Case Study – Vaillant VGSK Online

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Mobile app for iOS and Android that lets technicians log their service visits and upload data onto Vaillant’s system
Company Type
Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning technology
Location
Skalica, Slovakia
Challenge
Barcode scanning and internal backend integration as a embedded web application
Solution
Iteratively develop mobile application for iOS and Android
Outcome
Mobile apps helped to streamline processes and cement their commercial position

The Project – Create an app that lets heating technicians log servicing work.

Vaillant Group began in 1874 and has since become one of the largest heating and cooling products companies in Europe. Vaillant Group Slovakia works with almost 1200 contracted technicians who install and maintain its heating appliances, but they were still using nineteenth-century technology to log their 60,000 visits a year. It was a paper-based system, which meant that it was slow, prone to errors and not environmentally sustainable.

Aside from this, it was important to Vaillant Group Slovakia that every installation, annual inspection and repair was logged quickly and accurately because they can only extend customer warranties on boilers that have been serviced regularly.

App that lets heating technicians log servicing work

With all this in mind, we developed a phone app that lets technicians log their service visits and upload accurate data onto Vaillant’s system in minutes instead of days. Our solution slashed back office and technicians’ admin time by 80% and has spared the lives of quite a few trees as well.

Project Evolution

We began with a thorough investigation of the problem, established requirements for the solution and used this to map the scope of the project.

The customer told us they needed to reduce the time it took to process service logs, minimize back-office involvement and eliminate paper from the reporting process. They also wanted to be able to get in touch with technicians through the app and give them instant access to product information. The paper-based system was a bottleneck in the reporting process, and the app needed to replace it while adding communication functionality.

Customer Core Requirements

As one of the biggest providers of hot water and heating appliances in Europe, Vaillant Group Slovakia needed a design that would be easy to use for its field technicians. The phone app would need to be able to scan 1-D and 2-D barcodes, allow push notifications and integrate seamlessly with the internal backend.

Challenges

Technicians would frequently need to quickly scan 1D barcodes in low-light conditions, and the app would need to support as many iOS and Android devices as possible and make allowances for the fact that performance and camera quality can vary greatly between them. It would also need to support 2-D barcode scanning and integrate into the internal backend is an embedded web application. We needed to build in push notifications and would need to distribute the iOS app using the Apple Developer Enterprise Program, include automatic updates, and create an internal App Store for it.

Product development and technologies used

We developed the application iteratively, adding features like push notifications and 2D barcode scanning later.

Utilized technologies

  • Android app — Android SDK API 28
  • iPhone app — iOS SDK 8
  • API — Ruby on Rails 5.2

Creation: we built iOS and android versions.

1.

Mobile app for iOS and Android - Barcode scanning

2.

Mobile app for iOS and Android that lets technicians log their service visits and upload data onto Vaillant’s system

3.

Mobile app for iOS and Android - Barcode scanning tutorial

4.

Mobile app for iOS and Android that lets technicians log their service visits and upload data onto Vaillant’s system

What our customer say

Vaillant Group Slovakia were very happy with the results that our app brought to their business. It helped to streamline their processes and cement their commercial position.

The new app has given our company and our technicians a very efficient tool and it has become a benchmark in our industry, putting us far ahead of our competitors in this area. The success of the app comes from a combination of our detailed knowledge of our customers’ activities and the user-friendly design which Freevision developed. Their solution has helped us to significantly improve communication with our customers, which has been one of the key factors in maintaining our 50% market share.

Longer-term customer evaluation

Because of the way that the app is designed we can implement additional functions step by step. This sequential approach gives technicians time to learn how it works before moving on to additional functions as they become more familiar with it. We haven’t used any form of paper communications with technicians since January 2019.

After this success we thought that we could offer something similar for our customers too, so we asked Freevision to develop it. It’s called the Online Service Book, and it gives customers all the information they might need about their boiler, including contact details for their technicians and maintenance warnings. Now, more than 6000 customers are using this unique service.

Product Description

  • Mobile app for iOS and Android
  • Allows technician to scan appliance barcode and see:
    • service log of the appliance
    • warranty information
    • manuals
    • other important information
  • Supports scanning 1D and 2D barcode in low-light conditions and using phones with lower-quality cameras
  • App registers to developed API server to receive push notifications
  • Can receive push notifications sent by Vaillant back office