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Case Study: Efficiency is everything – Gaming giant Talarius use Tesseract to manage their engineers

Oct 30 • Case Studies, Features, resources • 2998 Views • Comments Off on Case Study: Efficiency is everything – Gaming giant Talarius use Tesseract to manage their engineers

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Talarius, the market leaders in the arcade sector, have been using Tesseract Service Centre for the last year to manage their engineers. Feedback from Talarius is that, under Tesseract, efficiency has improved, visibility is greater and their engineers now do a better job in a quicker time.

Talarius are the largest arcade operators in the UK, and have 168 Adult Gaming Centres with more than 10,000 slot machines across the country. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Tatts Group, one of the largest gaming companies in Australia. Talarius provide a service to both dedicated, regular gaming customers and those who enjoy a flutter on a night out, or at a motorway service station on a long journey.

However, slot machines are susceptible to faults and, with so many machines to look after, a fault generally occurs in at least one Talarius machine on a daily basis. A dirty note or bent coin is sometimes all it takes to cause an issue. The importance for Talarius has always been to uphold a tight maintenance regime and ensure all their machines are up and running again quickly and with minimal hassle. Just one malfunctioning slot machine is a perforation through which the company’s income will fall.

The paper method

Before Tesseract were welcomed into the fold, Talarius operated a much more manual system. If a fault occurred in one of their slot machines, staff at the venue would enter the fault in a logbook. Talarius’ engineers would attend each venue daily on a circuit, check the logbook and endeavour to fix any machines that needed their attention.

In terms of monitoring the performance of the engineers and tracking parts required for repairs, Talarius relied on weekly emails and order forms from the engineers

In terms of monitoring company efficiency in remedying problems, Talarius was reliant on calling each venue daily for an update as to any faults resolved or reported the previous day. They would then record this on a spreadsheet. In terms of monitoring the performance of the engineers and tracking parts required for repairs, Talarius relied on weekly emails and order forms from the engineers. The order forms specified what parts had been ordered and when. The emails detailed how many faults the engineer had repaired that week, how long each repair had taken, and how long the engineer had taken to get to the venue. In other words, monitoring depended solely on the subjective views of the engineers, conveyed through handwritten notes and tick boxes on bits of paper, rather than an objective, centralised, tech-based system.

“We decided we needed to be more efficient,” says Paul Monkman, Service Director of Talarius. “We are a service company after all. We wanted to make the way we operate the best it could be. If we did that, we could more easily make the service we provide to our customers the best it could be, too.”

Time for a change

Realising they needed to take a giant leap into the 21st century, Talarius put out a request for tender, looking for a service company to revolutionise their systems. Five companies bid for the contract, but Talarius chose Tesseract because they were willing to customise their service management software package to fit with Talarius’ systems and specific needs.

“Tesseract were the best fit,” says Monkman. “We operate slightly differently from other service companies, and Tesseract were willing to accommodate that and offer a tailored approach to our needs.”

These operational differences mainly concern the ordering of parts. Other companies have warehouses and parts centres from which they regularly order the parts they need, and supervisors in charge of the ordering process. But Talarius engineers are allowed to order their own parts from the most cost effective supplier. Tesseract have within their parts centre module a facility for the office to centrally control purchase orders based on field requirements. However, Talarius only wanted facilities to be able to track the parts ordered directly by the engineers. Tesseract were able to accommodate this, providing a system whereby a number is generated each time a part is ordered, allowing Talarius to track and monitor it.

How have things changed?

The way Talarius deploy their engineers has changed completely. What’s now in place is a browser-based web portal to which all of the gaming centre venues have access. When a fault occurs in one of the slot machines, the venue can log the fault online. Their engineers receive notification of these faults by way of an Android-based app on their mobile phones. Furthermore, the faults are graded in terms of priority, and the more profitable venues will get attention quicker.

Monkman says, “Instead of the logbook, which didn’t get seen until the engineers had done their rounds, now the venues can report faults online within ten seconds – which goes directly to the engineers. It’s very user-friendly and practically fool-proof! Perfect for a company that has a wide variety of computer skill levels.”

Instead of the logbook, which didn’t get seen until the engineers had done their rounds, now the venues can report faults online within ten seconds – which goes directly to the engineers

The new system is capable of cutting the standard delay that was an inevitable component of the old system; each venue would have to wait for their daily visit, coming at whatever stage that venue was placed on the engineer’s circuit. It also means engineers can get to the higher-priority sites quicker than the old circuit system would have allowed.

Regarding parts ordering, the engineers now use the apps on their phones to generate a part request number. The engineer will call their chosen supplier directly, and Talarius will use the part request number to track the item.

“We tried to implement a system whereby parts could be ordered automatically, but it proved problematic,” says Monkman. “It could get messy if our engineers needed to discuss the part they needed, or ask the supplier a question. Our engineers are happy to continue managing parts directly at their end, and we are happy at our end because we now have the facility to track the part.”

Rather than compiling weekly emails with estimates of their own timings and performance, the system is now based on entries made by the venue and engineers and will calculate the timings exactly. The new software gives the length of time between dispatch and attendance, timings for completion of repairs, whether any faults are recurring, and whether a machine is waiting for parts.

“We now have a system that’s both real-time and better at monitoring faults and engineer performance,” says Monkman. “We have streamlined the process, made it more efficient, and we now have information we never had before. Our engineers like it because it backs up their work and saves them paperwork.”

A better service

Talarius are in a much better position than they were before entering into a partnership with Tesseract. Tesseract’s service management software has given them enormous visibility. They now know what is going on at their venues and with their engineers without the time-lag of their old system. With a part, they know who ordered it, when it was ordered and dispatched, and when the part arrived. Profiling faults and remedying them on a priority basis means that the venues are better served and machine profits have gone up.

“We can now be more reactive to problems,” says Monkman. “The accuracy and visibility of the system also means our engineers do a better job, and do it quicker. Adding it all up, it means Talarius is able to offer a better, more efficient service to its customers.”

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