SOURCE: Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

September 11, 2007 13:07 ET

Forecasting and Planning Solutions Improve SLA Compliance by 18% and Productivity by 20%

Service Organizations Are Optimizing Their Operations by Aligning Service Demand With Resource (People, Parts, Fleets) Capacity

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - September 11, 2007) - In the face of myriad planned and unplanned constraints and activity, a majority of Best-in-Class service organizations recently surveyed by Aberdeen, a Harte-Hanks company (NYSE: HHS), stated they are systematically integrating their demand forecasting, capacity planning and service execution processes. The ultimate goal is to achieve the most cost-effective, productive and profitable service operation while driving customer loyalty and satisfaction.

The recently published study -- "Underpinnings of Service Excellence: Synchronizing Resource Capacity with Service Demand" -- reveals that service organizations who have taken strategic actions to accurately forecast service demand and effectively plan and provision service resources to meet that demand have realized 22% increase in first-time fix rate, 18% higher SLA compliance rate, 27% improvement in workforce utilization, and 14% lower overtime costs.

"Aligning demand with resources enables a company to not only deploy the right technician with the right part at the right time resulting in high customer satisfaction, but also allows the company to move away from a state of constant fire-fighting," said Amit Jain, Research Director at Aberdeen and author of the report. "Financial gains from productivity improvements make it a no-brainer."

Other highlights from the report include:

--  Best-in-Class firms are 8 times as likely as the rest to report First-
    time Fix Rate of over 96%
--  Best-in-Class firms are 4 times as likely as the rest to report Work-
    order Completed Rate of less than 5%
--  Best-in-Class firms are 3 times as likely as the rest to report SLA
    Compliance Rate of over 96%
--  Best-in-Class firms are 4 times as likely as the rest to measure
    planning and demand accuracy in real time
    

Jain recommends that service organizations consider the following Best-in-Class strategies as potential building blocks of a successful service organization:

--  Improve productivity by establishing guidelines for type and frequency
    of communications among dispatchers and field technicians.
--  Document all constraints that impact field service work order
    allocation to effectively plan, forecast and provision resources.
--  Take stock of existing technology infrastructure and plug the gaps to
    enable closed loop service management.
--  Take multiple factors into account in order to accurately forecast
    work-order demand.
--  Integrate customer, contract and asset information with demand
    forecasting and planning processes.
    

Over 200 companies participated in this quantitative study, including Xerox, WR Grace, Mitutoyo, Bang & Olufsen, Grundfos Management, BARCO, ABB, Rinker Materials, Wartsila, SAIC, TAMI, Honeywell HBS, NALCO, AGCO limited, FLIR Systems, Bausch & Lomb, PLDT, and Ingersoll Rand.

Underwriters of the "Underpinnings of Service Excellence: Synchronizing Resource Capacity with Service Demand," are SAS, Aseta, TOA Technologies, and PointServe. To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, visit: http://www.aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?cid=4168

About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen is a leading provider of fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having benchmarked more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is uniquely positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen™ for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen http://www.aberdeen.com or call (617) 723-7890, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748 or go to http://www.harte-hanks.com.

© 2007 Aberdeen Group, Inc., a Harte-Hanks Company
260 Franklin Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02110-3112
Telephone: (617) 723-7890
Fax: (617) 723-7897
www.aberdeen.com

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