhere is a Knowledge-as-a-Service, we can deploy the first version of a customer’s field service knowledge base in 90 days after project launch.”

According to John Stetic, Senior Vice President of Innovation and ISV Partnerships at ServiceMax, AnswersAnywhere is a seamless complement to ServiceMax. Stetic said, “Our ServiceMax customers are large companies servicing complex assets supported by hundreds of field service engineers around the globe. Productivity and efficiency dramatically improve when field service technicians are provided with the right tools and information via ServiceMax and integrated parts and technical product knowledge from AnswersAnywhere – enabling successful service execution.”

AnswersAnywhere for ServiceMax v3.0 also includes new analytics that track and report every interaction with a field service knowledge base. “Field service executives want to understand how parts catalogs and service knowledge are being leveraged in the field so they can draw correlations between usage and achievement of key performance indicators,” Wandell said. “If AnswersAnywhere Analytics uncovers that the top 20% best performing field service engineers also are the most frequent users of the field service knowledge base, that’s an important piece of the puzzle when trying to figure out how to make the remaining 80% more efficient.”

AnswersAnywhere also has released new security functionality called Knowledge Segmentation, aimed at companies that employ third party service providers. Knowledge Segmentation allows field service managers to control access to parts and service knowledge based on audience. Access can be limited to specific products or a much larger subset. Additionally, organizations can create an “expiration date” that allows individuals to access information for a certain length of time, even if the information has been downloaded to a mobile device.

About AnswersAnywhere:
AnswersAnywhere is a Knowledge-as-a-Service that combines people, process and technology to convert, deliver and continuously update parts and product knowledge for use by field service technicians and technical support representatives. The types of source information that AnswersAnywhere knowledge experts convert into usable, interactive knowledge bases includes FAQs, parts lists, installation and service manuals, schematic drawings, exploded diagrams, product descriptions and alerts, safety notices, database output, images, videos and MS Word and PDF documents.

AnswersAnywhere knowledge experts have created and manage technical product knowledge bases for over 200 companies. For more information, visit www.answersanywhere.com.

About ServiceMax:
ServiceMax is the global leader in Service Execution Management, offering cloud-based software that improves the productivity of complex, equipment-centric service execution. Enterprise companies across the globe have turned to ServiceMax to help them keep the world running. For more information, visit www.servicemax.com.

To watch a demo of AnswersAnywhere for ServiceMax, click here!

TSIA Report Field Service

New Report Shows Knowledge Management Reduces Repair Time by 50%

TSIA (Technology Services Industry Association) has released an eye-opening report. The 2019 Field Service Technology Stack report focuses on the importance of technology to field service operations.

It showed that knowledge management had a huge impact on performance, with significant improvements in mean time to repair (>50% reduction) and annual employee attrition rates (down over 3 points).

According to TSIA, a leading firm that helps companies embrace technology, the report further cements knowledge management as a “need to have” among field service organizations. This important technology captures, maintains and reuses knowledge to enhance productivity.

Why such a huge fall in repair time?

Quite simply, when field service engineers have insight from a knowledge base, they can achieve faster repairs. In addition, a good knowledge management process increases engagement, resulting in lower staff turnover.

Why Knowledge Management Reduces Churn Rate

Knowledge management’s correlation to faster repairs isn’t exactly surprising. After all, it’s been well documented in numerous studies – we’ve even written about it many times on this very blog.

The evidence is unanimous that giving field service engineers access to the critical knowledge they need on site will transform fix rates (and if your knowledge management solution is AnswersAnywhere, it will eliminate your incorrect parts orders too).

However, the TSIA report managed to highlight an oft-overlooked benefit of knowledge management in field service organizations – reducing staff turnover (also known as “churn rate”).

High turnover is something that many field service organizations struggle with, and it’s only getting worse as companies lose experienced workers to retirement and millennials fill their shoes. After all, millennials are twice as likely to leave a job after two years and are only half as likely to be employed by the same company after 10 years.

For a while now, industry experts and thought leaders have been saying that one of the best ways to retain millennial employees is to engage and empower them with technology. Now, thanks to the Field Service Technology Stack report, we have evidence that this is indeed the case!

