UK heating appliance company Ferroli is using a general packet radio system solution to keep field communication and ordering costs down.
Ferroli has eight European plants and produces more than 400,000 domestic and commercial boilers every year, and is also a producer of steel, cast iron and aluminium radiators, air conditioning systems, hydro massage baths and showers.
The company had used a paper-based system for recording work, one that was slow and restrictive for the engineers involved in repair and installation. This resulted in delays to job completion targets, invoicing and, subsequently, increased costs.
Ferroli previously relied on paper forms and faxing to issue, document and manage jobs. Jobs had to be faxed overnight and paperwork filled in manually, posted weekly to head office and then inputted into Ferroli’s database systems.
This system slowed turnaround times and increased technical errors. Ferroli subsequently went to Orange and its technology partner, Pervasic, to implement an Orange Sales and Service Accelerator solution.
Forms are now preloaded onto personal digital assistants (PDAs), which are connected to the Orange GPRS network. Drop-down menus enable simple data entry. Billing and invoice information is integrated with the firm’s back office systems automatically, reducing the chance of errors and increasing turnaround times.
Peter Binstead, technical director at Ferroli, said, “Our engineers are very pleased with the new system – it’s probably saving them an hour-and-a half a day in work.
“We have moved to real-time working in the field and have removed the duplication of work at head office, and our response and invoice times have improved.”
This article was part of Computer Weekly's enterprise mobile business channel, sponsored by Nokia
This was first published in May 2004