- Reduce costs by replacing a paper-based system with a mobile one
- Improve customer service
- Reduce billing errors
- Transition to a mobile based dispatching system
- Integrate forms data collection to their ERP system
Outcomes & Results
- Improved field tools and information available for technicians
- Increased cash flow by over $1 million
- Paid for the TrueContext deployment by eliminating printed forms
- Reduced billing errors
- Delivered higher quality information to customers, faster
Gateway had been using a paper-based system for handling its technicians’ work. They filled out paper forms for site inspections, hazard assessments, maintenance and more. Technicians turned in the forms to company offices, and the forms were shuttled around for tasks such as invoicing. Office staff had to manually input them into Gateway’s ERP system.
“The entire process was expensive, inefficient, and time-consuming,” says Dave Herbert, IT Manager for Gateway. “In addition to costing us time and money, it led to billing problems because of invoicing errors and a long delay between finishing a job and sending an invoice.”
In 2013, the Gateway board informed the company CEO that costs were too high, including dispatching technicians and managing technicians’ work, and that customers didn’t feel they were getting enough information from Gateway about the services. It asked the CEO to fix the problem.
Gateway’s telecommunications provider suggested that the company talk to TrueContext, which develops and sells a mobile workflow platform used by more than 3,500 businesses.
“We tried out TrueContext, and it became clear early on that the solution was exactly what we needed,” says Herbert. “It was easy for our technicians to use, and we were able to integrate a few key forms with our backend systems.
Gateway chose to standardize the TrueContext solution on Android because the mobile operating system is easy to deploy and fits well with other company initiatives, such as Active Directory synchronization and running Citrix clients. Android also allowed Gateway employees the choice to select any Android device they wanted. They no longer had to be tied to one single manufacturer. Employees use 14 different types of Android devices from Samsung, HTC, Huawei and Sony.
With TrueContext, when a customer calls for maintenance help, the information is entered into Gateway’s ERP system. It’s routed to the TrueContext server, which sends a message to a technician’s Android phone. The TrueContext app alerts the technicians about the job and includes important background information.
When technicians visit the site and complete the work, they use the TrueContext Android app to record the work done with photos. This upload automatically triggers an email to the customer with details about the completed work, along with photos for verification. For billing, a salesperson reviews all completed orders electronically before invoices are sent out.
“TrueContext was extremely easy to deploy, and worked right away with our Android devices. It was also simple to tie to our backend systems,” says Herbert.
Savings and overall benefits from the TrueContext-Android deployment have been dramatic. Simply eliminating the purchase of printed forms has paid for the entire system. Technicians are more efficient, and work quality has improved because they have more comprehensive information than before.
Gateway reduced data entry time by 400 percent. It has also improved cash flow by more than $1 million due to faster billing, while reducing data entry errors. Customers are more satisfied because they get more accurate information and better services.
“TrueContext with Android will save us money and make us more effective. That will help us accomplish our primary goal — to provide maintenance, construction, and other services in the most efficient way possible for our customers.“DAVE HERBERT, IT MANAGER, GATEWAY MECHANICAL SERVICES