Advice for Organizations that Want to Invest

As equipment becomes more complex, so does the knowledge management needed to complement it. Because of this, it’s difficult for companies to know where to start. The TSIA Report offers these recommendations for investing in knowledge management (and new technology in general):

First, benchmark your technology footprint against other members. If your organization’s technology is lacking, examine where those gaps are and revisit what technology will assist you in meeting your goals.

Also, be sure to include integrations in Phase 1 of the project. Integrating technologies like knowledge management can boost adoption and improve performance. According to TSIA, critical integrations are often pushed to later stages and then end up never getting off the ground.

Read the full TSIA 2019 Field Service Technology Stack Report here.

service knowledge management

The 5 Knowledge Management Pitfalls to Avoid in Field Service

The knowledge experts at AnswersAnywhere have over 23 years of experience building and deploying mobile knowledge bases for field service.

This means they’ve seen A LOT of mistakes made by companies attempting to get their knowledge management under control. Here are the Top 5 most common mistakes they recommend companies trying to avoid.

1.     Not Collaborating

Knowledge management isn’t the task of just one department. Make sure the entire organization collaborates and all departments benefit from it. This is especially important for organizations dealing with an aging workforce. What better way to capture the information from the heads of experienced retiring workers throughout your company?

Here are more tips for capturing the knowledge of your experienced workers.

2.     Ignoring Your End Users

This seems simple enough, but you’d be surprised at how many field service organizations don’t talk to their engineers and support staff before launching a knowledge management system. Make sure you consult end users throughout the process and gather regular feedback after launch.

The best way to do this is through a survey. Contact us for a template!

3.     Not Keeping it Up-to-Date

Keeping a knowledge base updated, optimized and free from outdated information is not for the faint of heart! However, it’s also extremely important to your field service engineer’s job.

Here’s some useful advice on how to keep your knowledge base current and accurate.

4.     Not Going Offline

As field service goes mobile, engineers are running into this problem all the time. Accessing the information they need on site requires them to be online but the location they’re at has zero signal. Offline access is the only way for field service companies to be truly mobile without letting their KPIs suffer.

Psst. Did you know AnswersAnywhere works offline? Learn more!

5.     Doing Too Much, Too Soon

Where do I start? It’s a question we get all the time! When it comes to launching a knowledge management project, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But it doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, AnswersAnywhere CEO Jonathan Ralphs spoke about this very topic at Field Service USA 2019.  Check out his advice here. 

 

Ready to make a move to better knowledge management? We can help! Our unique service provides the people, process and technology needed for knowledge management success. In short, we do the hard work and you reap the benefits. Contact us today!

 

Is Your Field Service Knowledge Secure?

Does this sound familiar?

You’ve hired a third-party contractor for one of your field service jobs and they need access to your technical data.

Your company’s security protocols might make it difficult for you to grant the contractor access to sensitive data. However, not having access makes it difficult, or even impossible, for them to complete the job they were hired to do.

Or perhaps you have a small team of employees working in an extremely security-conscious environment and you need to control what data they have access to and for how long they have it.

Or maybe you’ve got a hierarchy of employees within your organization, all with different levels of security clearance to sensitive technical data.

These are all scenarios that come up frequently when we speak with organizations.

Let’s face it – in field service, security access is never created equal!

The good news is, there’s an answer.

AnswersAnywhere has functionality that helps security-conscious organizations control who sees what, and for how long. This means you can give someone clearance to access only the exact data they need— for instance, the specific equipment they’re working on – and nothing else.

But wait, there’s more!

AnswersAnywhere works offline, which means contractors can download data onto their phone to help them in a location with no mobile signal.

You can set an expiry date on the data. Think of it like a self-destruction date!

The ability to determine exactly what each employee accesses helps your organization stay secure and compliant. Furthermore, you’re demonstrating to customers how seriously you take the security of their business and assets.

Check out our one minute video to learn more about AnswersAnywhere’s cool security features!

AnswersAnywhere Enhances Integration with ServiceMax to Drive Field Service Knowledge Delivery

Seattle, WA – July 16, 2019 – AnswersAnywhere, the leading provider of knowledge management solutions for field service organizations, today announced the release of AnswersAnywhere for ServiceMax v2.0. The enhanced knowledge management solution and integration with ServiceMax is designed to provide field service technicians with fast and easy access to the technical product knowledge required for efficient and successful customer visits.

