On-Site Receipts

By  Teresa von Fuchs — July 31, 2008

For windshield replacement specialist Safelite AutoGlass, which sends its technicians to customers' homes or businesses to do repairs, a little cracked glass isn't a problem. But keeping track of mounds of paper-based work orders was a system the company knew needed repair.

Technicians routinely made as many as four calls to dispatch per repair to verify work orders and call in credit card payments.

While it was more than ready to take the plunge to a paperless process, Safelite knew there was one piece of paper that was important to keep around: techs still had to be able to run credit cards and give customers printed receipts on-site in the field.

Safelite wanted a complete wireless solution that included GPS-equipped devices, portable thermal printers, signature capture and credit-card processing capabilities. While Safelite had a strong internal application development team, the company had never developed mobile applications. For help with that, it used Dexterra's open development platform, Dexterra Concert, and Dexterra's full-service partner program, Dexterra DevNetwork Program.

Safelite knew it wanted to use BlackBerry handhelds, but the company had a harder time finding a suitable Bluetooth-enabled portable thermal printer.

"The printer had to read the credit card the first time and not provide any false reads," says Chris DeLong, Director of I.T. Field Systems at Safelite. It also had to be rugged, and be able to process the receipt to Safelite's exact specifications. After testing multiple printers, Safelite went with O'Neil's 4te printer.

The rugged O'Neil 4te comes with Bluetooth and 802.11b/g connectivity, fast processing, external LED status indicators, an external charging port, and quick release battery clamps.

When techs arrive at a site, they enter the required info into the BlackBerry, which triggers a work preauthorization form that includes a cost estimate. Customers sign with a Logitech Bluetooth-enabled optical pen. The form is printed on the O'Neil printer for the customer, while the pen transmits the signature back to the BlackBerry to complete the work order.

When the job is complete, the tech hits a button to access the tendering screen. The customer's credit card is swiped for on-the-spot approval. The receipt prints for the customer, while the pen transmits the data back to the BlackBerry.

"We have standardized processes that we ask our technicians to follow, and this solution helps techs keep to that process," says Nate Beckman, Mobile Resource Management (MRM) Project Manager at Safelite parent company Belron. "It really helps clean up and insure all aspects of data collection."

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