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“Tickets please!”

Posted by Emily Mason on June 26, 2014

During a trip to Service Management Expo in London last week, my colleague and I were travelling on the DLR when we were approached by a ticket inspector. He was using a smart device to check for valid tickets and Oyster cards.

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Delivering truly cross-platform intelligent workflow applications

Posted by Andy Potter on June 19, 2014

It’s great to be out talking to clients, both existing and prospective, about how Fieldforce iQ is put together and the technologies we’ve used to build the platform.

For the most part there is a lot of nodding and expressions of agreement and understanding as I talk about the use of Apache Tomcat for the web and middleware, MySQL for data storage, Rabbit MQ for the service bus, etc. But the more interesting reactions come when we get to talk about the mobile application and how we solved the challenge of delivering truly cross-platform Intelligent Workflow applications. In particular the revelation that our SmartWorker mobile platform uses HTML5!

Now, unless you actively avoid reading any of the vaguely IT-orientated news site or blogs you will have heard of HTML5. A quick exploration on any of the major search engines brings up a whole list of sites purely dedicated to this one piece of technology. There are many blogs with articles discussing HTML5 from every viewpoint. So, with all this information flying around, it is no wonder that the mere mention of this almost magical five letter acronym can elicit a whole range of reactions from surprise, to concern, to delight.

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Do you have the right answer for “where’s my stuff?”

Posted by Emily Mason on June 12, 2014

It is 10:33 on Wednesday morning in the control room. VIP customer Sandie of ADIR Industries is on the phone with the inevitable progress chasing enquiry “where’s my stuff?”

Now, it does not matter whether the ‘stuff’ in question is an on-site equipment repair or a parcel delivery, you need to provide her with an answer, and right now. ADIR Industries is critical to your company’s success and losing them as a customer, or even failing to deliver is simply not an option.

You check your system, which shows that Alex is en route to this ADIR call, and you reassure Sandie that everything is fine and running to schedule. The ETA for Alex is 11:00. You are satisfied that you were able to handle this customer touch-point well, and immediately - a ‘moment of truth’ for your brand reputation. Your work management system may have been installed for quite a few years, but it is clearly still up to the job.

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Give bad service the red card

Posted by Emily Mason on June 12, 2014

A performance crisis is never a good thing, whether it be your national football team or your mobile workforce. Both have one thing in common - they’re out to beat the competition.

So, what’s the strategy? Well, just like in football, you have to be quicker, more accurate, and more consistent.

Time for kick-off.

Football teams adopt a formation dependent on the players available to them, taking their strengths and weaknesses into account. Plus, the manager will choose a strategy to deliver the all-important result - a win. Allocating your field force in a similar way - that best reflects the workforce’s capabilities - ensures you will always be on target to meet your customer’s expectations and management’s need to make the most effective use of their available human resources.

Pass the ball!

Dynamic Resource Scheduling optimises available resources. Real-time allocation of resources in response to new events or changes in priority effectively ‘passes the ball’ to a more suitable or readily-available team member in order to better serve your customer.

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Y = (Who + What + When + Where)

Posted by Emily Mason on June 5, 2014

I don’t know about you but math(s) was not my favourite school subject - and algebraic equations were a pet hate. I was okay, but the subject never really excited me. Which probably explains why the title of this blog post owes more to English than to maths!

So, what on earth does it mean? Let me explain.

I imagine you have a pretty good idea who you have in your teams, who is on-shift today and available to work. You will also know what they are doing. Or, rather you won’t - you will know what they are supposed to be doing and that is not the same thing. And, all the time everything is going right, then that is fine, you do not need any more. Debriefing information on what did happen can follow later. Paper job sheets sent in the post would be a perfect, and low-cost solution, to job reporting if everything went to plan.

Inevitably though, things will go wrong in the delivery of any kind of mobile service. Despite appearances, it is not a straightforward business to be in. Many of the factors that influence outcomes, good or bad, are outside your control. For example - the weather, traffic conditions, and if customers are even there when you visit. Plus, that carefully constructed plan, which looked so promising at the start of the day, can be shattered by a couple of emergency calls, or jobs that simply overrun.

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