From Information Management to Customer Satisfaction
By Chip Russell, Sprint
From the Florida panhandle to the Everglades, Sprint provides local telephone service to more than 1.7 million subscribers across 350 communities and 36 counties. Sprint of Florida is part of the Sprint Corp., which serves more than 6.4 million local customer lines in 19 states. In Florida, customers` communications needs are anticipated by the Sprint Central Office Engineering (COE) division–an increasingly important role in today`s deregulated communications environment.
The COE implements equipment upgrades and additions to provide sufficient line capacity to meet forecasted growth and service demands. This task entails information management on a large scale, from diagrams to work orders to electronic transmissions. The COE now uses Intergraph`s DM2 to quickly and easily transmit work orders and equipment diagrams to Florida`s 300 Sprint sites. Before DM2, equipment changes were much more difficult.
The Information Management Problem
In the past, each upgrade and addition to the telephone lines had to be indicated graphically on some 18,000 equipment diagrams, most of which are stored electronically as vector files in the Intergraph format (.dgn). Then each upgrade or addition required a work order, resulting in tens of thousands of work orders being issued per year to the central office from 300 installation offices. “This process was entirely manual; we knew we had to make some changes,” said Chip Russell, management information systems project manager at Sprint in Florida.
In an earlier effort to automate the costly paper-based work order process, a drawing management pilot system was installed. Although the pilot system provided some automation improvements such as fast drawing retrieval, it still relied on a paper-based distribution of work orders containing equipment diagrams. The work flow process remained tedious, prone to error and costly.
Recognizing the tremendous costs of continuing to support this paper flow, Sprint expanded and upgraded the pilot system to include a full information management system. The company chose Intergraph to provide a DM2 information management suite of products, including capabilities such as automated file management, viewing and redlining, and electronic work flow.
DM2: a Paperless Work Flow
Intergraph provided consultation and software development resources to expand the existing pilot system to a company-wide DM2 implementation. “We process about 23,000 work orders per year, at four hours per work order. After switching to DM2 automation, we were able to cut that to 15 or 20 minutes,” Russell said. Sprint uses DM2 workflow software to route engineering drawings and other work order-related documents between 74 PCs in the central office and 30 remote locations across the state.
Previously, the same distribution took several days to transport the heavy bundles of documents from the central office to various destinations by truck. The central office and remote sites can now also electronically view and mark documents as needed. The laborious and expensive paper-based system has been completely eliminated.
“With DM2, we can provide documents from the panhandle of north Florida to Fort Myers in south Florida–in seconds rather than days. Multiply the thousands of work orders we issue each year by the 20 sheets of paper each work order contains, times the number of copies needed, and you can easily see how much we`ll be saving,” Russell said.
More Benefits of DM2
The DM2 solution not only reduces paperwork, it also offers these convenient features:
data entry and electronic storage of the various work order components;
electronic modification of equipment diagrams;
electronic notification when a work order is approved and ready for review, plotting, copying, revising or redlining; and
automatic check-in of documents when work is completed.
These DM2 features save time in a number of areas and reduce operating costs associated with reproduction, storage and document transport.
Choosing DM2 has given Sprint a solid investment in a reliable, effective technology the company can use to meet the vigorous demands of the industry. “Now an engineer can use DM2 to perform the job and communicate with our outlying sites from his desktop. In fact, the product has proved so profitable that we will be expanding the system corporatewide to Sprint in other states,” Russell said.
Intergraph`s innovative DM2 products have made possible the goals of a paperless workflow, time and cost savings, competitive positioning and easily met service demands for Sprint in the state of Florida today, and for Sprint nationwide tomorrow.
Chip Russell is management informa- tion systems project manager at Sprint in Florida. He has 11 years experience in document management, four with Sprint and seven with Lockheed Martin Aerospace where he organized a document management system for the Factory Floor/Lab and Office space of 2 million square feet in Orlando, Fla. He has a bachelor`s of art degree in organizational communications, Rollins College.
Installation work at Sprint.