University of Phoenix
Certification/Re-certification of Authorized Repair Service Centers
Background and Statement of Need
ESAB Welding & Cutting Products has developed and manufactured welding and cutting products for more than 100 years. The facility in Florence, SC manufactures and supports equipment sold throughout the U.S. The support of the manual plasma and welding equipment is handled by our on-site service center and over 200 outside repair service centers located throughout the US. The outside repair service centers are referred to as ESAB Authorized Repair Service (ARS) centers. The ARS centers try and encourage all products to be serviced and repaired by certified technicians on the products. Certification requires attendance at a 5-day training class held at the Florence facility. ESAB also requires recertification for technicians, so travel and time could potentially create an issue for centers if they are not fully staffed, and ESAB has occasionally allowed these classes to be held remotely. The remote classes are coordinated with the assistance of their Territory Salesman (TSM) who has the responsibility of providing the place to hold the class and all the necessary equipment needed to demonstrate servicing procedures. After successful completion of this class, the technician receives a Certification ID Card and Certificate of Completion. All equipment needs to have some sort or maintenance performed on it from time to time. ESAB pays certified technicians a premium rate of $75.00 an hour to service equipment that is covered under warranty. A certified technician must work for an ARS center which is under contract with ESAB. An ARS center could operate without having a certified technician on site, but they would only be paid a base rate of $40.00 an hour. It has been a mission of ESAB to get all ARS centers to have at least one certified technician on their site at all times. If that certified technician leaves or is dismissed, we require that the ARS center notify ESAB and have someone else certified within a six month period in order to maintain their certified status. There are many reasons if there were more certified technicians, such as repair time being reduced if the technicians were trained to service ESAB equipment. There is a large amount of money that could be saved for ESAB and the ARS centers. Increasing the efficiency of certification should increase the amount of certified technicians. The more certified technicians there are, the better their equipment will serviced if their equipment was repaired and returned to them in a timely fashion. Only ESAB Certified technicians will have access to ESAB Service Manuals and online support. When new equipment is introduced to our line of products, they will be notified and scheduled for update training. We would also like to advertise these facilities as being certified and recommended if services are required. In-house, we use a support center provided by Alliance Astea. We refer to it as SPIRIT. This system is used to record all support requests that come into our department via telephone, email, or fax. A major complaint of our ARS centers is the wait time on telephone support. Some of the calls could be handled in one to two minute time limits, some could be an hour. We would like to give our certified technicians logon identification and passwords to access the system directly and submit their request for support. We have a customer portal that is operational within Astea that would be perfect for this type of interaction. The portal is monitored by our technicians and any entry into that system is monitored an elevated to a higher status based on time of entry. This type of support request could be handled quickly without the customer waiting by the phone for a call back. Astea also has a Literature...