Dispatch system upgrade cuts costs for mobile workers

Contact costly for field technicians taking orders over the phone

Air conditioning company Western Australian Mechanical Services (WAMS) has completed an upgrade to its voice-based order dispatch system to reduce costs and cope with rapid growth.

The company has grown from six employees to more than 30 in less than two years with telecommunication costs topping $5000 a month just to allocate jobs to mobile technicians over the phone.

Moreover, WAMS was keen to increase productivity allowing staff to spend more time on the road.

The company's general manager, Darryl Lathwell, said the mobile technicians travel all over Perth servicing and installing air conditioning units.

"Maintaining contact was getting expensive," he said.

"Also technicians are constantly on the move so offsite training is difficult; we needed a solution that was easy to use."

After reviewing three different solutions, WAMS made the switch to 3G Mobile Mail.

The move not only increased productivity but reduced the company's monthly spend by 60 percent.

Under the 3 plan, Lathwell said calls to other 3 mobiles are free for the first 10 minutes.

"This means we can communicate with our technicians freely without having to spend a fortune," he said.

"The solution allows us to dispatch jobs to mobile technicians via e-mail received on their 3 handsets."

Mobile e-mail capabilities means WAMS can monitor the status of each job in real time, negating the need for disruptive phone calls to technicians.

Lathwell said mobile staff have all the information they need for each job including client details.

Staff use the Nokia N73 which has a simple interface and doesn't require extensive training.

"Technicians can now service one to two extra jobs each day. They receive on the spot orders so we can respond faster to customer needs," he said.

About 27 percent of the Australian workforce is currently mobile and Gartner analyst Nick Ingelbrecht, told delegates at a conference in Sydney last week, to exploit 3G as much as possible because 4G won't be available until 2011.

"The price of 3G is coming down so enterprises should review contracts annually to ensure they are getting the best deal," he said.

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