AnswersAnywhere is a Knowledge-as-a-Service that combines people, process and technology to convert, deliver and continuously update technical product knowledge for use by field service technicians and technical support representatives. The types of source information that AnswersAnywhere knowledge experts convert into usable, interactive knowledge bases includes FAQs, parts lists, installation and service manuals, schematic drawings, exploded diagrams, product descriptions and alerts, safety notices, database output, images, videos, FAQs and MS Word and PDF documents. AnswersAnywhere knowledge experts have created and managed knowledge bases for over 200 companies.

ServiceMax is the global market-leader in Service Execution Management, a software category that includes both Field Service Management and Asset Service Management. ServiceMax provides a cloud-based software platform that improves the productivity of complex, equipment-centric service execution for OEMs, operators, and 3rd-party service providers.

“AnswersAnywhere and ServiceMax share the mission of helping manufacturers maximize the value of their field service organizations. The AnswersAnywhere/ServiceMax integrated solution unlocks new opportunities to increase customer satisfaction, first-time fix rates and efficiency,” said Bo Wandell, Vice President of Sales and Business Development for AnswersAnywhere. “As a result of the AnswersAnywhere/ServiceMax integration, field service technicians arrive at a customer site armed with all of the critical parts information and knowledge required to get a piece of equipment back up and running in the shortest possible timeframe.”

The newest version of AnswersAnywhere for ServiceMax features full, bi-directional data exchange with ServiceMax. Technicians can access relevant parts, installation and servicing knowledge from their ServiceMax work order by simply clicking on the integrated AnswersAnywhere button.

Wandell said, “Without leaving the ServiceMax field service management app, technicians can call AnswersAnywhere to gain immediate access to a knowledge base for the down equipment. To order a part in the AnswersAnywhere knowledge base, the technician can automatically drop the part number and quantity needed directly into their ServiceMax work order.”

As a cloud-based platform, AnswersAnywhere can deliver knowledge to field service staff worldwide. For technicians who work in environments without Internet access, AnswersAnywhere is fully operational in both online and offline modes.

According to Dara Sherafat, ServiceMax’s Senior Global Director of ISV Channels, field service organizations that have embraced digital transformation are realizing gains in service revenue and customer satisfaction while also reducing costs. He said, “A key component of a field service organization’s digital transformation strategy is delivering relevant knowledge when and where it’s needed. With the AnswersAnywhere/ServiceMax integrated solution, field service technicians have access to a mobile knowledge base that could contain tens of thousands of up-to-date knowledge articles, parts lists, parts images and product notices.”

Sherafat said that ServiceMax’s medtech customers are particularly interested in knowledge management solutions like AnswersAnywhere to meet government regulations and drive parts ordering efficiency. He said, “In addition to all of the efficiency gains delivered by digital transformation, medtech companies are interested in leveraging knowledge management solutions like AnswersAnywhere to ensure they meet FDA and EU MDR compliance requirements and eliminate costly, incorrect parts orders.”

 

About AnswersAnywhere:
AnswersAnywhere is a Knowledge-as-a-Service created by Infomill. Over 50,000 technical support representatives and field service technicians access a knowledgebase on the AnswersAnywhere platform every month to quickly and accurately install, service and repair equipment.

With offices in the US and UK, the AnswersAnywhere team has been creating innovative knowledge solutions since 1996. Infomill has a pedigree of successful aftermarket information projects with multi-national companies in HVAC, aerospace, mass transit, materials handling and other knowledge-critical sectors. Infomill is located in Derby, UK and Seattle, USA. Companies using the AnswersAnywhere platform include BUNN, Baxi, Centrica and Ferguson. 

 

About ServiceMax:
ServiceMax is the global leader in Service Execution Management, offering cloud-based software that improves the productivity of complex, equipment-centric service execution. Enterprise companies across the globe have turned to ServiceMax to help them keep the world running. Visit www.servicemax.com.

Case Study – The AA Home Services Increases Productivity

An end-to-end field service software integration from Solarvista and AnswersAnywhere delivers mobile knowledge management technology like never before to The Automobile Association (The AA) Home Services’ heating and plumbing field technicians.

