One of the most difficult tasks in the software industry is bug hunting. No matter how much testing you do, even imagining the wildest of scenarios in which you expect your customers to use your technology, they seem to discover a way to find bugs you never had a chance of finding. Though bugs can be frustrating as the consumer, how a company responds says a lot about how well they appreciate their customers. Scout Systems is no different, we aren’t perfect and on occasion customers find bugs that we missed. Recently we had what we referred to as the “unicorn bug” as we deemed it impossible to replicate, which required me to personally travel onsite to help fix. On that same trip I visited a prospect who used my competitor’s software (I won’t say which one) but this is a story of the difference Customer Service had on this new sale.
Dealing with Internet Loss — A Work Instruction Nightmare
Our visual work instruction / data collection system is all cloud based, which means you need the internet in order to use it. But just as I previously said, nothing is perfect, and sometimes (especially in large manufacturing facilities) the internet will drop out. We have worked hard to make our visual work instruction software function during temporary losses of internet, though there are a few things that we are still discovering. For instance this “unicorn bug” was when the internet dropped out milliseconds prior to our sensors triggering a software action to run a database query. We couldn’t replicate this because we were unable to kill our wifi within the window needed to make this error happen. I was onsite, isolated the machine and our team remote controlled the computer to analyze. We were able to locate the issue, repair it, and deployed a release while I was onsite. That customer had a single machine down for 1 hour and the problem is now resolved.
As I wrapped up, my vendor brought me in to meet with a new prospect; it was going to be a hard sale because they had already paid and committed to my competitor. While they gave me their plant tour an operator showed me the software that they were using. During the demonstration the program kicked up an error message, forcing them to reboot. I was informed that this error happened 3 times a day at each machine. With over 100 machines, estimating a reboot takes 2 minutes, they are losing 10 hours of combined labor every day. What makes matters worse, they have sent screenshots to their vendor and there has yet to be a solution.
Evaluate before Commitment
When I talk with new customers I tell them to “date us before you marry us”, what I mean by that is just purchase a small amount from Scout Systems to see how well our visual work instruction technology will work in your facility. I am confident with every single new client there will be at least 1 complication, be it in training, installation/configuration, or maybe they will find the next “unicorn”. Scout Systems is very confident in the rapid ROI for our customers, but equally important (at least we believe so) is how well we show appreciation and dedication to making your organization stronger with our help.