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Panasonic Toughbook - The inseparable work companion of Barloworld Technicians

Discover how Barloworld, exclusive distributor of Hyster Forklifts, optimised its customer service and internal processes thanks to Toughbook.

The 58 Barloworld Handling technicians have been bringing along their Panasonic Toughbook CF-19s to customers since the beginning of 2011. Interventions are processed completely electronically, reducing the amount of manual
errors and processing information in more detail and much quicker. "Our technicians are our commodity," explains Bart Vanderkerckhove, Service Manager of Barloworld Handling in Belgium. "Therefore they deserve to have the best tools. By opting for reliable and efficient laptops, they can perform their jobs better and solve malfunctions quicker. The result: satisfied customers and satisfied employees. And that, in the end, was my goal."

However, the circumstances under which the Barloworld Handling technicians work required something different than a 'standard' laptop. The equipment had to be rugged, possess the most recent technology and long battery life, and they had to be user-friendly for both the technician and the customer. "After test-running several brands and checking the customers' responses, the rugged Toughbooks and Panasonic's years of experience managed to convince us."

Use under all conditions

One of the factors Barloworld Handling had to take into consideration was the very extreme conditions that technicians can find themselves in. Whether making a diagnosis during a severe thunderstorm or implementing maintenance or repair involving large amounts of oil and grease, the Toughbook offers the specialists a robust and reliable device which can withstand water, dust and rough working conditions. "Five months after the introduction of the Toughbooks, not a single problem has been reported up to this very moment." says Bart. 

Paperless interventions

In the past, technicians lost quite a bit of time due to the manual administration of an intervention: drafting work order forms and relaying orders, registering hours, maintaining vehicle stock or having the customer sign off on an order. The information could not be processed quickly, which kept the company lagging behind. "By sending our technicians down the electronic road, our processes have been standardised and our customers have more insight in reporting and invoicing. The large Toughbook screen immediately provides the customer with all the details regarding the performed maintenance or repair, which makes him feel better informed before having to sign something off. And the technician can quickly perform his intervention successfully as a result of the excellent wireless connection."

Efficient and quick repairs

Whether a technician has to work on a small forklift or large harbour equipment, his Toughbook continuously gives him access to the most recent technical information needed to quickly make a diagnosis. "A crucial factor in a market
where technology evolves faster than we can train our employees," Bart emphasises.

The choice of Toughbook CF-19s also helps the company to reach a 'first-time fix' principle, in which the repair takes places immediately during the first visit to the customer. With the Toughbook, he immediately has a clear overview of
the complete device history, or can call up all technical details if he is unsure of a disassembly. "Also, adjusting those machines is done by using very specific software programs for which we regularly receive updates. We have checked the upcoming software updates with Hyster to ensure that the Toughbooks will have the most recent technology and features, enabling them to run the Hyster updates for the next five years." 

My buddy and I

The switch-over, however, had to remain acceptable to the technician. "Fortunately they immediately recognised the added value of the device's ruggedness, the access to all available information, the large screen and the ease with
which forms were completed and the customer could sign off on checklists," smiles Bart. "We had introduced the Toughbooks as their buddies as a joke, but it became quickly apparent that all our technicians were easily convinced of
this long-term friendship".

Barloworld has chosen the Toughbook CF-19 

The most compact ruggedized notebook with convertible touchscreen and unrivalled display technology.