One of the UK’s most trusted brands and the undisputed leader in Roadside Assistance, The Automobile Association (The AA) also provides cover for home and heating emergencies and maintenance as part of the AA Insurance Services. While both parts of the business had been operating on a single platform, it became apparent that Home Services required a separate operational system to drive the growth of the business and deliver the efficiencies it constantly sought in addition to increased customer satisfaction.

After a complex Request for Proposal process, Solarvista was chosen as the supplier best positioned to provide the AA with the service, system and support necessary. Solarvista was also poised to fully integrate its field service system with the PartsArena Pro solution, developed using the AnswersAnywhere platform. The result would prove to be of great benefit to the service technicians out in the field.

The AA Home Services operation wanted a field service management solution that would:

  • Drive and measure field service technician efficiency
  • Provide high levels of customer service
  • Ensure end-to-end job management
  • Provide a flexible system that could develop and grow with the business

Proven results show the benefits of integration

While delivering quantifiable results from the field workforce of heating and plumbing technician was just one objective of the software installation, this is where AnswersAnywhere and Solarvista delivers the greatest value and has so far contributed to some notable performance improvements since first launch in September 2016:

Overall productivity improvement of 15% (this is continually rising)

  • 17% improvement in ‘First Time Fix’ rates
  • AnswersAnywhere specifically improving ‘Second Time Fix’ rates
  • 8% reduction in time on site
  • Tasks per shift improvement of 15%
  • Reduction in calls made to the contact center by 20%

AnswersAnywhere is now supplying critical knowledge to the AA’s Home Service technicians, via offline mobile devices. They can access the latest interactive data and information from manufacturers and suppliers such as exploded diagrams, parts codes and manufacturer technical manuals while out in the field, facilitating a speedy and accurate parts search coupled with the ability to add parts lists to jobs for automated ordering. This helps to reduce field technician and back office effort and has markedly improved ‘Second Time Fix’ rate.

Ash Cripps, Home Services Business Systems Manager for The AA, comments: “In the age of self-service and automation, delivering fully integrated systems to the benefit of our members, employees and business alike was a critical requirement within our transformation project. The integration between Solarvista and the AnswersAnywhere platform that we have developed supports our technicians in resolving our members’ home emergencies as effectively and quickly as possible; and more of them per day, while also delivering a world class experience to our members.

The project has delivered significant improvements to both First and Second Fix Rates, significant improvement to our technicians’ productivity, while also enabling our technicians to very quickly and accurately order parts and book their own return visits face-to-face with members via their mobile devices.  Additionally, their own core van stock of parts auto-replenishes without anyone having to place orders.”

Paul Allen is a service technician for the AA. Shortlisted for Engineer of the Year, he has this to say about AnswersAnywhere: “Using this software has become part of my routine when servicing or repairing appliances to either get part numbers, fault finding charts or specific servicing routines that certain manufacturers ask for.

The time and money saved by not having to phone manufacturers or merchants for parts numbers or technical information is just one of the benefits of this software. The installation manuals and detailed diagrams make doing the job so much easier, which reduces the time spent on each job, helping you to get more visits completed in your working day.

And you also have the confidence that the part you have ordered will be the correct one as you can see it clearly in the diagrams. Most parts also have a photo in the information to help you identify then accurately. It is great to not have to pick up the phone to order parts or arrange any return visits.”

Continual improvement for optimum performance

The provision of data and functionality is very much an ongoing process for AnswersAnywhere knowledge engineers, with improvements and enhancements introduced at frequent intervals and data updated on a daily, almost real-time basis utilizing the new custom-built CMS built in house.  AnswersAnywhere will continue to work closely with Solarvista to ensure that the AA is receiving the optimum level of service.

AnswersAnywhere CEO, Jonathan Ralphs comments: “We’re delighted that our technology is part of the performance success of the AA Home Services, delivering enhanced customer service to homes across the UK. The project very clearly demonstrates the potential of our AnswersAnywhere platform. We can create an innovative knowledge management tool for any industry worldwide that suffers from an unproductive “knowledge gap” between manufacturer and parts information, and the field service engineer out on site.

Service technicians need the right knowledge at their fingertips to make informed, accurate and quick decisions; increasing their level of productivity significantly. To achieve this is a distinct competitive advantage and that is exactly what AnswersAnywhere can do.”

Contact us today to learn more about how AnswersAnywhere can benefit your field service organization.