Radley’s Technical Support team members are a very knowledgeable and competent group of individuals. While they’re tasked with handling the rare ‘system down’ scenario where it’s ‘all hands on deck,’ the primary issues reported tend to be something occurring on an infrequent basis. One of the constant challenges with these types of problems encountered by the users is they’re not always reported in a timely fashion. For example, a user may notice a problem within a certain transaction on the night shift once in a while, and not report it for days. By the time it makes its way onto someone’s radar and then is conveyed to Radley’s Support team, the details associated with the problem are incomplete, or no longer timely.
One of the triage techniques we’re employing among the team members on an increasing basis is to work directly with a subject matter expert from the customer who reported an issue. This could be an actual end-user from the shop floor, or an IT or Operations administrator who’s equally well-versed with the Radley solution. Every ERP solution Radley integrates with (as well as our own stand-alone software) has features which are highly configurable and customized to operations specific to the company and/or industry. As such, our Support team can’t possibly know each one’s business practices as it relates to their overall solution. Additionally, there may be configurations specific to a customer which can alter the flow within a specific transaction. A Purchase Order Arrival for Customer A might have five prompts, but for another – with the same ERP – might have seven prompts. As such, ‘Issue Replication’ has become a key part of our triage and ultimate resolution to many reported problems.
The benefit of this is two-fold. From a Support perspective, our technicians get a firm understanding of the issue as it relates to the specific customer’s process. From the Customer’s perspective, they get a better understanding of what key information is necessary for Radley Support to properly triage and resolve an issue.
Recently, a customer reported an issue with a particular device not being able to process a transaction and have it post as expected to their ERP system. Our technician initiated a mutually-agreeable time frame to conduct a screen share with the customer. Leveraging some of our tools which allowed us to view the software on the user’s device, as well as see in ‘real-time’ the activities being written to our logs, he was able to do some side-by-side comparisons for successful transactions versus the one which was failing. The result turned out to be a configurable parameter in an attached scanner which inserted a special character into a data string the ERP system couldn’t accept. Had they not ‘replicated’ this in a joint effort, the triage process could have taken several days and numerous occurrences to establish the root cause.
There are additional benefits to these types of exercises, including familiarizing the customer with an efficient method for doing acceptance testing of bug fixes or changes/enhancements. The key is the procedures and related data for any given transaction are provided to Radley’s Support to leverage, and eliminate any assumptions as to how the process flow or data used should be generated. In many cases, our customers export ‘Production’ data to a ‘Test’ environment, so Order Numbers, Part Numbers, Locations, Lot/Serial numbers and so on are consistent. This – along with the one-on-one communication and rapport with the customer point-of-contact – is a WIN-WIN for everyone.
Mark Walker, Director – Technical Support
Radley Manufacturing & Warehouse Division, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Mark’s 10 years with Radley have included software demonstration/training, QA Testing, and Support. He received a B.S in Business Administration from Davenport University. His experience spans more than 25 years working with data collection solutions for WMS, ERP, MRP and Inventory/Asset Management systems in both Military and Commercial environments. Mark’s unique skills help ensure Radley customers receive the highest level service and support.