24/05/2012 | Hardis Group

The express mobile paintless dent removal and bodywork repair specialist asked Hardis Group to develop a mobile app. The aim: to enable mobile technicians to consult customer files and produce and have quotes accepted directly at the repair location.

Services, business software publishing and facilities management company Hardis Group has announced that it has been selected by Dent Wizard, express mobile paintless dent removal and bodywork repair specialist, to develop and deploy a mobile app for its mobile technicians. Their solution can be used to manage administrative tasks such as consulting customer files and producing and having quotes accepted directly at the repair location.

Mobile bodywork repairs

Created in 1983, Dent Wizard is now the market leader in paintless dent removal. Operating in North America and Europe, the company has just over 100 employees and 2000 customers in France. Its unique selling point is that technicians travel around to repair vehicles (dented bodywork and other cosmetic repairs such as holes in seats). The company is experiencing strong growth due to shorter vehicle downtime and lower costs than traditional methods.

Dent Wizard's services, which were previously mainly carried out at garages, dealerships and traditional bodyshops, are developing rapidly among private individuals and company vehicle fleets.

Consult customer files and produce quotes at the repair location

Handling 150,000 repair jobs a year, the mobile repair business needs to be efficiently organized, particularly in terms of administrative management (consultation and update of customer files, quote production and acceptance, billing). In 2008, the paper system was replaced with a mobile device application developed internally by the group. However, the tool never really took off due to being complex, bug-ridden and failing to meet technicians' requirements effectively. "Some technicians even went back to using paper," explained David Escallier, Financial Manager at Dent Wizard. At the end of 2010, they decided to fully rethink the application.

User experience and ease of use

To avoid the pitfalls of the first version, users were heavily involved in defining the requirements and precise specifications. The aim was to simplify the customer file consultation process and reduce the number of screens and entries to a minimum.

The company then approached three companies with a call for tenders. Hardis' proposal was selected: in addition to the quality-price ratio, Dent Wizard teams were impressed by Hardis' consulting approach. "They did not settle for proposing a development project," explained David Escallier, "but also helped us to choose hardware and hosting solutions." The total budget for the project (software development and acquisition of new mobile devices) was €150,000.

Input times halved

Having learned their lesson from the first application, Dent Wizard and Hardis decided to use an internal project group to validate each development stage: navigation principles and screen usability; information to retrieve from the Sage ERP to produce a quote (customer contact details, type of services, prices and predefined discounts, etc.); technician's indication of items to repair (visually for the exterior and lists for the interior); view, saving and retrieval of quotes and rejected and accepted repair orders.

Deployed in December 2011, the new application took its time but initial feedback is unequivocal: users are satisfied and their entry time has been halved compared with the previous version. As for the management, it was the improved reliability of information which was most appreciated: the interface with Sage and the numerous predefined lists reduced the number of outstanding invoices, standardized inputs and limited the number of errors.

A new upgrade is already being worked on to further reduce entry times and increase the productivity of teams on the ground: interface with the national vehicle registration system in order to retrieve full information about repaired vehicles by simply entering or scanning their number plate.

Hardis Group is developing a mobile app for Dent Wizard