- Case Studies
Location: Netherlands, Belgium
Services: Lubrication, Piping, Cleaning, Climate Control, Gas detection, Hoses and couplings, Personal protection equipment, Road construction, Surface treatment, Vehicle treatment
Systems Service Type: Installation, Repairs, Maintenance
Technicians Using NextService: 26
Founded in 1947, Imbema is a family-owned business based in the Netherlands. The company’s 250 employees distribute various products to different industries throughout Europe.
Four Imbema business units illustrate the company’s range of customers:
- A business that installs and repairs electrical meters for power service providers.
- A business that sells sanding machines to distributors serving painting companies. If a painting company has a problem, they send the device directly to Imbema for repair.
- A business that sells and services smoke detectors and portable gas detectors for parking garages.
- A business that sells, installs, and services lock to prevent cargo theft from truck trailers.
Before installing NetSuite and NextService, none of these businesses had a unified, cloud-based technology platform to streamline their operations. The business units were each using their manual processes to manage the service aspects of their business, including handling work orders, scheduling field service calls, reporting technician job site activities, maintaining service records for assets installed at customer locations, and repairing returned equipment. In addition, related information often had to be manually transferred into invoices and reports.
Top management knew that making specialized services a competitive advantage would only be possible with the right ERP platform and field service management system.
“Imbema’s goal in choosing NetSuite as our ERP platform was to capture all data and all steps of a process in one system, resulting in end-to-end coverage of the entire process without redundant data entry.” ~ Koos Verkleij, Director Service & Solutions
Why Imbema Chose NextService
Imbema selected NetSuite for its robust features, customization flexibility, and ability to handle complex workflows and processes. “Imbema’s goal in choosing NetSuite as our ERP platform was to capture all data and all steps of a process in one system, resulting in end-to-end coverage of the entire process without redundant data entry,” said Verkleij.
Verkleij’s evaluation team chose NextService for two key reasons:
- NextService can be configured to support the full range of field service functions, including work orders, scheduling, dispatch to asset management, equipment returns for workshop repairs, inventory, billing, reporting, and analytics.
- NextService works natively within NetSuite as a comprehensive solution for supporting service workforces. NextService and NetSuite share the same databases and technical architecture, so NetSuite can use all the service data from NextService without any special efforts to move the data over manually or through custom-coded interfaces.
“NextService and NetSuite work together on the same platform to help us simplify and standardize processes among very diverse businesses that have little relationship to each other.
When we create service cases, schedules, customer assets, and tasks, everything is stored inside of NetSuite, so all of this information is seamlessly available for billing, inventory, and financial reporting.” ~ Koos Verkleij
“The key benefit we are gaining from NextService comes from its native integration with NetSuite,” said Verkleij. “Before, one of our business units had a separate, standalone scheduling system. It was not linked to any downstream billing, accounting, and reporting systems. Other business units had no software, except for spreadsheets, to support their service processes. Consequently, looking at a job from beginning to end—including scheduling, entering the time and materials, updating inventory, and preparing the invoice—we had a lot of time-consuming, error-prone steps.”
Here, we have summarized Verkleij’s review of the progress Imbema is making with NextService to modernize its service activities at customer locations and in its repair workshops.
With NextService and NetSuite sharing common data, Imbema can create fully integrated processes from start to finish.
Verkleij explained a workflow for a service call to install an electric meter: “We create a case for a new customer location, we schedule a task to install a meter at that location, the service technician reports completion of the task, the work order is fulfilled, the invoice is produced, and we are done. It is an exceptionally smooth process, and we expect significant administrative time savings when we get the new NextService processes fully implemented in all business units.”
In Imbema’s electric metering business, service managers use the NextService scheduler for dozens of daily meter installations. Jobs are allocated to technicians based on postal codes. The smoke-and-gas detection business also schedules high volumes of periodic maintenance tasks through NextService. Technicians regularly go to parking decks where the devices are installed for preventative maintenance.
Several of Imbema’s businesses are—or soon will be—making extensive use of NextService’s asset management capabilities for thousands of locks, meters, gas, and smoke detectors, and machines they have sold.
