This is the incredible statistic that US water utilities organisation Fort Bend County Municipal Utility District No. 25(FBCM25) announced after they eliminated a paper-based workflow and moved to work with Motion Computing’s J3500 Tablet PCs
Now they are fully equipped with the J3500 Tablet PCs, FBCM25 is not only benefitting from using the technology onsite at their sewage and drainage facilities but also in the field as mobile workforce carry out meter readings, inspections and repairs.
“We’ve gone from a manual paper process to a greener, paperless environment,” said Steve Kim, director, information technology, FBCM25. “Now, the Field Operations’ workflow depends on completely electronic service orders, which can be created, sent, uploaded and processed in real time. All the information collected in the field feeds back to the central database and updates the billing software in real time, meaning our billing department has access to the same information.”
A key benefit of using Tablet PCs (or any form of mobile hardware) is that the process happens in real time while the field staff is are on the actual job site. This has allowed FBCM25 to cut out unnecessary tasks, resulting in a boost in efficiency and a reduction of man hours dedicated to each job. Another advantage that FBCM25 are finding is that the billing department is now able to update and dispatch new service orders throughout the day as and when they come in from the field staff who no longer need to return to base to file the orders. Again this has resulted in significant increases in the numbers of jobs undertaken each day.
Leonela Ruvalcaba, manager, billing and collections, FBCM25, notes, “The Field Operations team, billing department and customers benefit from the real-time access to information and improved collaboration. With the paper process, if a customer called and inquired about their service, the billing department provided the information the next day at the earliest. Now, the billing staff is able to research anything the customer wants to know while still on the phone.”
Taking care of the environment is also an important initiative for FBCM25. The District regularly develops new programs and works to educate customers on ways to reduce, reuse and recycle as well as conserve water. According to Kim, “FBCM25 is responsible for increasing awareness and finding new ways to reduce our footprint. We were able to lead by example and eliminate a paper-based workflow with the Motion Tablet PCs, while reducing vehicle miles, which validates our commitment to being green, saving over 7,000 pieces of paper a year on service orders alone.”
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