Communication is the key

Posted on 7 May 2008 by The Manufacturer

Cognito explains the importance of communications technology in achieving a world class service level

A core business objective for Avery Weigh-Tronix is to maintain and take advantage of a UK-based flexible manufacturing operation. With many of its competitors off-shoring manufacture to areas of lower labour cost such as China, Avery has the opportunity to use its shorter supply chain to outmanoeuvre its competition; tailoring and delivering solutions to exacting customer requirements while its competitors’ ‘good enough’ products are still at sea.

Avery has applied its philosophy of “taking the waste out of waiting” across its entire value chain, and a critical element has been communication with field workers. Rapid response to service requests is an integral part of an end-to-end dedication to the customer. Getting the right technician in the right place with the correct parts in the shortest possible time is a big challenge, but in solving it, Avery is able to offer a level of service to match its world class flexible manufacturing.

To achieve its desired customer service levels, Avery is investing £3 million in communications technology, and has turned to mobile workforce management solutions specialist Cognito for key elements of its solution.

Like Avery, Cognito is a UK company, with all of its own development and customer service resources located Newbury, Berkshire. With nearly 20 years experience and over 150 successful mobile application projects behind it, Cognito designs, develops, deploys and supports end-to-end real-time data solutions, working with customers over the course of a contract in a continual improvement and development process.

In order to maximise the efficiency of the field technicians, Cognito and Avery worked together to take advantage of the latest advances in mobile applications, coupled with real-time data communications, tracking and scheduling.

Customer and service information is captured on a PDA using straightforward forms developed in Cognito’s FormsPlus workflow application. Mobile communication including job assignment is managed by Cognito’s TaskManager application and location data is logged by a Cognito GPS receiver in the technician’s vehicle. Real-time data is exchanged with Avery’s data centre using Cognito’s managed data service.

Real-time managed data is key to Avery’s solution because it ensures that the up-to-the-minute information that is vital to the efficient working of Avery’s scheduling software is sent and received in the field. At any time, Avery knows the exact location of all its engineers, and their progress with their assigned work. This makes it possible for Avery to react to evolving customer support requirements in the most efficient way possible, allowing them to offer superior SLAs to customers for both planned and reactive maintenance.

In addition to the development of new mobile workforce management applications, Cognito has integrated its solution with Avery’s pre-existing ERP systems to ensure that reworked business process is mirrored by an end-to-end IT solution.

“No one can compete with us in terms of the breadth and scope of our portfolio, backed by world class service capabilities,” says Peter Slack, operations director of Avery. “Creating smarter solutions is where we see our future, and Cognito is very much part of that,” he concluded.

(Published on behalf of COGNITO LIMITED)