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Even Rugged Devices Get Run Over: Panasonic Helps Field Teams Avoid Downtime

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You’ve got workers in the field, with full schedules to complete by the end of the day. Customers are depending on them, and mobile technology enables them to complete all of their assigned calls efficiently, report the results, and move on. So it’s business as usual—until a device is left on the roof of a service vehicle about to head to the highway. With the tablet or handheld beneath the wheels of a truck and out of commission, productivity comes to a screeching halt. 

“If a field service device breaks, that’s eight or nine customers you don’t get to,” notes Jay Voorhies, National Sales Manager for Retail, Manufacturing and Field Service at Panasonic. That’s why Panasonic’s repair and replacement services are so valuable; the 24-hour hot swap exchange means a pre-configured replacement device arrives within one day.

As field services organizations depend more and more heavily on mobile devices and applications, the possibility of downtime has become the Achilles’ heel of the industry. And it happens a lot; according to VDC, a mobile device failure in the field result in an average of 140 minutes of lost productivity, but depending on the situation, it could be much more. And time, of course, is money. 

Instead of trying to deal with these issues internally, more and more field services organizations are turning to outside providers of professional services. Panasonic’s ProServices include deployment support, repair and replacement, mobile application support, and mounting installation support. Today, many IT teams are choosing third-party providers to manage their field team’s devices, provide insight into service issues, and support operations such as implementing a help desk.

“Often, field services organizations don’t have the internal resources to effectively deploy, manage and support devices in the field,” says Voorhies. “Panasonic ProServices helps reduce ownership costs by extending refresh cycles and keeping field workers more productive.”

Eastern Propane & Oil chose to use Panasonic ProServices deployment support to help roll out Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 rugged tablets to its fuel delivery personnel and service technicians in the field. The ProServices team was able to optimize Eastern Propane’s server and create a custom Toughpad build that enabled it to set up multiple tablets concurrently. Ultimately, Eastern Propane was able to deploy the same number of tablets in one day that used to take a couple weeks.

One of the most important services a field organization can consider is life cycle consulting. With ProServices’ consulting, field service organizations can take advantage of Panasonic engineers’ experience with a large array of hardware options and extensive experience meeting customers’ implementation challenges.  

Consulting starts with a system assessment and worker ride along, where a Panasonic mobility expert observes workers in the field to recommend process improvements and mounting solutions.

“Starting with consulting is an important first step that can save a lot of time and improve productivity down the road,” says Walt Chantlos, National Sales Manager for ProServices at Panasonic. “Nothing replaces a thorough accounting of how your field workers operate in the field and then tailoring a solution that best enables them to be most efficient.”

Extending your team with the right mix of services is a great way to make sure you have the right technology for the job, speed up deployment, and ensure uninterrupted productivity.

“Any time you have to deal with deployment, troubleshooting or reduced productivity due to malfunctioning devices is time away from the business,” Chantlos says. “Your limited IT resources should be focused on more strategic initiatives. That’s the value of ProServices.”

Download new research on how field service companies can use technology to improve customer satisfaction.