ACCO Brands Chooses Field Service Solution from VSI

Offices around the world are equipped with products from ACCO Brands Corporation. It is one of the world’s largest designers, marketers, and manufacturers of branded academic, consumer, and business products. It is well known for office supplies including ring binders, staplers, notebooks, and calendars as well as office equipment from projectors to sophisticated binding and laminating machines. Its customers depend on the field service team at ACCO Brands to keep it all up and running.

ACCO Brands has used Vertical Solution Inc.’s PowerHelp field service management tool for more than 12 years, and it performed so well the company was reluctant to give it up. But when VSI decided to sunset PowerHelp, ACCO Brands needed to find a new tool.

“We had an old system that was in need of an upgrade, so we did what everyone does – looked around to see what was available,” says Roger Kopp, VP Business Transformation, ACCO Brands. “We ended up right back where we started, with a vendor we know and like, with a solution that fits our business.”

ACCO Brands researched multiple tools but found some had features that did not apply to its business model, and that some vendors were not able to unbundle their solution to meet the company’s needs. “The other tools didn’t provide the option to scale both from a size and functionality perspective,” says Kopp. The company found its best fit with VSI’s VServiceManagement.

VServiceManagement offers field service teams “just right” deployment options with a modular approach. Teams can add any combination of modules offering detailed scheduling and workforce management, powerful knowledge management, complex entitlement management, in-depth depot repair, sophisticated project management, and customer-facing portals. In addition, VServiceManagement enables companies to pick and choose integration points – from core to complex – streamlining deployment. As teams grow or as needs become more involved, VSM can grow with them.

With 200 seats total and 100 in the field, ACCO Brands didn’t need complex service tech routing. What it did need was a cloud-based deployment that would be scalable and enable service techs to easily manage all aspects of their service calls, including the ability to take credit card payments in the field. It wanted to improve its management of warranty repairs, be able to quickly develop and deploy new business workflow rules, and integrate with its current Oracle ERP system and planned SAP system. Finally, it wanted a deployment that minimized business disruption and that would be easy for its field techs to learn and use.

“The VSM solution allows us to do what we need to do, while providing opportunities for expansion,” says Kopp.

New features include the ability to take payments in the field, something that ACCO Brands’ customers often requested, and that would eliminate steps in ACCO Brand’s business processes. “Techs can transact credit cards remotely, using PCI process,” says John O’Malley, VP Strategic Accounts & Technical Services for North America, ACCO Brands. “This will be a productivity improvement for us.”

The company also will be able to tightly manage warranties. “We were basically absorbing the costs of warranty work, but now will have a way to track it and charge it back to the OEM,” says Kopp. Managing entitlements is a key component of VServiceManagement – the software helps companies manage asset-based contracts, product-class based contracts, multiple draw-down types, integrated multi-tiered warranty management, and other complex contracts. VServiceManagement’s Vendor Contracts module manages negotiated terms with third-party service providers and equipment suppliers/manufacturers to assure that equipment warranty claims are processed in a timely manner and that vendors are meeting defined SLAs at the right rates. Companies have experienced rapid ROI gains using VServiceManagement’s warranty management functionality.

ACCO Brands also can now develop and implement business workflows quickly and easily, without IT intervention. “Having to rely on IT to change a workflow was an obstacle,” says O’Malley. “We would have a customer request, but we were slow to respond. Going forward I expect that we will be much faster.”

ACCO Brands has already developed vacation algorithms along with ones based on customer priorities and SLAs. “We can implement these faster now than it used to take us to simply log a ticket,” says Kopp. “It’s great to be able to create the workflows on our own.”

Perhaps most important of all, ACCO Brands was able to deploy VSM with minimal disruption to the business and to field service operations. “The general implementation was very smooth,” says O’Malley. ACCO Brands field techs have been able to get up to speed quickly with the easy-to-use interface.

ACCO Brand’s deployment is still in the early stages, but the field service team has a number of future plans for VServiceManagement, including enabling access to a broader user community to streamline information sharing and better tracking of stats it can use to strengthen its customer relationships. “We definitely have customer-strategic plans that VServiceManagement will play a role in,” says O’Malley.