A pristine partnership

Better and faster thanks to e-switch

30 percent better efficiency for the dispatchers, a higher first-fix rate and satisfied customers. Hako, a German machine manufacturer, is highly satisfied with its mobile service solution after ten years of development.

Road sweepers, snow-clearing equipment, and cleaning vehicles – Hako products are omnipresent. 1,900 employees, 425 million euros in group profit and a presence in more than 60 countries make the Bad Oldesloe-based company a “hidden champion” of German machine engineering. The specialist from Schleswig-Holstein occupies a position as a quality leader. This standard of quality ought to be upheld equally with respect to customer service, according to Martin Hoy, Director of Customer Service at Hako. And because Hako products are often used in time-critical and customer-critical industries, Hako customers must be able to rely on the speed and reliability of their supplier. Hoy says, “In the snow-clearing equipment sector, you need to be able to get a machine up and running in no time. No one has patience for waiting times.”

 

A one-click solution

Martin Hoy is pleased to report that the first-fix rate has improved significantly in the face of nearly 100,000 service orders per year in Germany alone. Hoy states, “Our reaction times have become much shorter. The technicians have more information on-site thanks to the mobile service solution, which allows them to order replacement parts quickly on-the-go. That is a major quality advantage.”

Early investment is paying off

Hako owes this advantage to a solution that had already been introduced in eleven European countries and in Australia as early as 2004. Back then, e-switch was developing a mobile service connection for Hako based on the Visual Planning Board, XRB (middleware) and mCompanion products. “It was clear to us that handling service management for about 200 service technicians via fax and telephone was not a state-of-the-art solution,” says Martin Hoy. “People were going to e-switch because, at the time, no one else was able to get all three modules running at the same time and integrate them seamlessly into the SAP system to ensure that all information would be available in real time,” says Andreas Gerdsen, employee from the Hako IT department. Today, there are other providers who can offer this service. But e-switch’s years of experience, depth of SAP integration and the high functional scope of e-switch solutions still allow e-switch to stand out as the premier provider in its field.

Features on Demand

By now, the service solution at Hako has a well-rounded scope of functions in addition to the basic functions such as order acceptance, status reports etc. This scope of functions includes the following:

  • History: the last ten orders are attached to each order and the complete repair history of a device can be called up on-the-go
  • Checklists: both in-house checklists (e.g. work safety) and customer-specific checklists can be processed on-the-go
  • Immediately after completion of the order, the service report is sent directly to the client as a PDF, letting the client know that the device can be used again.
  • Background: Hako technicians often repair devices while the client is absent
  • Technicians can view the parts inventory in their vehicles and in all warehouses and can order any parts on-the-go. Delivery time: the next morning
  • The dispatcher can send a text message to the technician using the planning board if the technician should happen to be offline

 

Efficiency increase of up to 30 percent

The new solution also makes work easier for Hako dispatchers. “They can process between 20 and 30 percent more orders than before at one time,” says Martin Hoy. The dispatchers also have a continuous real-time view of where a technician is currently working. This is made possible by the fact that the service vehicles are equipped with a GPS transmitter. The dispatcher can use his planning board to determine which order the technician is carrying out at a given time and whether it is okay to send him a potential ad-hoc order. An additional effect of the GPS positioning in the scheduling system is that the dispatcher knows when the technician is free to take a phone call and when a phone call may disturb him/her. What’s more, equipping the Hako vehicles with GPS receivers went smoothly. The workers’ council agreed to the idea after it was agreed that no data would be recorded.

 

Our reaction times have become much shorter. That is a major quality advantage. An excellent solution that continues to prove its worth

Martin Hoy, Director of Customer Service at Hako

Our reaction times have become much shorter. That is a major quality advantage. An excellent solution that continues to prove its worth

Martin Hoy, Director of Customer Service at Hako

The latest feature: Route planning in real time

The approximately 30 dispatchers working for Hako around the world will be able to provide better support for their technicians’ work from now on. At the beginning of 2017, Hako will introduce e-switch route planning into the scheduling system. They will provide the technicians with concrete suggestions for the sequence in which tasks for the day should be taken care of. Martin Hoy says, “We will use this feature to avoid even more unnecessary trips.”

 

Paperless reality

For the issue of mobile end devices, Hako opted right away for a one-device-only strategy. The Hako technicians have been reliant on Windows PCs, mainly because of the diagnostic software for the various components in Hako products. So, the mobile service from e-switch runs in a Java application on the Toughbooks from Panasonic. “An excellent solution that continues to prove its worth,” says IT employee Andreas Gerdsen. The Toughbooks live up to their promises with respect to robustness. Initially, clients were not used to providing signatures using a touch screen. Now it’s the norm. The Toughbooks access the Internet using an access point in the technician vehicle. This access point is equipped with a modem. These days, paper has been completely eliminated from Hako’s service.

 

A platform-independent future

Although the Toughbook solution is working out very well, Hako continues to focus on the future. “We’re contemplating a platform-independent solution,” says Martin Hoy. We want a future version of the mobile service solution to operate using an Android operating system or an OS operating system. Some diagnostics systems are already moving to tablets. The problem is that the vast majority aren’t making this transition. Not only does Hako have many diagnostic systems in use, but various versions of these systems depending on the age of the machines at the customer facilities. This could make it difficult in the future to equip the technicians with only one device. ”We will continue to focus on this issue,” says Martin Hoy. He and his IT colleague, Mr. Gerdsen, are certain that this will happen in close collaboration with the experts at e-switch. Those in Bad Oldesloe have nothing but good things to say thus far about their collaboration with the Swiss company.

 

The website of the company: http://www.hako.ch/

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