Southeast Banking Systems

case-study-cover-SBS

Overview

Locations
Headquarters:  London, Kentucky
Service area:  Kentucky, Tennessee, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, southern Ohio, western Virginia, western West Virginia, northern Georgia, and northern Alabama

Industry
SBS has focused on financial institutions throughout its history. In recent years, the firm’s word-of-mouth reputation for excellent service has attracted customers in other industries that can benefit from SBS’s expertise. Now SBS is marketing its services to government, education, and healthcare facilities in its nine-state service area.

Services
  • Specialized equipment, such as ATMs, pneumatic tubes, safes, and vaults
  • Security, surveillance, AV communications, and access control systems
  • Secure drive-up windows
  • Alarm monitoring

Systems Service Type
Installation, Repairs, Maintenance

Employees
~50

About Southeast Banking Systems

Southeast Banking Systems (SBS) is a family-owned business founded in 1983. The company provides financial institutions with specialized equipment and on-site technical services. For more than 3,000 customer locations in nine states, SBS installs, repairs, and maintains an extensive line of products, including alarm and access control systems, ATMs, vaults, and surveillance systems.

SBS-Case-Study-Customer-locations

Southeast Banking Systems takes pride in building strong bonds with its customers. A key strength is the extraordinary expertise of its installation and field service teams. Technicians average more than 15 years of experience at SBS in installing and servicing specialized electronic equipment for banks and credit unions.

The technicians serve customers throughout Kentucky and Tennessee, plus adjacent areas of seven surrounding states. To cover the widespread territory, many SBS technicians reside far from the company’s headquarters in London, Kentucky.

In 2020, SBS executives sought to modernize internal and field operations to improve accuracy, efficiency, and financial reporting. In addition, management wanted its technicians to have state-of-the-art tools to enhance their professionalism and improve the customer experience.

SBS chose the NetSuite platform and NextService to replace two 18-year-old software products. Within a few months of implementation, significant benefits were already being achieved, with additional long-term benefits on the horizon.

sbs-case-study-security-camera

Business Challenges

Before implementing NetSuite and NextService, SBS ran the bulk of its business operations on two obsolete software platforms. One handled accounting and financial reporting, and the other provided limited field service management capabilities. Both legacy systems had exceeded their service life and were unsupported by the vendors.  

 

Coping with old, obsolete software caused several major problems, including: 

  •  Inflexible invoicing. Billed items were identified with codes that customers did not understand, rather than free-form descriptions. Customized invoices were not an option because batch processing was the only way to produce invoices.  
  •  Inadequate reporting. Reporting capabilities were rudimentary. Accessing historical information to answer specific questions was slow and tedious. Consequently, management was unable to research billing issues or get timely, customized reports for strategic decision-making. The software was no longer supported, so any special reports required costly coding by the original developers. 
  •  Downtime. Crucial operations, especially billing and customer service, were shelved when SBS’s on-premises server experienced downtime. Additionally, on-site servers were at risk of irreparably crashing, which would have resulted in extended downtimes and large capital expenses to replace the servers.
  • Poor inventory tracking. Requisitioning parts required sending an email to inventory managers. It was difficult to track inventory movement and transactions because the inventory transactions would occur through phone calls and emails – not within the FSM software. 
  • Scheduling issues. The company’s broad service area creates scheduling challenges, but these were aggravated by the software’s poor scheduling features. Customers requesting repairs often could not get a specific service time commitment from SBS. Dispatchers would assign jobs to technicians without having any visibility into their schedules. This meant SBS had limited visibility into technician utilization rates and limited ability to determine root causes for low utilization rates.  
  • Cumbersome field processes. Lacking a mobile app, technicians carried laptops to job sites and gained internet access through phone hotspots. They calculated mileage and time manually. Routine coordination with headquarters led to back-and-forth emails and phone calls.

Why SBS Chose NextService

To transform its business, SBS selected NetSuite as its platform for integrated business and financial management applications. By moving to a cloud-based platform, the company eliminated the risk of downtime caused by server problems.

Before selecting NetSuite, SBS Director of Finance Nicholas Ellington researched about 30 potential solutions for enterprise resource planning (ERP) and/or field service management. From a NetSuite sales rep, Ellington learned that NextService offers a strong FSM solution that operates hand-in-hand with NetSuite.

Ellington’s research narrowed the list of software candidates to seven. After comparing features, viewing demonstrations, interviewing customers and vendors, and obtaining bids, the evaluation team concluded that NextService was the best value among the few systems that met their extensive requirements list. Moreover, NextService was the only option that natively integrates with NetSuite.

“What we really like about NextService and NetSuite is that they work together as one solution. We’re not putting every update at risk by trying to bridge information between two different platforms.”

