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In an ambitious bid to transform the face of the field service domain, ByBox has architected a novel semi-automatic supply chain mechanism to enable OEMs to cater to the unique needs of their customers in a fast and efficient manner. Through a collective disruption of technology, field service software, and infrastructure, ByBox is at the forefront of combating the prominent challenges of field service management. Miller and fellow partners Steve Huxter and Dan Turner cofounded ByBox in the year 2000, and together with a highly qualified team devised their market-leading software platform—Thinventory. The ingenious software can proficiently make informed decisions, and suggest the fastest and most logical route for equipment along the supply chain network.
Creating a Virtual Warehouse
“A holistic end-to-end platform, Thinventory integrates the workflows of customers, suppliers, field technicians, and logistics companies, steering appliances all the way to and from its suppliers and qualified engineers or the end users,” elucidates Miller. When a device or part is data tagged as faulty, the engineer can pick the part using Smart Box collection and returns, pre-8 a.m. Following that, the engineer replaces the faulty part with a brand new one and places it on the Smart Box locker network to be collected by the end customer. Ensuring a seamless journey along the supply chain path, a malfunctioning part is automatically directed toward the repairer when it enters the distribution network. Thanks to ByBox’s next-gen analytical algorithms! These algorithms are formulated in a way that they dispatch the defective equipment spontaneously to the repairer or technician who comes next in the process chain—termed as the “virtual warehouse.”
Upon integrating the customer’s enterprise platform with Thinventory, we are able to source the replacement part in the most cost-effective way possible to provide a fix to that machine
Serving an exhaustive clientele comprising IT organizations, medical firms, reprographics, telecom companies, and several technology providers, ByBox integrates the client’s infrastructure with Thinventory’s enterprise platform to facilitate the shipping of the replacement parts of the damaged appliances and machinery. “Upon integrating the customer’s enterprise platform with Thinventory, we are able to source the replacement part in the most cost-effective way possible to provide a fix to that machine,” adds Miller. In terms of workforce automation, the platform endorses disintermediation by eradicating the need for manual labor whereby field service engineers are saddled with the responsibility of doorstep delivery of appliances. Thinventory possesses the capability to work conjointly with suppliers, thereby directly collecting the required commodity, processing the warranty claim, and then routing the products through Thinventory right into the Smart Box for engineers. “The requirement for a physical warehouse and an additional distribution layer for the supplier becomes almost redundant,” remarks Miller.
By adopting an extensive return management strategy, ByBox efficiently organizes the return journey of the device collected from the end customer. When an engineer returns a faulty part, Thinventory records the data encompassing it and subsequently redirects inoperative part automatically to the repairer, saving not only significant time in the process but also reducing distribution expenditure and inventory holding. On its course along the return path, the defective part goes through multiple analyses to ensure that it doesn’t traverse redundant loops through the customer warehouse. The uniqueness of Thinventory is centered on the fact that it avoids allocating unnecessary paths to the equipment unless a final path is determined by leveraging data mining. Miller quips, “Move the data, not the part.”
"On behalf of the customer, we commit to permanently reducing their inventory holding, minimum their distribution spend, and optimize their field engineers’ time"
The customization feature of the Thinventory platform allows it to be configured in accordance with clients’ business requirements. “With a whole slew of fine-tuned business rules, customers add their own slant to Thinventory, by controlling the modularity of the product,” says Miller.
Making Field Service Smarter
To underscore the products that Thinventory offers, Miller goes on to mention about Stockonnect. In essence, Stockonnect is a smart locker system comprising of low-cost lockers that are controlled and operated via an intuitive smartphone app.
With regard to maintaining and operating a central control console for the lockers, ByBox’s proprietary smartphone app helps customers reduce their overall expenses by a great extent. Miller opines that Stockonnect and Thinventory are by far ByBox’s most significant contribution in disrupting the field service sector. “It takes the burden off from end customers and field engineers with respect to the availability and reliability for parts,” he says.
Placing Customers at the Core
ByBox’s esteemed clientele consists of prestigious names such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Konica Minolta, Siemens, and more, which indeed speaks volumes about the company’s ability to rise up to the needs of the modern day field service engineering. Miller recalls an instance wherein ByBox worked closely with Fujitsu, the Japanese multinational information technology equipment and services giant. With extensive supply chain operations in different countries around the world, Fujitsu wanted to streamline their end-to-end field service functions and efficiently automate them. ByBox was aptly suited for the job and ticked off all boxes when it came to accomplishing the task at hand. On integrating Fujitsu’s field service infrastructure with the Thinventory platform, customers were facilitated with absolute visibility into the supply chain operations. That is not all. ByBox’s preeminent platform dramatically reduced the inventory holding for the client over the years. This, in turn, accelerated the field service operations for the client, eliminating the requirement for premium transports to move inventories around to engineers.
In an effort to help companies overcome the challenges of inbound European logistics, which consist of a centralized European warehousing leading to longer delivery times, ByBox has extended its trunking hours at the national hub. ByBox efficiently collects stock from multiple European locations up to 7 p.m. GMT/BST and assures successful UK delivery by 8 a.m. the next day. The extended hours invested in the operation ensures that the stocked is collected, packed, transported, and then dropped straight to an engineer’s locker.
To best serve its impressive clientele, ByBox endorses an approach that delivers a three-pronged lane of benefits to its field service customers. “On behalf of the customer, we commit to permanently reducing their inventory holding, minimum their distribution spend, and optimize their field engineers’ time,” asserts Miller. Miller credits ByBox’s success to its dedicated, energetic, and vibrant team along with its unique hierarchy that places the responsibility equally in the hands of its employees as well as the leadership team. Driven by such high performing workforce, ByBox is expanding its global footprint, and fostering the zeal to innovate more solutions and products to confront the hurdles along a field technician’s journey.