MINNEAPOLIS-Honeywell Automation & Control Solutions has become the first national building systems service organization to implement field automation technology, providing its technicians with hand-held computers that it says will automate dispatching and record-keeping and improve overall service quality. Reflecting an accelerating trend toward automating field service management, Honeywell’s Minneapolis-based business unit is equipping 1,400 North American building systems service technicians with hand-held computers.

The units communicate with other Honeywell entities using radio frequency andsatellite communications technologies. While regional contractors have implemented field automation technology, Honeywell says it is the first building systems service firm to invest in this technology on a North American scale.

“These enhancements significantly increase our ability to provide customers with prompt service, repairs that are done right the first time and up-to-date, accurate information about their Honeywell service and equipment status,” says John Selldorff, president, ACSService.

Honeywell also is providing its building systems service customers with online access to their Honeywell service information, enabling them to place online service requests and access work orders, service histories and service contract details.

Selldorff says the moves reflect his company’s commitment to apply web-enabled digitization strategies to increase its productivity and better serve its customers.

Among the advantages:

* Faster response. Instead of dispatchers paging the technician with a service call and waited for a return call, now they a message to the hand-held unit containing all the information the technician needs for the job.

* Enhanced service quality. The technician can use the hand-held unit to access a customer’s service history, and provides detailed checklists.

* Streamlined record keeping. The new system replaces paperwork with electronic records, slashing the administrative steps between work completion and invoicing from 17 to three. The electronic process also cuts the billing cycle from weeks to just a few days, increasing Honeywell’s cash flow.

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