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Case study

Field Ticket Application

Electronic field ticket process for field service professionals

 The OpenInvoice Field Ticket enables you and your suppliers to eliminate the paper,

simplify the process, and significantly reduce the administrative load.

Understanding the users

The value proposition canvas methodology was used for the concept development of this product,  which helps to systematically understand what customers want and it creates products and services that perfectly match their needs, which normally are described under three categories, jobs, pains and gains.

User roles

Field Operators (Primary User)

Their job is verifying and signing off on service work performed. Field approvers need to ensure the work performed matches the information on the paper ticket including codes for invoicing. It takes time to review paper tickets which may be scrawled with illegible or inaccurate information.

Accounts Payable

When invoiced, the accounts payable department need to ensure that submitted invoices match associated field ticket information. After the lengthy review process, exceptions need to be dealt with. This means using up more man hours and valuable resources to correct errors. 

Suppliers

For suppliers, one of the biggest impacts of slow paper processes is high Days Sales Outstanding (DSO). Slow processes are attributed to service charges that don’t match existing contracts or previously stated agreements as well as chasing down approvers for proper coding and sign-off.  Once this information has been captured, it is summarized into user profiles. This project presented the following profiles.

Upper Management

In the upper echelons where key decisions are made about moving forward with operations and planning future jobs, decisions suffer when field data is slowly progressing through the approval process. How do they make decisions for tomorrow if they don’t have the data to analyze today?  Lack of visibility on spending implies risk and guesswork.

User personas for users on direct usage of the mobile app

Ken / Well site manager / Old Guard (Buyer)

Ken, 63, Civil Engineer

He is one the last active members of the baby boomer generation, 1946-1964, he has seen his coworkers getting retired and/or moving to other occupations.  Even himself had retired, took another job but got recruited by an Oil & Gas company again (after turning them down several times) .

Excels in difficult situations, stressful environments, being able to lead diverse teams in different cultural environments.  If you ask that question right off the bat, he might articulate something like: I have a bunch of people, doing a bunch of things, and I am the guy that makes sure nobody gets killed and things get done.

He works two weeks cycles, first-weekday shift, second weeknight shift 12 hours days.  Basically, they are working half the time outside they circadian cycles, which means long-lasting repercussions in their health and psyche.

Will / Well site manager / New Guard (Buyer)

Will, 32, Chemical Engineer

For Will, his education was a shortcut for becoming a manager while he is still on his thirties. A degree in Chemical, Civil or Petroleum engineering cut around 9 years of experience in the field preparation, but he is not new to the field, he started working in oil patches while studying and kept doing it coming out of university.  This position requires continuous learning.  For him, relationships between co-workers and partners are based on trust.  It does not mean there is lack of friction, but the at the end what counts is if this person is “solid” (reliable).  While on the field, his goal is to keep everybody safe while meeting the goals of the project.

No work/life balance, his routine might go from one extreme to the other with little or no space for adjusting between these two.

John / Field Services Representative (Supplier)

John, 27, Technical Diploma

He is expected to do small repairs, maintenance and offer technical support for the products they deliver.  He also acts as a communication channel between the site manager and the company they represent.  They are asked to keep accurate record keeping, process their paper work, possibly keep a journal and offer service reports. His level of authority and capacity to negotiate  might depend on the size of the company. They are commission based, so they need to meet their targets and accommodate to monthly goals.

He is commission based, so he needs to meet his monthly goals. John is used to working in harsh environments, and drive long hours in difficult driving conditions.  He plans to keep working for  2 or 3 years and moving on to do something else.  He is assigned to a territory and needs to develop personal and professional relationships with people in the field very quickly.  have multiple work areas, a desk at an office, doing phone calls while driving, and finishing reports at a home office.   VALIDATE: He needs to be connected all the time, posses a laptop and multiple mobile devices from the company.   Maybe the inside of his car/truck is full of invoices, marketing material, tools, replacement parts, garbage from drive through restaurants and multiple chargers.

He has multiple work areas, a desk at an office, doing phone calls while driving, and finishing reports at a home office.

Workflows

A general workflow was created to understand what are the main areas of the application, features involved and how primary workflows interact with secondary workflows.  Note:  This workflow was created from the buyer’s side, the supplier’s side mirrors a good part of the interface, but it is not exactly the same.

Zooming on the general workflow for the buyer.

 

Ok, let’s see some screens

This flow illustrated show the user creates stacks, manages and visualizes field tickets.

Prototyping

When you are part of two teams working on agile development, prototypes have to be updated on regular basis.  Prototypes help to explain the interaction, gather consensus and test ideas without investing too much time or effort.  Also during the development of this product, we partnered with buyer and supplier companies to test the product on regular basis.  Prototypes helped to test and demo the product during early stages, where the real product was not at the state to be presented.

Play with the prototype for this flow
If you want to learn more about the project, please watch this video.

Project results

The field ticket app has been a great success since its launch.  Some of the reported numbers show that in average it reduces time cycles by over 50%, which can be translated for a single buyer company into over 2 million dollars.  Another great side effect of a much more efficient process is that by converting field tickets into invoices faster, companies can take advantage of early payment discounts.  Also, the field ticket app reduces processing cost by 67%, saving 6.44 cents per field ticket, so if a company processes 100,000 field tickets a year, the overall savings will amount to over a half million dollars.

Project takeaways

For a product, timing is everything, you can have the best methods, user research, and intentions, but if it arrives at the market early or late, the project will not be successful.  The field ticket app arrived when oil prices were at an all-time low, and companies were struggling to adjust to this new reality, and where looking at innovative solutions to increase efficiencies.

About this company:

OpenInvoice helps organizations reduce payables cost, increase spend visibility and improve spend control.  OpenInvoice is part of Oildex.  Oildex offers premier cloud-based oil and gas accounting software with workflow automation and electronic document exchange designed specifically for the oil and gas industry.


Learn more about OpenInvoice | Oildex

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