Optimizing Field Force Operations

Optimizing Field Force Operations – A Solution for Today, a Strategy for Tomorrow


Field service operations is the backbone of all facilities-based communications service providers (CSPs). The effort to streamline this function has been constant since the first networks, more than a century ago. Over time, service providers found efficiencies through wireless communications. First, through the early two-way radio dispatch systems in the late 1940s; then, the first data dispatch computers of the 1970s. Mobile data handsets in the 1990s were followed by today’s high-speed, high-definition tablets. Through the software in them, and processes behind them, both have improved how quickly technicians respond, and how well-prepared they are when they arrive on the job site. CSPs must keep with tradition and endeavor to take field service operations to the next level, for three important reasons.


Source www.stratecast.com



Portech ties up stock take for 297 year old wire manufacturer Webster and Horsfall


Webster and Horsfall, a 297-year-old Birmingham company at the forefront of wire manufacturing, has transformed its stock taking with a new stock management system from mobile computer solutions provider Portech Systems.

Responsible for the first ever transatlantic cable and based in the city of Birmingham, Webster and Horsfall combines its wealth of experience with state of the art modern technology to manufacture and supply the highest quality wire products for a diverse range of applications such as shipping, mining, oil drilling, orthodontics and green energy.

While manufacturing will remain at the core of its business model, the company has started a new venture into the distribution of steel wire and wire rope. With over 5,000 items of stock and a new diversification strategy underway, Webster and Horsfall recognised that accuracy of stock was of increasing importance, and needed to transform its stock take to improve visibility of products for sales teams.

Portech’s dedicated mobile solutions team developed a bespoke and flexible software for data collection that supported Webster and Horsfall’s custom business practices and used specific terms relevant to its industry. To speed up the development process, Portech complemented the new software with some tried and trusted communications modules that its team had developed over the years.

The software was loaded onto durable, ruggedised mobile computers with handheld barcode scanners from Unitech. Portech specified and recommended the devices, which allowed both touch screen and keypad operation. Portech also provided durable labels and tags attached to the wires.

For power saving, Portech implemented an SDK from the hardware manufacturer to turn the barcode scanner on and off when not in use.

The new system was piloted before being rolled out. As expected there was some initial resistance, however Portech trained employees to demonstrate ease-of-use. Once the staff realised that data collection would no longer be an arduous task, and information was fed into the back-office system immediately, they embraced the system.


Robert Horsfall,   Director at Webster and Horsfall commented: “We selected Portech as it is an agile family run business, just like ours. The team is friendly and personable, and very knowledgeable. The offer of a bespoke and flexible solution was something that we had not believed was possible, but with Portech’s specialist help we have transformed our stocking processes, which are now accurate, quick and smooth.”

The new system is saving Webster and Horsfall both time and money. Whereas previously, the whole site shut down for five days during stock take, now the work has been reduced to two working days, and the success of the new system has enabled Webster and Horsfall to conduct quarterly counts, and a new system is also being put in place for perpetual counts.

Sales teams at the manufacturer also have increased visibility and can track products easily to respond to urgent calls. Webster and Horsfall is therefore able to offer its customers a better service as can turn around orders on a faster basis. For example, if a crane goes down on port or construction site, the manufacturer can now locate and ship products quicker than before, helping to keep customers happy and improve its reputation as a trusted supplier.

The system has been so successful that Webster and Horsfall is now working with Portech to conduct perpetual stock takes, with a new version of the software being developed for the hand scanners that automatically checks physical and system stock.

Rather that quarterly stocktaking, sample checks will be made every week, and this new system should be in place by the end of 2017, with employees currently relabelling all bins with bar codes.


Here are 7 bottom-line reasons why you should be making customer experiences remarkable and a few tips to help you do just that.

We all know the human condition is based on reciprocity; if you pass someone on the street and smile or head nod, you want a smile or head nod back. We’re social animals. Wethe-critical-role-of-field-service-management-in-customer-experience.png want to be acknowledged and treated well.

That’s the core of good customer service — but good customer experience, which involves a company really thinking about the different steps and touch points in a process, goes a few steps beyond that.

We put together The critical role of field service management in customer experience to showcase research around the topic, and to provide you with a baseline case for getting started on customer experience design (provided you haven’t yet) or furthering your existing efforts

You can download it — use it as a guidebook to the experience process and its value (the “why” of doing it), and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss how customer experience relates to field service even more.

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