IBM, Retriever Communications help BP Australia speed data collection for faster analysis and decision-making case study


Courtesy of Retriever Communications

Handheld devices and mobile applications are transforming the way companies of all sizes manage their remote field service personnel and the data they collect. By automating a traditionally paper and time-intensive data collection process, and by integrating remotely collected data into their systems in real-time, companies maximize the value of information in management decision-making.

Retriever Communications, an IBM Advanced Business Partner, provides wireless field applications accessible via PDAs and tablet devices to improve field worker productivity and data integration. Leveraging the stability and security of the IBM System x to ensure customer data integrity, Retriever offers its solution as a service to businesses throughout Australia, the UK and Europe, with field operations staffs ranging in size from as few as five to as many as hundreds of individuals.

Retriever customer, BP Australia, operates 220 company-owned and operated stores throughout Australia. Each of those stores undergoes a comprehensive on-site compliance audit on a quarterly basis. A staff of field-based BP Compliance Advisors, who operate remotely, performs these audits. They are responsible for documenting store performance in areas ranging from financial and inventory management, to health and safety.

According to Daniel Mason, BP compliance assurance manager, prior to utilizing the Retriever mobile application, not only were the audits themselves highly inefficient paper-based procedures, but also bottlenecks in reporting and distributing the data collected compromised the value of the audit for both the stores and the BP management organization.

“Our compliance advisors would spend 6-7 hours in each store filling out a 150-question checklist, then they’d go home and type the results into a spreadsheet they’d e-mail back to the store, along with a list of everyone related to the operations for that store,” he said. “Add travel time and that makes for a long day to audit just one location.” Mason adds that BP had no centralized repository where audit data could be accessed by the management team in Melbourne. Once per quarter, an administrative resource in the BP office would collate this data and compile a summary report for corporate managers.

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