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CHEMET GLI (previously GLI) has existed in the French market for a long time. We operate two production units/factories where we manufacture GPL reservoirs, and a branch dedicated to services.
Our service branch, which has used Praxedo since 2007, was created in the early 1990s.
Today, we cover all of France. Our business consists of installing, removing, and exchanging liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tanks. We also offer emergency service on LPG tanks installed at our customers’ locations (Butagaz, Antargaz, etc.) as well as all aspects of installation control.
Our service branch operates several centers and depots all over France. We currently employ over 500 workers, including 160 that focus on service activities.
We have 140 field technicians that visit customers sites to install, repair or replace LPG tanks daily. They complete close to 25,000 work orders each year.
In January 2020, GLI (Gaz Liquéfiés Industrie) was acquired by CHEMET, a Polish entity. The company is now known as CHEMET GLI SAS.
We were pioneers of digitized work order management in France. We actually implemented Praxedo in 2007, making us veteran users.
Work order management the “old-fashioned” way –
Before implementing Praxedo, we managed work orders the “old-fashioned” way – with Michelin road maps taped to the walls, and pins and index cards to mark customer requests. All it took to mix them up was for someone to walk too close to the wall. It was certainly a different time. Meanwhile, our technicians carried printouts of Excel spreadsheets with them wherever they went which was super impractical.
A need to optimize operational processes –
Obviously, there came a point where we needed to improve our operations. We decided to look for a field service management software that would allow us to optimize our technicians’ routes and track our customer contacts, including work order history and comments.
Our previous process was way too cumbersome and hindered our ability to develop our business and grow. We had little to no visibility into our short and long term operations.
The catalyst came when 2 large customers of ours wanted us to interface with their data exchange system. In the 2000s, we were basically using fax, email and regular mail to communicate with our customers which slowed the entire process down.
Seeking a solution that could connect to our ERP –
We already had an ERP at the time; an old version of Sage. So we needed to find a field service management solution that would allow us to capture information from the technicians and transfer it to our ERP.
After exploring various solutions on the market, we chose Praxedo, which was the most advanced solution available for any business with technicians in the field.
Reasons for choosing Praxedo’s field service management software –
One factor was the ability to customize our forms. We could easily create the required fields based on the information we needed. Praxedo’s primary advantage truly is the versatility and flexibility of their solution.
Another factor in our decision was the ease with which we could plan service calls and follow our technicians’ activities in real time.
We then implemented Praxedo. We received documents from our customers that integrated to our Sage ERP, and the information was sent to Praxedo for the rest.
There are three categories of Praxedo users at CHEMET GLI.
Dispatchers: Web interface for planning technicians’ schedules
Our dispatchers use the web platform for easy scheduling. Work orders are created in our Sage X3 ERP, then automatically populated in Praxedo to create the schedules using the mapping tool. At a glance, they can see the locations of all the scheduled work orders, and plan optimal routes for our technicians. Praxedo saves us precious planning time in this area.
Technicians: Streamlining work order reports with the mobile app
Our technicians use the mobile app as they go from one customer site to another. Its functionality is pretty simple: we push work order requests to the technicians through the app. They then have access to all the information they need to carry out their work – address, contact information and name of the contact on site, history of previous work orders related to the tank, etc.
They complete their reports directly in the app while onsite. The forms are pre-customized. All the technicians have to do is follow the process on their phones or tablets.
We made some fields mandatory – for example, photos are very useful. We ask technicians to include between five and ten photos per work order report. This is a big advantage for us, as it allows us to conduct before and after analysis and provide customers with factual proof of the work carried out on their LPG tank.
After submitting the form, they are automatically brought back to our Sage X3 ERP. Key information is automatically transferred across systems, including checkboxes, tank numbers and photos, with the help of Praxedo’s web services. We would eventually like to expand the scope of this data transfer by installing the connector developed by Praxedo for Sage X3. I’ll get to this later.
Prebilling department: New way of using the work order data
They access data from the work order reports, view our technicians’ comments, and create a command line of the completed work orders in our Sage X3 ERP. This process will eventually be automated once we implement the connector.
Increased Sage X3 reporting functionality for everyone
Now, work order requests are sent hourly from Sage X3 to Praxedo, and technicians’ reports are uploaded from Praxedo to Sage X3 in real-time.
Improved customer responsiveness
Praxedo clearly allows us to improve our responsiveness to customer requests. With customer information and work order history tracked in the platform, we can respond to customers’ requests for information in real time. Our customers really appreciate it.
Optimized work order tracking
Praxedo allows us to track all the information related to each work order. We know exactly, and immediately, what work was done on which tank, when, and by whom – and we also have photos as proof. We can easily access all information for each service call.
Streamlined work order planning and administrative processes
With Praxedo, everyone is working on the same tool. There’s less paperwork. Everyone knows what’s going on, and everyone works the same way. We’ve streamlined our work order procedures and administrative process. Information circulates internally in a fluid way, which improves communication with our customers. Previously, every service center had its own form; there was no uniformity. Now, everything is standardized, cohesive, and user-friendly.
Reliability in the field, even in extreme conditions
Digitization has also improved our operations in the field. Our technicians often work under extreme conditions: in the rain, in a ditch, in mud, etc. Previously, this often resulted in wet, illegible or torn paper. Praxedo allowed us to significantly increase the reliability and usability of the information in the work order reports.
Time saved on data entry
Another benefit of Praxedo is that we spend way less time entering data now that certain information is automatically populated. And, once we’ve installed Praxedo’s Sage X3 connector, there will no longer be any need for double entry of data at all.
Optimized routes and reduced travel time for technicians
From an operational standpoint, Praxedo allows us to optimize our technicians’ routes. Work orders can be reviewed at a glance. By planning routes through the map module, we can see everything clearly. If an unforeseen event arises, the geolocation function allows us to determine which technician is closest to the customer site. Routes are optimized and technicians’ travel times are reduced. It’s very simple.
Better service for our customers
Lastly, the biggest advantage of Praxedo is its ability to strengthen relationships with our customers. Work order reports are more complete, they include photos, and they’re sent off right after the technician completes them. We no longer need to wait for technicians to come back to the office or send a fax. Nothing is forgotten or lost. All the information we need is immediately available: percentage of gas returned, tank numbers, before and after photos, preliminary site visits, etc. In terms of customer satisfaction, it’s really beneficial.
With certain customers, we have very tight contractual commitments; particularly when it comes to work order completion time. Praxedo provides a detailed view of all our field activities, allowing us to carry out service jobs much more quickly.
Praxedo is clearly part of our future at GLI. At the beginning of the year, we were acquired by CHEMET, and our new management is considering expanding the solution across other business units.
Next objective: Deploy Praxedo’s Sage X3 connector
We were not able to do this before because of the buy-back procedure. We believe that Praxedo’s connector will allow us to further improve productivity on all fronts. This is one of our priorities for the coming year.