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/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/water_191783.jpgImagine you spent the last couple of weeks coaching your kids for the annual swim meet, and now you can´t wait for Saturday to arrive. But opening the morning newspaper, you read that the local pool had to close due to a burst water pipe. Worrying that the event will be canceled, you pick up the phone and call the pool administrator.

Thankfully, the employee on the phone assures you that everything will be fixed in time. A service technician from TMVW arrived this morning and was able to start working immediately. Thanks to the map of the pipe system the technician had on his mobile device, he was able to locate the defect quickly. And his mobile device showed him that all the equipment needed to fix the pipe was already in the van.

TMVW is a multi-utility, multi-service company that serves municipalities in East and West Flanders in Belgium. Started as a drinking water company in 2000, TMVW has constantly added new services to its core business – following a corporate mindset of anticipating customer demand and exceeding expectations through forward-looking and high-quality services. Today, the company’s services include provisioning and distribution of drinking water, remediation of waste water, and maintenance of sports infrastructures and swimming pools.

The head of the IT department at TMVW, Inge Opreel, and her team really enjoy working in such a dynamic environment. “The challenge on the IT side is to be one step ahead of the business,” she says. “We want to have everything in place, so that we can deliver the applications needed to meet future demand.” That’s why TMVW turned to SAP and Capgemini back in 2001 to set up an IT landscape that was easy to implement and one that could expand to support future growth:

  • Starting with a core SAP ERP system, the company first implemented functionality such as plant maintenance, project systems, finance, and HR.
  • Then TMVW added industry-specific solutions from SAP for Utilities to better serve its customers and SAP BusinessObjects business intelligence for corporate analytics.
  • As the business expanded, the company rolled out the SAP Multiresource Scheduling application to better plan for the increasing number of work orders sent to field employees.

As the number of services that TMVW field workers must manage continued to grow, the IT department faced another challenge. The company´s technicians still used paper to manage activities such as work orders and van inventories. This resulted in a lot of manual data entry work in the back office. It also caused problems getting information such as a facility’s maintenance history out to field workers on a job.  

Implementing a mobile landscape was the next logical step for TMVW to fully utilize the potential of its SAP investment. The IT team started by listening carefully to the company’s 200 field workers in order to build customized, user-friendly applications that would provide the highest value to them.

“Today, about 80% of our back office processes are automated and our field workers use the SAP Mobile Platform on a daily basis,” says Opreel. “It delivers all of the information they need to serve our customers, ranging from the customer’s name and address to the specifications of the facility they have to work on.”  This automation not only frees up resources in TMVW’s back office, it enables better customers service – supporting TMVW´s most important KPI.

Click below to listen to Inge Opreel on YouTube:

“Thanks to the synchronization of the mobile app with SAP’s materials management, for example, we now have everything in place to restock the vans when field workers return,” notes Opreel.  “We can handle more work orders than before and make sure that all planned maintenance is finished on time.”

As a consequence of the improved data and timely completion of work orders, the time from order-to-cash was cut significantly. Billing can now be processed in days rather than weeks. But TMVW is not stopping here. As a next step, Inge Opreel´s team aims to roll out an application that enables customers to proactively track their order status. TMVW’s customers can rely on the company to continue providing innovative, best-in-class services – and the people of Flanders can continue enjoying their weekends at the local pool.

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