Here are a few examples:
- Imbema uses NextService to create and manage return merchandise authorizations for sanding machines. For example, when a painter sends a sanding machine to Imbema for repairs, Imbema can identify the end user’s asset through the serial number entered when the equipment was sold to a wholesaler. Repair time and materials are tracked through the RMA (Return Material Authorization) and sales order, with details maintained in the asset’s service history.
- Many parking garages use hundreds of Imbema’s fixed smoke detectors and portable gas detectors. Imbema has contracts with the parking facilities for regular maintenance and performance checks of the monitoring systems, which can have up to 60 detectors linked to each server. Imbema uses NextService to schedule technician service calls, report tasks completed, and maintain records of assets at the location, server, and device levels.
“NextService enables us to do a better job of tracking customer assets without inadvertently missing any regular maintenance. Before, we missed some tasks, but now they all get scheduled. I’d say we are seeing about a 20% increase in contractual activities fulfilled, and that, of course, means more revenue for Imbema. We’ll keep adding more benefits like these as our utilization of NextService ramps up.” ~Koos Verkleij
Verkleij anticipates producing better reports much faster once NextService and NetSuite are fully utilized, thereby freeing up more time for other activities.
Currently, getting appropriate information to decision-makers can be a cumbersome, slow-moving exercise. Preparing reports often involves collecting data from multiple sources, consolidating data into Excel spreadsheets, and checking for accuracy.
NetSuite and NextService share information seamlessly, eliminating the need for manual “number crunching” to compile reports. Work orders, cases, tasks, and assets are created once, with all information immediately accessible on the same platform for any reporting needs.
Verkleij believes streamlined reporting will give Imbema executives greater transparency into profitability and performance. For example, they get much better insights into how service engineers are utilized in the field and workshop.
Imbema has achieved a smoother inventory management process with NextService. Business units can track inventory in the field and view real-time inventory levels. Equipment installed at customer locations can be converted to customer assets. “With a better handle on inventory, we have reduced discrepancies in audits of actual stock levels,” said Verkleij.
Verkleij believes that Imbema is in the initial stages of realizing the full benefits of NextService and NetSuite. He explained that some business units are just beginning to use scheduling, asset management, and other features of NextService.Verkleij wants to make it easier for technicians to report their time and activities, such as time not being directly billable to a particular task. “That is just one example of many new ways we can take advantage of the power of NextService and NetSuite,” he said. “Service work has a lot of manual chores. Our continual focus is removing manual activities from our technicians and engineers in the field and the workshops. We want them to use all the tools available to make their jobs easier without being restricted by rigid processes.”
“Our continual focus is taking away manual activities from our technicians and engineers in the field and the workshops. We want them to use all the tools available to make their jobs easier without being restricted by rigid processes.” ~Koos Verklej
Key Business Outcomes for Imbema
Implementing NetSuite and NextService is the technological foundation of an ambitious transformation strategy now underway at Imbema. This table summarizes the challenges Imbema faced and the results achieved through 2022. Koos Verkleij expects many more benefits will be added as the usage of NextService expands in all business units.
|Challenge||Outcome with NextService|
|Imbema’s business units relied on manual processes and spreadsheets to manage their service activities.||NextService enables business units to replace most of their manual administrative processes. For example, Imbema units are now using NextService’s asset management features to maintain the service histories of thousands of devices installed at customer locations.|
|Only one of Imbema’s business units had an automated scheduling system.||Imbema’s electrical meter business has implemented the NextService scheduler, and implementation for other business units is underway.|
|Preventative maintenance tasks for Imbema’s smoke and gas detection customers were occasionally overlooked.||With hundreds of monthly, quarterly, and annual tasks scheduled in NextService, tasks are no longer missed, and Imbema is seeing a 20% increase in contractual activities fulfilled.|
|Spreadsheets, manual processes, and legacy accounting systems built a cumbersome, error-prone environment for insightful reporting.||NextService and NetSuite share data on a single platform, enabling executives to get the fast, accurate reports they need for decisions.|
As Europe’s first NextService partner, Cadran is an expert in field service. Cadran’s specialists have in-depth knowledge of customer engagement, service order management, scheduling, and dispatch, field mobility, analysis, and reporting.
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