More than eight years ago, Artic Building Services decided to incorporate Tesseract’s service management software into their core services and company operations. It’s a partnership that’s gone from strength to strength ever since.
Founded in 1998, Artic Building Services specialise in providing engineering solutions for building services within the public and private sectors. They provide heating, ventilation, air conditioning, electrical, plumbing and security systems, major refurbishment works and even gardening services. Their broad base of customers ranges from large, multiple site hospitals and universities with residential engineers to small, single sites serviced by mobile teams.
Artic utilise the expertise of a vast workforce, including more than 50 field engineers, engineering managers, help desk operatives, accountants and secretaries. While they pride themselves in their diverse human skill set, what makes the whole operation run smoothly and efficiently is their computerised service management system – courtesy of Tesseract Service Centre.
Looking back – the old system!
Artic are responsible for looking after a full range of mechanical and electrical assets in the buildings of more than two hundred clients nationally. They deal with problems and breakdowns in air conditioning units, boilers, chillers and electrical, water and sanitation systems, and perform regular maintenance.
Eight years ago, before Tesseract came on board, Artic arranged and organised the attendance of their engineers manually.
“We wanted to be more efficient and develop with the ISO 9001 standards,” says Donna Peacock, Operations Manager of Artic Building Services. “We were seeking new clients, and certain companies wanted to know why we were better. They wanted to see it. Tesseract gave us the edge we needed to rise above our competitors.”
The Tesseract integration – the early days!
Clients would notify Artic of problems by phoning or emailing their office. Artic would then look at paper maps and telephone their engineers, deploying them on the basis of who was closest and their skill level.
Artic would log on to Tesseract’s browser-based web portal and record the call out. Numbers and timings generated by Tesseract Service Centre would allow Artic to track and monitor the status of the job. But manual operations and copious paperwork were still big features of the way Artic managed their functions.
We needed to completely streamline our processes for the benefit of both our clients and our engineers.
“At that stage, Tesseract helped us track what was going on with a job and created purchase orders,” says Donna Peacock. “We required more from the database. We needed to completely streamline our processes for the benefit of both our clients and our engineers. Tesseract have accommodated that need. Over the years they have moulded their services to fit our requirements.”
Next Steps – Remote Engineer Access!
A revolutionary overhaul of Artic’s field processes came with the introduction of Tesseract’s Remote Engineer Access. Artic phased out the use of Field Service Report Pads and rolled out Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) to their engineers instead. PDAs allow the engineers to log in remotely, view calls for dispatch, enter their service reports, raise parts requests and close completed jobs, amongst other functions. Engineers can also access Artic’s task list, namely the serialised products they are required to maintain.
This is where Artic encountered their first hurdle with the initial PDA models that were supplied.
“Our engineers do have problems with signal whilst working on their allocated jobs,” says Peacock. “This means they had trouble getting online to record the data they needed to on the old devices. We needed them to be able to work offline.”
So Tesseract developed a system that allowed Artic’s engineers to work offline, and a new, more advanced line of devices was rolled out. Now their engineers can work in completely signal-less areas and still log all their information, which is then recorded onto the system as soon as signal is restored.
“Some of our engineers loved the PDAs,” says Peacock. “Some took a bit longer to adjust. But now 98% of our engineers use the devices, and they’ve been really successful. Engineers can now have a job completed, invoiced and closed down in the same day, when before, using the paper system, it used to take a week. Sometimes a week and a half. The PDAs have made life at Artic so much easier and more efficient, which in turn means we’re able to better serve our clients.”
In addition, the ability to attach core Artic health, safety and industry compliance paperwork to a given job has reduced bureaucracy within the helpdesk. The process has given clients compliant, fluid and real-time data capture for their sites.
Clients can log onto the Tesseract system and enter the fault – be it a broken tap, a malfunctioning air conditioning unit or a toilet that won’t flush
Further integration of Tesseract’s service management software now allows Artic to use satellite navigation to deploy their engineers. It means they are able to identify any traffic issues and warn their engineers accordingly, which was impossible when they relied on paper maps.
Artic also use Tesseract’s Customer Asset Management tools and Parts Centre to monitor and maintain their client’s assets and generate purchase orders for parts. They use Tesseract’s Quote Centre to log quotes for potential new clients, enter client data and convert accepted quotes into new contracts, which are also managed through Tesseract.
Finally, Artic have developed a number of different reports within Tesseract. These help them with auditing and reporting to the Board on key commercial orders such as invoicing, sales, quoted further works, budgets, outstanding calls, profit and loss, outstanding calls and new sales prospects.
As Artic are a service company, their driving force – and the key to their success – is to keep improving the way they operate. Currently they are looking into several features they would like to incorporate into their operations. These include automated email reports to clients when jobs are complete, and to managers so they know which jobs are outstanding.
They are also looking to make some tweaks to their task or asset list, and introduce a system for tracking and monitoring their fleet of vehicles.
“At present we are maintaining our vehicles by looking at a spreadsheet,” says Peacock. “We’d like to streamline this. We’d like to make sure all our vehicles are serviced, safe and up to spec through a live system instead. It’s one of the many things we’re looking into to make our processes even better than they are.”
A System That Works!
Over the past eight years, Artic have come to rely quite heavily on Tesseract, and their processes, output and customer service have continued to develop and improve as a result.
“The Tesseract system is not the only computerised service management system we have in place,” says Peacock. “But it is the hub of all our systems. We call it the ‘Alpha’.”
Tesseract’s service management software has now been a part of Artic for so long that Tesseract refer their new clients to Artic so they can see the entire system at work. Peacock says, “We will happily give them a demonstration. Show them why Tesseract are such an invaluable aid to any service company’s operations.”