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Chubb Fire and Security: Where there is smoke, there is now automation

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Chubb Fire and Security: Where there is smoke, there is now automationChubb Australia is part of UTC Fire and Security, a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX) business unit, which provides fire safety and security solutions to more than one million customers around the world. UTC Fire and Security employs over 50,000 people in 30 countries and is headquartered in Connecticut, USA. Chubb has offices and service centres in all capital cities and most major regional centres throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Chubb Fire and Security are one of the largest Fire System service providers in Australia. They work with customers ranging from small stores within a shopping centre, right up to multi-site national customers.

To enhance operations within their Fire and Security division, Chubb's General Manager of Service Delivery and Strategy, Jody Blinco, was tasked with finding and integrating a technology solution nation-wide, which would make data more readily available in real time and provide better visibility across the work of its Fire and Security technicians.

Paper and customer service don’t mix

One of the major motivators within Chubb to move towards complete field data mobility came from the desire to better service their customers, by being able to quickly and regularly inform them of the status of their fire and safety testing and compliancy. This would have been very difficult to achieve under the old paper-based system.

Chubb was able to exceed original expectations in meeting customer needs by developing electronic forms tailored to individual clients that could be easily accessed on the Intermec handheld computer. This allowed them to secure customers that highly regarded Chubb's ability to deliver data to them electronically within their existing form templates.

This drastically reduced the number of steps involved as technicians could enter live information as they worked straight to the customer form on the device, avoiding any duplication back in the office. This immediately available electronic information led to the creation of a customer portal offering real-time information, which wasn't something Chubb had contemplated as a possibility when moving to field service automation.

"The handheld gives us the capability to do more than just take our orders and deliver a base level of services. It allows us to go above and beyond for the customer, and also comes associated with a whole range of automation benefits," said Jody Blinco.

One stop shop automation

As Tony Repaci, Intermec's Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand explained, the advantages of automation through use of handheld devices also included their intrinsically safe components across a mixed fleet of devices, which perfectly fit Chubb's field purpose and operating environment.

"A number of Chubb's technicians work across hazardous environments – refineries, coal mines, gas plants – that demand the highest safety rating alongside product ruggedness. This was one of the deciding factors that led to Chubb choosing Intermec's CN3 and CN4, as they could be relied upon in any environment, avoiding any need for their technicians to return to doing part paperwork, part electronic work, and offering Chubb the best return on investment."

Another factor that added to the device passing the all-rounder test was that all information about the sites Chubb technicians went to could be on hand at any given time. This might include notes about who to talk to or important contact numbers for the site. Through the messaging tool, technicians could download what had happened and who was on the site recently.

For bigger customers, who had unique needs for entering a site, technicians previously had to carry a big folder in their truck. Chubb can now better cater to the needs of these customers, by having these detailed instructions stored in an electronic document linked to the job file on the handheld device.

Additionally, when technicians go to a job at, for example, a mine site that has 2,000 fire extinguishers spread across the site, they can scan a barcode to find a particular extinguisher in the list and check it off electronically. In this instance the handheld is saving them time and leaving little room for error in data recording.

Automation offers workforce visibility

Under the old paper-based system Chubb technicians would get a call from the office and have to take down notes of where they needed to go. They would then go out to the testing location and fill out a triplicate type form. It often took a long time to get this paperwork back to the office. Technicians could possibly forget to bring their paperwork in, causing delays in this information being entered into the system.

"It's obviously more efficient for Chubb to have our technicians working out in the field as much as possible, as opposed to them being in the office duplicating information from paper in to the system," Jody said.

"With the new automated system technicians receive their work assignments on the handhelds, as well as track the work they have completed. This has boosted the amount of time our technicians are in the field, as well as the level of visibility and management we have of our workforce."

Mary Brittain-White, Managing Director of Retriever Communications, who was a partner in rolling out the new hardware said, "It is rare to see a national deployment of this size across such a broad geography. The organizational skill in the local Chubb division made our role as the hardware deployment partner both easy and successful."

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