Whenever a floor-cleaning machine failed at a customer site, Kurt Amrein, a service technician at Wetrok AG, had a problem. He often did not have the correct spare part to perform the repair while he was on site. The appointment was cancelled, the customer had to wait, and Amrein had to travel to the site yet again. Thanks to a new IT solution at Wetrok, this situation simply doesn’t happen any more.
The Swiss company, headquartered in Kloten, has made cleanliness its business. It provides products, methods, expertise, and training for professional cleaning. Its offerings include floor-cleaning machines, wet and dry vacuum cleaners, carpet cleaning and sweeping machines, trolleys, and cleaning and maintenance products. Wetrok wants to develop into the leading system supplier in selected markets and customer segments within professional cleaning. The Swiss company plans to reach this goal with high-quality products and services, superior customer service, and cost-optimized methods.
To that end, Wetrok offers round-the-clock service throughout Switzerland. Its promise? To have a service technician and any required material available within 24 hours. To meet this claim, the company decided at the end of 2003 to use the most up-to-date telemetrics (the connection between IT and telecommunications solutions) in technical customer service. In addition to locating and navigating service vehicles by satellite, mobile computing was a central element of the company’s new strategy. “Once on site, service technicians should be able to access lists of equipment, spare parts, guarantees, and maintenance agreements comfortably from their notebook computers. That’s how we want to become faster and simultaneously increase the quality of service,” explains Walter Knecht, director or service at Wetrok.
A New ERP Solution Paves the Way
The foundation for implementing the telematics strategy was laid in mid-2004. Once a system from J.D. Edwards had been replaced with mySAP ERP, nothing stood in the way of the next step: integrating the service management functionality of mySAP Customer Relationship Management (mySAP CRM). SAP Switzerland emerged as the victor after an appropriate evaluation. Its solution design integrated components of mySAP CRM with the mySAP ERP back end and convinced the IT managers at Wetrok to choose the SAP solution. Mobile processes for service technicians, customer care personnel, and sales agents who directly fulfill the requirements at Wetrok are taken from mySAP CRM and today form the foundation of the cleaning specialist’s CRM solution.
Data is regularly updated, and employees at Wetrok headquarters access this data online. The solution is unique in that it exchanges data from online access with data from mobile accesses. The data is usually replicated once a day to provide service technicians with current data when they work offline. With this approach, both company headquarters and the sales staff always have a comprehensive set of information available to them.
Swiss Post Delivers Ordered Goods Directly into Service Vehicles
With IT support, Wetrok now offers its customers three telephone numbers for service. One toll-free number is for ordering spare parts. The second number is a hotline (available in three languages) for answering questions about how a given machine operates. The third number for customers who need to have a machine repaired.
Call center agents receive the calls and enter service orders. From this information, the service manager creates a preliminary schedule for the service technicians, checks the availability of materials, and releases the materials. Central customer data management in mySAP CRM enables this precise flow of tasks. If a material must be ordered, an order is placed with spare part management. Swiss Post Net AG is responsible for delivering parts. The trick? Swiss Post places the delivery directly into the appropriate service vehicles overnight.
All Answers on the Notebook
This preparatory work benefits the service technicians who have notebook computers. Now, the evening before he begins a tour, Kurt Amrein uses a virtual private network (VPN) at home to create a temporary connection to the central office. He downloads the required data from the CRM server, takes care of detailed planning, and transmits his information back to the central office. To keep transmission time as brief as possible, mySAP CRM transmits only the data that has changed since the last synchronization.
When Amrein is at the customer’s site the next day, he has all the information he needs on his laptop. Is there a valid guarantee that covers the repair? What repairs have already been performed on the machine? Does the customer want to know anything about the machine or the service contract? If the customer wants to order supplies, the technician uses mySAP CRM to transmit the request to service administration.
Once the repair, maintenance, or inspection work is done, service technicians immediately create a work report and print a copy for the customer. The company continuously captures the actions of Amrein and his colleagues during customer visits. “This approach constantly expands the customer and order history,” says Walter Knecht. “All those involved immediately see when services have been performed, what spare parts were required, or whether special circumstances at the customer site require attention.”
Savings of CHF 1 Million
mySAP CRM offers more than support when Wetrok service employees visit a customer site. Electronic invoicing allows faster, more exact, and simpler settlement. It used to take three weeks from performing service to creating an invoice; it now takes about three days. In addition, managers can now calculate the profitability of various service contracts or individual customers using an analysis tool. Order management has also become simpler. Thanks to central data capture, all events are managed in a single folder: the creation of the order in the call center, the work of the personnel manager, and the work of service technicians and their reports.
It’s all worth it. According to investment calculations for all the expenses and labor related to telematics technology, Wetrok expects to save CHF 1 million over four years. And that figure does not even include soft factors like lower operating costs for service vehicles because of better scheduling, the effects of faster invoicing, higher levels of productivity, and greater customer satisfaction because of faster, better-founded, and more reliable service.
Interface to GPRS Solutions Planned
Amrein and his colleagues have worked with the mobile solution since April 2005 – and are mighty proud to belong to one of the most modern service operations in Switzerland. Working together, Wetrok and SAP Switzerland were pioneers with this project: the project is the first time that mySAP CRM was used to support mobile service in Switzerland. Future plans include developing an additional interface to the General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) solutions in the service vehicles. As Knecht says, “At that point, data exchange will be possible at any time, and technicians can react to order even more quickly.”
Wetrok AG is an independent, wholly owned subsidiary of the Diethelm Keller Group, where it belongs to the corporate areas of Diethelm Keller Management & Investment (DKMI). The SAP implementation at Wetrok is a pilot project for DKMI. Over the long term, Wetrok subsidiaries in Europe will implement the same level of service, and additional DKMI subsidiaries will implement SAP solutions.
Wetrok held its first discussion with SAP Switzerland in November 2003. The contract was signed in January 2004, and the project began on April 1, 2004 with a project team composed of employees from Wetrok and DKMI, the IT department at DKMI, and SAP Switzerland. Wetrok handled central project management; SAP was responsible for technical realization. As a first step, the partners worked out an implementation plan that defined the to-be processes, the organizational structure, and change management measures. SAP trained key users, who in turn trained their colleagues at Wetrok so the company could operate mySAP CRM on its own as quickly as possible.
mySAP ERP and parts of mySAP CRM were implemented in parallel. Tasks were distributed to drive the implemenation ahead quickly. An external service provider implemented mySAP ERP, and SAP Switzerland was responsible for mySAP CRM. In February 2005, the service team at Wetrok headquarters exchanged data with mySAP ERP over an online connection. Access to mySAP CRM data was possible two months later. Today, DKMI handles maintenance and operation of the software and the hardware.