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EDS go paperless with the SolarSys Quality Assurance System — running on pocket PC devices and using barcode scanning to manage assets.

 
With so many business functions today being subcontracted, the responsibility of some departments in local authorities and private businesses has shifted in recent years from the previous direct delivery of services to the current and future monitoring of subcontractor performance and customer satisfaction. The introduction of a comprehensive quality assurance system for efficiently collecting, collating and reporting performance data is now essential for managing subcontractors within an outsource contract if a high quality service is to be maintained.

A comprehensive quality assurance system used for monitoring customer satisfaction and managing contractor performance needs to address the following areas:
  • Customer site audit and feedback to customer
  • Customer complaint acknowledgement, feedback and follow up
  • Reporting problems to contractor
  • Issuing reminders and contract notices to contractor
  • Providing remedial action plans to customer
  • Following up with contractor and customer to confirm resolution
  • Issuing specific incident and monthly reports
  • Monitoring overall contractor performance against contracted service levels
The flow diagram below shows a typical quality assurance system workflow:


SolarSys Quality Assurance System Overview

The SolarSys Quality Assurance System is a fully functional database, workflow and reporting system that can operate on the Council's existing PCs and servers.

The system provides:

  • Entry, storage, search and display of customer, contract and contractor information
  • Integration and cross referencing of related information
  • A diary system and associated task scheduler to support workflow
  • Synchronisation with applications operating on handheld devices
  • Automatic generation of template letters and emails
  • Management reports in word or excel
  • Multi-user and group working
  • Multi-layered access with read and write security
  • A history of all transactions made
  • Import and export to and from other database systems
In an implementation these core functions can be tailored to the specific requirements to, for example:
  • Schedule customer site audits and provide feedback to customers by automatically issuing template letters (perhaps by email) that include the specific observations and problems arising from the audit
  • Logging customer complaints and automatically issuing an acknowledgement letter to the customer and a problem report to the contractor with associated demand for resolution
  • Automatically schedule follow up phone calls or reminder notices to the contractor to ensure that problems are not overlooked but are resolved according to contractual commitments
  • Logging remedial action plans provided by the contractor and automatically forwarding such details to the customer
  • Automatically invoke agreed escalation procedures with the contractor and issue penalty notices as appropriate
  • Automatically produce and distribute monthly reports to all customer sites (by email)
  • Monitoring and reporting overall contractor performance against contracted service level
Quality Assurance on a Customer Site

With PC technology now available in handheld devices, the SolarSys Quality Assurance System can be extended for use on customer sites and synchronised with the central database on return to the office or even in real time using mobile networking. The following table outlines some of the main benefits of such a system when used for quality auditing compared to traditional paper base (clipboard) methods.

Function Clipboard Handheld PC
Scheduling A separate system is required to schedule audits and record when completed Scheduling and recording quality audits are integrated system features
Referencing previous audits Relies on an efficient paper filing system and remembering to take copies of previous audit(s) to site All previous audit results are available on the device
Site specific procedures Relies on personal knowledge of auditor to carry out specific procedures Specific instructions can be integrated into the system for on-site guidance to the auditor
Recording results of the audit Easy to use but not pre-filled with specific customer details Easy to use and specific customer details pre-filled automatically
Customer perception Legacy paper based system, indicating inefficient or ineffective quality improvement procedures State of the art computerised system indicating a focus on quality improvement procedures
Follow up Relies on effective personal organisation of the individual auditor to follow up on agreed actions Integrated workflow system allows auditor to assign tasks while still on site for action by the appropriate personnel
Analysis Labour intensive process to analyse results and report overall performance and trends Specific and overall performance and trend analysis reports available to support discussions with customers and subcontractors
The SolarSys Quality Assurance System uses the HP iPAQ h4350 Pocket PC but will work on any Pocket PC platform. This model was chosen because it has a built-in keyboard and integrated Bluetooth® technology and WiFi (WLAN 802.11b) wireless capabilities. A barcode scanning capability can also be added.

The Pocket PC runs Microsoft® Windows® Mobile™ 2003 Software for Pocket PC (Premium Edition) and is supplied with Microsoft Outlook. The SolarSys quality audit application has been designed to run under this operating system and therefore benefits from any upgrades that are introduced by Microsoft and HP.

Many of the standard features of the SolarSys Quality Assurance System can be adopted directly by your company. Additional functionality specific to your business can be rapidly added to the system using the SolarSys Recommended Approach to system implementation.

For more information contact Simon Taylor on 07886 221005 or send an email to sales@solarsysconsulting.com