Mobile Applications Case Study
Advanced Digital Security Speeds Up Cash Flow with Real-Time Ticket Tracking Solution (Cont'd)
With real-time mobile forms, we can now invoice our customers daily, which has significantly improved our cash flow and accounts receivable turnover by, on average, eight days.”
David Disher, President, Advanced Digital Security
About Advanced Digital Security
Advanced Digital Security Facts
Automate manual ticketing process
ProntoFormsTM from AT&T running on smartphones for real-time field ticket collection and processing over the AT&T wireless network
Faster invoicing; improved cash flow; faster accounts receivable turnover; greater productivity
Digital closed circuit monitoring systems for business enterprises
Advanced Digital Security (ADS) provides digital closed circuit monitoring (CCTV) systems for its commercial, industrial and retail customers − from large, national chains to smaller, local stores. Headquartered in Dayton, Ohio with another location in Roanoke, Virginia, the company’s technicians install and service CCTV systems that complement customers’ efforts to secure workplace environments such as offices, entry areas, parking lots and more.
ADS technicians completed paper tickets detailing work activities at the conclusion of customer installations and service calls. At the end of each week, they would submit all tickets to the office manager for invoicing. Since some tickets might be missing or delayed, this resulted in a slow invoicing process.
ADS has improved its invoicing process by taking its paper forms and making them mobile with ProntoForms from AT&T running on smartphones and the AT&T wireless network. Technicians now complete and transmit electronic tickets back to headquarters immediately after finishing each installation or service call. ADS can invoice customers the same day as when the service is provided, resulting in improved cash flow and faster accounts receivable turnover by, on average, eight days. All tickets and information are captured easily and accurately when technicians use ProntoForms, thus, improving productivity and avoiding lost revenue.
With several years of experience in the security industry, David Disher started Advanced Digital Security (ADS) in 2005. Disher, an entrepreneur with both technology and customer service know-how, manages ADS from a different vantage point than most in this highly competitive industry.
Using ProntoForms, companies have a powerful opportunity to benefit from automated processes and information."
David Disher, President, Advanced Digital Security
“Customers need security ‘solutions’ – not simply systems,” said Disher. “Each customer has different needs and concerns. So we have to be flexible enough to customize a system that truly helps each customer with his business goals of theft prevention and employee safety.”
While most ADS competitors offer large portfolios of systems and services, Disher decided to focus on doing one thing really well– installing and servicing CCTV solutions.
“We have little or no tolerance when it comes to installation errors leading to a system’s down time,” said Disher. “That’s why we employ and train our own technicians to ensure the needed quality control.” ADS not only manages ‘what’ is installed; the company manages ‘how’ it is installed for reliability. In some cases, ADS customers have their own installation specifications that must be met. “Our most effective key to success is promising a solution and then over-delivering - everything and more than what the customer asked for.”
Weekly and monthly schedules are developed based on planned installations; yet revisions are inevitable with unexpected service calls from customers. “Our technicians’ work loads vary from day-to-day,” Disher explained. “When any service issue comes in from a customer, we aim to respond within 48 hours. If a security system isn’t working, our customer is vulnerable – something we work to minimize with our goal of quick response.”
Having knowledgeable, cross-trained technicians helps Disher juggle the installation and service needs of ADS customers. “I can plan to a certain point, but I need our crews to be very adaptable,” said Disher. “They may work through the night on an installation, yet come in a little earlier than planned to take care of some service calls. Helping them stay highly productive is critical for the health of our business. I’m always open to new ideas for improvement.”
So when his AT&T account manager introduced Disher to ProntoForms from AT&T, he was interested in learning more. A demonstration of the mobility application quickly showed how improvements could be made in the company’s installation and service processes – and, ultimately, in the productivity levels of technicians. “They demonstrated how we could design our own forms, and easily access any needed information from our field tickets,” said Disher. “I could immediately see the possibilities and benefits for our customers and technicians.”
Before using ProntoForms, a technician would complete a paper ticket at the conclusion of an installation or service call, providing work details for billing purposes. He kept his job tickets until the end of each week, and would then submit them all to the ADS office manager in Dayton for sorting, coding and invoicing. In the Virginia office, technicians would scan and fax tickets to the office manager. As back up for the faxed tickets, technicians mailed paper copies of all tickets at the end of each week.
“We process 40 to 50 tickets each week,” said Disher. “From our Virginia office, we were getting scans of most tickets, but some would be missing. We would have to take the additional step of comparing the hard copies with the scanned copies, which might be delayed since the hard copies would arrive about a week later. This obviously slowed our invoicing process. We were all spending too much time either scanning, mailing or reviewing tickets. It was a very onerous process, and I knew it would get worse as the company grew.”
Improving Cash Flow
Now ADS technicians use the ProntoForms mobile application on their smartphones to complete electronic tickets immediately after the work is completed. Transmitted over the AT&T wireless network, tickets are delivered to Disher and the office manager within minutes of each finished job. “With real-time mobile forms, we can now invoice our customers daily, which has significantly improved our cash flow and accounts receivable turnover by, on average, eight days,” said Disher.
Disher also finds that technicians more accurately report information about each job with ProntoForms. “Since the job’s details are ‘fresh’ in their minds, we now capture every ticket and every piece of information,” said Disher. “I’m more confident that we are not missing information for billing, which has certainly impacted our revenue.”
ADS technicians also appreciate the fact that they can complete their tickets immediately. “They can rest assured that all paperwork is in at the end of a long day or week,” said Disher. “While on the job, completing an electronic ticket takes about the same amount of time as completing a paper form. However, our technicians save time when they no longer need to do the back-end activities of scanning, mailing and filling in any information gaps for the office manager, when they occur.”
Empowering the Field
With training and help from AT&T and ProntoForms, Disher designed ADS forms to capture exactly what the company needed for invoicing and more. Processed tickets are now automatically archived in customer files on the ADS server for easy and quick access. “A technician can review past tickets for greater insight when servicing a customer. For example, he can examine how a customer’s system was installed and other details that may help him troubleshoot issues,” Disher explained.
And when one of its nationwide customers needed information for compliance with federal regulations, ADS could immediately respond by adding this required field to the customer’s form. Now ADS captures and reports this information to the customer. Disher added, “They were delighted that we could quickly accommodate their request. Using ProntoForms, we are able to provide the information they needed, thus enhancing our security solution for them.”
Since working with ProntoForms, ADS technicians now recommend new fields for ADS tickets that will capture information to help them on-the-job. “They call me from the field and say, ‘can we add this to the form?’” said Disher. “I bring up the ProntoForms application on my PC, add the field, tell him to refresh his device and it’s done within a couple of minutes.”
Disher believes most businesses with workers in the field can benefit from ProntoForms from AT&T. And for companies implementing the application, Disher has some specific ideas. “Using ProntoForms, companies have a powerful opportunity to benefit from automated processes and information. Sit down with your field workers and get their initial input about what information is needed when designing your forms. Then ask for their feedback as they use the forms to capture, transmit and mine the information. There is no substitute for getting feedback about the practical application of ProntoForms in the field. I consider all suggestions from my technicians since, 99 percent of the time, it’s great information to have and use for the benefit of our business and customers.”