Common Man Coffee Roasters, like the majority of the Singapore coffee industry, was relying on paper-based systems to manage work orders, inventory and accounting tasks.
“That was our biggest problem: too much paperwork,” said Jin Yu Wang, operations manager at Common Man Coffee Roasters. “We had to transition physical service reports to billing and invoicing. It was common to have a turnaround time of one to two weeks. It was also a challenge to keep track of parts stock and assets in a manually based system.”
Common Man Coffee Roasters made the switch to UpKeep in June 2019. As a result, the company was able to streamline its work orders, reduce reactive maintenance, and increase visibility into its inventory. The organization believes it is saving a significant amount of time and money as a result and, more importantly, fostering stronger relationships with its management team, owners and customers.
Before UpKeep, Common Man Coffee Roasters used to use a two-way system that included a physical service report book and a paper service report book in addition to a field service app.
“The field service app was incredibly laggy, and it didn’t track things like orders or the cost of parts,” Jin explained. “It didn’t break down invoicing as well as UpKeep does.”
According to Matthew McLauchlan, executive director at Common Man Coffee Roasters, the former field service app required too many workarounds. “The way our technical services team needed to use the other app was not common,” Matthew said. “Since we had internal assets as well as customer assets, our billing and inventory system is quite complex. We needed to create some workarounds in the other system, and then it just got to the point where the workarounds seemed to become more numerous than the app’s built-in features.”
At that point, the company decided to look for a different solution. “UpKeep allows us to consolidate all the things that we wanted to do into just one system,” Jin explained.
Although implementation was a little bit challenging because technicians were simply unfamiliar with the new procedures and processes and the company had to upload a fair amount of part and asset data, the end result was very welcomed.
“It took us at least three to six months before the guys started to get the hang of it,” Jin said. “But once they did, they started to appreciate the ease of the system.”
Matthew offers praise for the UpKeep implementation team. “I think it’s safe to say that both Jin and I have felt really well-looked after by the UpKeep team,” he shared. “Everyone has been very patient and understanding. While we know that we’re certainly not UpKeep’s largest account, we may be one of the most complicated. That combination has been deftly handled by the team and we really appreciate it.”
Because Common Man Coffee Roasters manages equipment in both its own cafes as well as sells and services equipment for other customers, keeping track of parts and equipment condition is a complex and challenging task.
“We can now track the service history of each machine with UpKeep,” Jin said. “Now we have a better idea of when we might need to fix or perform preventive maintenance on a machine. We also have a clearer idea when there may be too much maintenance needed on a particular piece of equipment and make better decisions about purchasing replacements for both our cafes and our customers.”
One of the biggest challenges that Common Man Coffee Roasters faced was that a great deal of information was lost when technicians left the company.
“The paper service reports made it very hard for us to keep track of the history of each machine,” Jin said. “Anytime a technician left, nearly all the history of that individual’s service repairs left as well. When new technicians started, it was always a challenge trying to figure out what to do with the machine, its current condition or how to diagnose problems.”
With UpKeep, all maintenance work orders are stored so that an ongoing equipment history is built up and available for future technicians to see. “It’s a much easier induction for any new technicians coming in,” Jin said.
In addition, Common Man Coffee Roasters uses two or three basic checklists, which can be uploaded to individual work orders to help new technicians ensure they complete all necessary inspections.
Common Man Coffee Roasters is able to obtain so much more data through UpKeep, which gives technicians the ability to better explain needed repairs and maintenance work to customers. UpKeep allows users to see the breakdown of each work order along with the prices. Sharing this information leads to greater trust and better relationships.
“Instead of having a fearfulness toward an account because technicians know the customer would be getting an invoice in a week for a few hundred to a thousand dollars, they were more confident,” Jin said. “The data allows the technician to sit down with the customer and explain all the charges to expect before the invoice is even issued. It creates a better relationship.”
Because the data is so easy to track in UpKeep, the sales team also has more information at its fingertips during conversations with prospects. The challenges and frustrations of dealing with mounds of physical papers or trying to reach out to others on the team who may have information in their heads have been eliminated.
“Since we sell equipment, we often need to be able to check what stock we have on hand,” Matthew said. “ From a sales perspective, we can now log in to the system and quickly view real-time what is on hand as well as see information like color and specifications. We can even grab a serial number directly from the system to move ahead with invoicing. It saves the sales and account management teams quite a bit of time.”
While some companies struggle with too much inventory due to disorganization, Common Man Coffee Roasters faced the opposite problem. The company frequently had a shortage of high-use parts, which caused repair delays.
“One huge problem was not having a part in stock, which delayed repairs,” Jin said. “Turnaround might have been more than three weeks previously. UpKeep now tells us when something is out of stock earlier, which allows us to circumvent the problem. We’ve managed to reduce our downtime to only a few days from nearly a month before.”
Prior to UpKeep, Common Man Coffee Roasters operated in a very reactive maintenance environment with 90% of its work orders revolving around urgent requests. Today, that number has plummeted to an amazingly low 20%.
“I think our preventive maintenance has gone up because of our ability to track better and use recurring work orders,” Jin said. “It helps us catch the accounts before anything happens and just check in. That, in turn, breeds a certain attentiveness from our technicians who now consciously reach out to their accounts. There are no more rush calls asking for a technician right now; it’s more about arranging something in the next two weeks. Again, that builds a better relationship and more trust. There’s no more urgency, in a good way.”
The additional data provided by UpKeep also provides the foundation to have good discussions with both the management and owners.
“UpKeep data gives us talking points that we didn’t have before to engage with our management group or our owners,” Matthew said. “It just so happened that the UpKeep implementation coincided with an increase in our tech revenue and parts cost. The ability to track tech hours, preventive maintenance versus reactive calls, and parts inventory made a big difference. We could also see the movement of machines a little bit more easily. These are all conversation points that we didn’t have previously.”
This shifted the company from a culture where technicians were usually called upon to address problems to a more ongoing discussion.
“UpKeep provides those juicy talking points,” Matthew said. “In the future, we’ll continue watching the split between preventive and reactive maintenance as well as billable versus non-billable hours. UpKeep will help us with those as well as keeping tabs on our parts costs and how efficiently our techs are working in the field.”