New Tech Solves 'Cable Guy' Waiting Game

Dennis Faas's picture

An Ohio firm has developed a new software system which promises to reduce the time and money people waste waiting for deliveries and repairmen to show up on call.

According to TOA Technologies, US workers lose about $37 billion each year because of vague schedules that keep them pinned down, waiting for delivery and service personnel.

Software Monitors Real Time Events, Not Schedule

The problem of delivery and service call scheduling has long been a tough nut to crack.

TOA's new system, however, tackles the problem by calculating both the amount of time that a given job might take, and the different amounts of time that different workers might require to complete it.

Dubbed "ETAdirect, " the new system works something like a cross between an air traffic control system and a parcel-tracking system, but for delivery and repair field workers.

In real-time, the system allows customers to check the current location and status of the field worker scheduled to make their delivery or provide their in-home service.

Using a device that incorporates GPS tracking, each field worker checks in with ETAdirect on arrival at a job, and on completing it. The system then tracks where workers are, and whether any jobs are taking longer than anticipated.

Automatic Adjustments To Schedules and Assignments

When one worker starts running behind schedule, ETAdirect can reassign some of his or her jobs to another worker who can get there earlier. Deliveries, however, are slightly more complicated to reassign.

The concept sounds simple, but has been difficult to implement, until now.

According to TOA, several of its existing customers have already reported dramatically increased performance using the new system.

One firm reportedly managed to cut the total driving distance for field workers by 40 per cent, while others claim a 25 per cent drop in the number of calls from angry customers.

Although TOA Technologies has been around since 2003, they've recently gained attention of several investors, raising an astounding $17.2 million US dollars in May of 2011, alone. (Source:

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