Mobile ERP Moves Equipment Providers from Clipboards to Handhelds
Equipment providers – whether that’s dealers in used equipment, wholesalers, or end-to-end equipment service providers, or engineer systems implementers – have a high need for field service automation. After all, their service technicians, and sales people, require access to equipment and customer history where and when they need it most - at their customers (construction sites, warehouses, oil and gas refineries, mines, etc.) as well as on the road. This is where mobile ERP comes in.
While there may be initial fear and resistance by ‘old school’ employees used to the pen-and-clipboard way of renting, selling and servicing equipment, the move to an ERP system – fully integrated with a configurable mobile application – can provide greater visibility on customers, equipment, inventory, open orders, etc. for service technicians, sales people, and management to help reduce close times, not to mention the virtual elimination of errors and delays resulting from duplicate data entry.
Another benefit of mobile ERP for equipment providers is the increased speed of financials with A/R posting close to real time - rather than being inundated with mounds of paperwork and waiting for someone to post it at end of month. The bean counters at your business will also be pleased with significant cost savings across the sales, service and parts departments with greater efficiencies and reduced needs for labor redundancies.
Other benefits of mobile ERP to equipment providers include faster parts replenishment on the service vans, and improved customer satisfaction as the result of faster delivery of equipment, shorter service completion times, and shorter waits for back-ordered, parts, etc.
Remote Information Access without Connectivity
Working conditions are rarely idea for field service technicians, or traveling salesmen working for equipment companies – so how can they get the most out of an ERP system when they’re on the road? Using either a ruggedized tablet or smartphone, employees on the road can always maintain access to their company’s ERP system via mobile. When Wifi and/or cellular connection goes down – not an uncommon event on the road – remote workers can still access the ERP offline and then update the system when connectivity returns. This ability to continually process information is vital to equipment companies whose ‘wrench time’ (field service work) is so valuable an asset.
Equipment providers also need their sales people to spend less time in office chairs, and more time on the road visiting existing customers and prospects. Mobile ERP enables sales to remotely handle invoices, time cards, and other aspects of day-to-day operations vital to the efficiency and profitability of the company. Display of real-time data on a web dashboard indicates how many sales closed, works orders on hold for parts; deliveries made, etc. Key reports and charts on these metrics can then display on the mobile worker’s device.
As one user of mobile ERP has observed: “the operations manager said to me, ‘it’s a beautiful thing: a technician finished his work at the customer site, his manager approved the work, and the invoice was out the door to the customer - all on the same day!’”
Heather Angus-Lee is a writer with EquipSoft. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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