Installers and Integrators in Need of Digitalized Processes
Heinrich Brandmeldetechnik Achieves a High Degree of Automation in Daily Business with es2000
Though living in the age of digitalization, many installation companies drown in paperwork. The main problem is to digitize all their service department paper forms. Most technicians in the field still fill out their work reports and maintenance forms with a pen and paper. Office staff in turn have to sort out and enter these forms into their administration and billing programs. In contrast, companies who rely on internet-ready mobile services can generate the required electronic forms on demand and are way ahead of the game.
Heinrich Brandmeldetechnik, based in Maxhütte-Haidhof, has been developing tailor-made security concepts for private and business customers from the Upper Palatinate region of Bavaria since 2012. Their business portfolio not only includes state-of-the-art fire detection and monitoring systems, but also an all-round service of consulting, installation and maintenance.
The installation business has earned a good reputation in the region, resulting in constant high order volumes and new customers on a daily basis. „We are committed to high service quality. Our philosophy is to keep our growing customer base satisfied“, says managing director Alexander Heinrich. „The keys to our success are many years of experience and trained specialists. But due to the continuing shortage of skilled workers here, these are not always easy to find. So to remain competitive in the long run, a high degree of automation is very important. Time consuming and daily recurring routine tasks have to be fully automated“ Heinrich emphasizes. Those tasks include fast and continuous processes, which start with the customer inquiry, continue on with offers and quotations, through to the final invoicing. „But for our technicians to focus on their main business, we also have to rely on the use of efficient software on site.“
One Software for All Processes
It is often difficult to find suitable products due to the breadth of the industry. Many solutions were not practical and did not make a lot of sense in practice. „Our goal is to have one software solution to control operational processes in detail“ explains Heinrich. He looked for a solution that was specifically developed and tailored to meet the installing industry’s specific needs and processes, and established which software his competitors and other BHE colleagues were using.
Since 2016, Heinrich Brandmeldetechnik has been using esoffice, software developed by es2000 that is tailored specifically to installation companies. The ERP solution supports continuous processes in daily business and has, among other things, fine-grained order control and detailed customer management. „Before we started the project, we discussed which areas were particularly in need of automation. Service and maintenance on site turned out to be the most important. So to create a digital workflow, we employed esmobile which uses a mobile tablet solution for on-site work.“
Mobile Tablet Solution On-Site
The introduction of the on-site service solution took just two days. „When we had questions, we could get in touch with es2000. The rest we could figure out on our own“, Alexander Heinrich recounts. „Sure it was an adjustment, but now nobody wants to go back to the old way of doing things“.
Improvements in daily business were immediately recognized. Every service technician today records his daily reports, working hours and material consumption on his own tablet. This not only saves time and paper, but the service orders now enter the system directly, which means that invoicing takes place much more promptly. „In the past, reports had to be filled out with a pen and paper, then scanned and saved in specific folders“, Alexander Heinrich remembers. „Today the documents are simply uploaded and automatically land in the designated folders. This way, the office team knows immediately when a technician has completed his task and can directly start invoicing. Of course, this has not only increased our internal transparency, but also the transparency to the customer.“
The Next Challenge: Maintenance Forms
Once the work reports were fully integrated into the digital process, the maintenance logs were to have the same procedure. There are precisely defined standards and guidelines for the installation and maintenance of fire alarm systems. Any action carried out at the customer‘s site must be logged accurately. The signed maintenance forms are then handed over to the customer. „We used blank PDF forms for a while, but in the long run this was too complicated for us“, says managing director Alexander Henry. „Especially in this area, which is so important to us, we wanted to have a consistently controllable workflow and not jump from one program to another.
At the beginning of 2018, the company therefore also introduced e-forms from es2000. The solution creates digital protocols and other forms that can be accessed directly via the app and can be filled out on mobile devices. To edit forms independently, the application includes a ‚Formbuilder‘ and an integrated ‚Report Designer‘. The Form Builder contains a design interface with an empty form on which elements can be added or removed as required using drag and drop. The module also has a list of ready-made templates for service, inspection and project orders. The individual fields on the form, when defined in the Form Builder, are then transferred to the ‚Report Designer‘ to create the print document.
The form templates as well as the finished reports can then be imported or exported as files. If further optimizations are required, the exported files can conveniently be forwarded to the es2000 experts. „We have selected one of the standard forms and then adapted it to our specific requirements,“ Alexander Heinrich explains. Before that, he had worked with the technicians and discussed exactly which text and/or field needed to be inserted or removed. Today, the company uses three different e-forms and two are currently being adjusted.
The Right Partner
Alexander Heinrich would choose es2000 as his solution provider again at any time. „One simply senses that the solutions are real industry products. We discuss matters eye-to-eye and we have also submitted some suggestions for improvement that were promptly introduced. It truly helps if someone is really listening.“ Heinrich Brandmeldetechnik will keep pursuing the path of digitalization. „We are planning to continue to automate consistently and to determine exactly which areas to improve on. And if necessary, it will of course be together with es2000 as a reliable partner“.