~ Nick Ellington, Director of Finance

Business Impact of Implementing NextService

Field Service

After using NextService for only a few months, SBS technicians are giving it A-plus reviews. They like using the mobile app instead of a laptop. They say it is user friendly, much easier to find and bill inventory for a job and captures more information. Technicians report they are more efficient and accurate, and they can complete their service calls faster.

“NextService is making our technicians’ lives better. It also makes SBS look a lot more professional to our customers because we aren’t hauling around laptops and apologizing for the deficiencies of our old software.”

~ Nick Ellington

Scheduling

NextService is improving the productivity of dispatchers, who typically handle 35 to 45 service calls a day, plus scheduling multiple install crews each day. Setting up, changing, or rescheduling a service call is now easier for dispatchers. For the first time, they have up-to-date, visual information on technician schedules and availability for new calls.

NextService also enables SBS to eliminate unproductive steps, such as scheduling a service call before technician availability is known.  

Inventory

Ordering parts has been a headache for SBS technicians and the internal support staff. Now techs can order or transfer parts with the NextService mobile app, and managers can accurately track the status of each transaction. All inventory transactions automatically integrate with the financial management functions in NetSuite.

Asset Management

Many SBS customer locations are in sparsely populated areas. Previously, older technicians relied on their knowledge of the customer to stock their vans with appropriate parts before driving to the service location. Now, before embarking on a service call, even the newest technicians can see asset records of the customer’s equipment and quickly determine what parts for that specific model may be needed.

Invoicing

NextService eliminates the need to process invoices in periodic batches. At any time, SBS can easily produce customized invoices in response to customer requests. Invoice items can be described with as much detail as needed, so letter coding is no longer necessary.

In addition, NextService streamlines the administration of a key revenue source: service agreements. The majority of SBS customers have a service agreement for all or portions of their repair costs. When a service call is set up, NextService and NetSuite automatically apply the appropriate billing rule for that contract. If a customer’s service contract provides for free replacement parts, for example, only labor costs will appear on the invoice.

Reporting

SBS will soon be exploiting the powerful reporting capabilities of NextService. For example, Ellington plans to do sophisticated performance reporting, which wasn’t possible with the old system. He’s also excited about getting new reports for strategic planning, forecasting, staffing analysis, and monitoring asset reliability. Salespeople will benefit too—for example, they will be able to show their customers which equipment needs replacing.

Training and Retention

A headquarters employee can look at what field technicians are seeing on their NextService mobile apps in real-time. This feature is ideal for training, such as helping new technicians troubleshoot problems they encounter.

SBS plans to put more emphasis on cross training—especially for installers, who typically specialize in types of equipment such as video systems, ATMs, or vaults. NextService can help management identify training opportunities by reporting each installer’s work history with different equipment types.

“NextService will enhance our key competitive advantage, which is the exceptional service our highly experienced technicians provide. But this advantage has a downside. When senior technicians retire, a wealth of knowledge will walk out the door with them. That means we need to be training younger technicians now to perform at the same high level. With NextService, we will be able to train people better and get them up to speed faster.”

~Nick Ellington

Key Business Outcomes

Southeast Banking Systems has a sterling reputation for service excellence, but obsolete software was limiting the company’s growth opportunities and the performance of its field service teams. By implementing NextService and NetSuite, SBS has embarked on a promising path of business transformation. Here are some of the results achieved or planned for the near future.

Challenge Outcome with NextService
Dispatchers had little visibility into the daily schedules of technicians serving nine states.   At a glance, dispatchers can tell which techs are underutilized and can then balance the team’s workloads.
At job sites, technicians ran obsolete software on laptops and relied extensively on phone and email. The NextService mobile app saves technicians time, improves accuracy, increases job satisfaction, and enhances their professionalism.
Software limitations prevented customers from getting invoices produced to meet their needs. NextService and NetSuite can easily accommodate customer requests for the frequency, content, and formatting of their invoices.
Legacy systems’ weak reporting capabilities inhibited management from getting timely information for forecasting and strategic decisions. NextService and NetSuite are tightly integrated, cloud-based platforms that can give management rapid access to any information needed.
With technicians averaging 15 years at SBS, training new employees was emerging as a long-term problem. Features of NextService and NetSuite will help new technicians learn faster. Example: A seasoned tech can remotely view and discuss what another tech is seeing on the mobile app.
Different levels of service contracts required manual billing processes. Integrated systems automatically bill customers the correct amount according to the provisions of their service contracts.
A patchwork of inventory processes often led to repair delays. With the mobile app, technicians can add in-stock parts to a job while on site or order new parts for prompt fulfillment.