David Cochran, Allied Toyota Lift COO, Featured in The MHEDA Journal
January 24th, 2018 - David Cochran discusses Allied's paperless service system
David Cochran, Allied Toyota Lift COO, was recently featured as a guest writer for The MHEDA Journal. In the First Quarter 2018 edition, David discusses the benefits of Allied Toyota Lift's paperless service system.
"MHEDA: Has your company considered converting to a paperless or cloud-based system? If so, what successes and challenges have you faced implementing it?
David Cochran: In early 2017, Allied Toyota Lift completed implementation of a mobile paperless service system. This has been a real success for our aftermarket operations which has resulted in enhanced customer service, improved productivity, and reduced costs.
The system that we implemented runs on a tablet with a cell connection to our business system in the home office. The basic functionality provided is as follows.
- Work orders are opened in the office and assigned to specific technicians.
- The work order along with instructions from the office appears on the technician's tablet.
- The technician locates the unit and reviews information on their tablet such as ownership, service history, previous hour readings, warranty expiration, maintenance contract details, etc. and goes to work.
- If the work order is a PM, then the technician chooses pre-loaded statements that describe the reason for service, the diagnosis, and the work performed.
- The technician accesses the parts inventory for their van on the tablet and enters the quantity for any parts. Any request for additional parts is entered in the tablet and immediately shows up on a screen in the parts department. The part is set aside for technician pickup after being pulled from inventory or ordered if not stocked.
- A print preview of the work order document is reviewed with the customer. Feedback regarding any repair recommendations is documented and the customer signs on the tablet.
- Time is automatically tracked by the system and added to the work order, including a breakdown of travel versus onsite time.
- The work order is closed by the technician, immediately shows up in the office, and review/billing begins.
- The final work order is automatically emailed to the customer and any quote requests are automatically communicated to the service writer.
After several months of management planning and set up, we implemented the system gradually over about six months. In each branch, we trained groups of about four technicians in two hour sessions per week for three weeks. They were given homework assignments to complete between sessions, were encouraged to practice in real life on the work they were performing, and then went "live" when they were comfortable. As one might expect, there was a wide distribution of computer skills among our technicians...but each of them mastered use of the system.
Our entire mobile technician crew is now using the system. The benefits? We have reduced the average time from work completion to billing by over four days. Our labor efficiency has increased by almost 10%. We have reduced parts inventory on our vans. We are wasting less time on the telephone. We have improved warranty recovery. We make more repairs on a single visit. The office is spending almost no time entering labor and parts.
And best of all, there is no paperwork to get lost.
The initiative to go paperless and leverage systems to achieve higher levels of coordination and efficiency within our dealership and the entire dealer network is advocated and supported by our main OEM Partner, which has been helpful to gain broader adoption. Has there been a lot of hard work, investment in hardware and connectivity, resistance to "change," and errors to address due to learning curves? You better believe it...but, for us, it has been worth it!"
For the full article, click here.
MHEDA is the official journal of the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association.