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 user 2013-06-22 at 9:18:39 am Views: 101
  • #2036

    'Copier One to tech: fix me'

    When your photocopier fails, who you gonna Call?

    The answer may be: no one, because the service person is already on his way, summoned by a distress call from the ailing machine.

    New Zealand Office equipment specialist U-Bix has developed such a system using software from Auckland firm Cosyn Software. Tony Day, U-Bix general manager for services, said the system took advantage of the self-diagnosis capability built into modern Konica and Minolta copiers.

    It builds on work U-Bix has done with wireless data specialist Econz and Cosyn, which builds tools and applications around the IBM AS/400 or iSeries platforms. Cosyn built and maintains U-Bix's service management application, which is integrated with an SSA BPCS enterprise planning system.

    "We allocated individual technicians to photocopier and printer customers. Each technician was given a PDA running on Telecom's CDMA network," Day said. "As soon as a service call is lodged, a message is sent off the AS/400 using Cosyn's Powerpage tool to the technician who owns that customer. "If it doesn't get a response from the PDA, Powerpage will send a text message to the technician's phone, and after 15 minutes will direct the message back to the dispatcher so someone else can deal with it." ,p>The technicians use the PDA to record job progress, including scanning in part numbers and entering travel time. This data goes back to the service management system. Day said that system cost about $500,000 to build, including supplying PDAs to the 100 technicians, and paid for itself within nine months by halving response times.

    "We are now connecting customer machines into the central database, so the machine can generate a service call before the customer knows anything is wrong. "Then the technician can call up and say 'Your machine is about to have a problem, is it OK I come over now?' "People laugh when I say I am aiming for a negative response time," Day said. ,p>The new system had been live on pilot sites for two weeks, and up to 4000 machines would be connected over the next few months. "All we need to do is give the machine an email address. The good part for customers is the machine generates a coded email and sends it through the normal corporate email system, so we do not have to get around firewalls. "If it is a multifunction machine, it can fax this data to us," Day said.

    The communications function will also be used to collect usage data for billing.

    Day said Cosyn's tools allowed U-Bix to bolt new functions and applications onto its legacy computing system, extending its life and increasing its value. Cosyn managing director Trevor Middleton said that while AS/400 and iSeries servers were renowned for their stability and transaction processing ability, many customers wanted more visual displays and greater visibility of data. "We try to add value to what the ERP [enterprise resource planning] application vendors do."

    As well as Powerpage/400, Cosyn has Audit Trail/400, which tracks changes in DB/400 database, and Spool Manager/400 to control spool output software to monitor its back end AS/400 computer. It also sells and implements reporting tools from Business Computer Design and the Q4bis business intelligence tool made by another NZ company, PST Software.

    Middleton said Cosyn was putting much of its energy into export, targeting the customer bases of SSA, JD Edwards, Mapics and other iSeries application vendors.

    "When I got involved about three years ago, about 30 per cent of New Zealand AS/400 sites had one or other Cosyn product, but there was no export presence," he said. "We now get about 70 per cent of our revenue from exports."

    * Post was edited: 2004-08-31 10:07:00