Here is how an air conditioning and commercial refrigeration company improved customer engagement by deploying a remote monitoring and control system.
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With an annual revenue of over 510 million USD, Blue Star is one of India’s renowned air conditioning and commercial refrigeration company. It has a network of five modern manufacturing facilities and 35 branch offices, with 2300 employees, 2200 dealers, and 600 retailers.
Blue Star designs, manufactures, sells, and services a range of HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) equipment, which range from small residential units to large industrial units. Its integrated business model of a manufacturer, contractor, and after-sales service provider enables it to offer an end-to-end solution to its customers.
Blue Star, with qualified and trained engineers and a wide network of channel partners, carries out maintenance and breakfix services across the country. These technicians work round the clock to carry out essential services and maintenance.
Previously, whenever a problem is being reported, technicians from the nearest branch or dealer used to travel to the customer location to identify, diagnose and initiate remedial work. In some cases, the travel time could take as long as 10 to 12 hours, depending on availability of the nearest technician. Consequently, the operation was both costly and inefficient.
We were looking for an automated process for managing our field workforce and customer sites to improve accountability, enhance productivity and cut down on cost.
The company needed a comprehensive system that could continuously monitor technicians and customer site issues, and automatically send alerts to the service team at the back office.
According to Suresh Iyer, CIO at Blue Star Ltd., there was a need to address the customer service delivery issue, along with reducing operating costs and downtime, improving service delivery index and addressing issues proactively and faster.
“We were looking for an automated process for managing our field service and customer sites to improve accountability, enhance productivity and cut down on cost,” says Iyer. “Ensuring optimum efficiency of our technicians and uptime of customer sites is a very important capability for businesses like us.”
While looking for a comprehensive customer service delivery management solution, Blue Star created a mechanism to securely connect all HVACs with a cloud server, and integrate machine and sensor data with core business processes and applications. The result was rView remote monitoring and control system, which was best suited to their needs.
Using the rView remote monitoring and control system, the company’s onsite service delivery model was transformed into a hybrid of remote and onsite service delivery model. The GPRS-based information transmission technology helped the company to remotely monitor its equipment and technicians. This solution ensured a faster response time and a higher uptime for the organization.
Our service team can now continually monitor the performance of the equipment from a central command center.
Based on the data acquired, the team can also predict the complaints that might arise due to the abnormal functioning of the equipment and also help in providing tips to the customer to improve the functioning of the equipment.
“Our service team can now continually monitor the performance of the equipment from a central command center, and can exploit the insights gained to create an even better customer experience,” says Iyer.
He further adds, “The transformed system can also be used for other services such as energy management, billing-by-usage, product performance reports for sales and customers, and product quality check for R&D and manufacturing.”
Despite having challenges like legacy equipment, a huge amount of data to map, and GPRS connectivity on all the sites, Blue Star managed to connect its equipment to a central command centre, within six months.
“The solution has also paved the way for a number of initiatives related to product and service innovation, to further leverage the ISMAC technologies,” adds Iyer. The solution also helped the company reduce service delivery costs.
By remotely monitoring and servicing any central air conditioning system, Blue Star is confident of significantly increasing its business productivity. Some major benefits include lower labor costs, prolonging equipment life, preventing unplanned downtime, and more. Iyer says, “By tying the equipment directly to the network, we managed to lower our costs and improve overall customer service.”
“We can now send online alerts to customers as well as the service engineers to notify them about any issue in the system, which in turn helps in ensuring timely resolution of any problem.” says Iyer.
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