Imagine this: Your company rolled out the latest and greatest product that will finally allow you to compete head to head with the market leader. Your biggest customers have become your medium accounts as larger players in the market switched to your platform. The growth curve is looking exceptional, and expansion is on the horizon.
And then it happens…
Your service department is suddenly swamped with a series of issues from the new product; three distinct error codes seem to be bricking the machines. As a result, tens, then dozens, then hundreds of replacement units are being deployed all over the country. Your supplier has no answers, and your service team cannot nail down a single source of failure. Now you are rapidly burning through all of the good relationship equity that this product launch afforded you.
Voltonix was brought to the front lines of this nightmare scenario and assisted its client in this potentially catastrophic, company ending battle.
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The product involved a chip-based magnetic card reader that could also write to the EMV or chip. The chip lost power during the card read process, and the machine was unable to provide power to the chip on the card… ever again. A bricked machine that costs tens of thousands of dollars does not make for a happy customer base. What’s worse, word travels quickly in this industry.
The Strategy – Protect:
After Voltonix conducted a deep-load analysis and profiled the device’s DC loads, it was determined that the culprit might be insufficient voltage getting to a component. Furthermore, dirty power sources might also have been corrupting a board. While the manufacturer’s engineers continued to troubleshoot additional hardware fixes, Voltonix helped the client deploy a statistically significant number of low impedance isolation transformers to test power as a variable. In a perfect world, this would be the end of the story. Problem solved – wrap it up with a self-congratulating paragraph and high fives all around. But it wasn’t.
While the low impedance isolation transformers did reduce the failure rate by a full 10 percent, half of the units were still failing. The engineering team determined that a combination of replacement parts, including one addressing electrostatic discharge, completely eliminated the problem. The incoming cards carried a small static charge into the system and nuked the board responsible for writing to the card. To solve this, a brush could be installed on the card input that would dissipate the charge. Now the client needed to deploy this 40-minute hardware retrofit to 1,600 units across the country.
The Strategy II – Prepare:
The Voltonix site preparation program allowed us to deploy an army of skilled labor nationwide within days. By adapting the workforce to perform this very specific set of tasks, Voltonix was able to rapidly deploy a complicated hardware retrofit to hundreds of machines. Here’s how we did it.
The Real Solution:
First, we went onsite with the manufacturer who was rapidly retrofitting the existing inventory at the client’s warehouse to learn the process and setup the logistics to deploy the kits to our workforce. Next, we trained our project managers on the procedure and developed the full scope of work and deliverables for each site. We created an iFixit-style walk-through webpage as a reference for technicians to review before they went onsite. Finally, we managed technician check ins, troubleshooting and deliverable submissions from our HQ. We were able to launch this program within days of the discovery of the final fix.
A valued client faced a perilous situation that could have sunk this vertical within the company at best and the entire business at worst. We were fairly confident that our “Protect” P would solve the problem. It was something; but it wasn’t enough. This might have been the end of the line for some consultants. But Voltonix is dedicated to discovering solutions and solving problems. By working closely with both the client and their supplier collaboratively, we helped implement a fix across a widely dispersed deployment of assets.
The client was satisfied, and the client’s customers saw them as responsive and aggressive in their remediation of a serious issue. The client’s supplier saved face by discovering a solution and funding the remedy. It was a win – win – win scenario. The extended result for Voltonix was a new program: Smart Hands. Voltonix now offers ad-hoc break fix services to OEMs anywhere in the country at extremely competitive rates. When phone support isn’t resolving a site issue, and it isn’t feasible to fly a burdened employee out, Voltonix Smart Hands can work independently or with your service team to get equipment up and running again.