Generac Power Systems is an American manufacturer of backup power generation products for residential, light commercial and industrial markets. Generac sells its power systems through independent dealers, retailers and wholesalers.
Generac communicates with its vast dealer network to schedule and track installations, maintenance requests, and warranty claims. Previously, this process was tracked by paper-based work orders. The company wanted to develop an easier, more efficient way for its field technicians to access the information they needed while on the job.
Prior to implementing a mobile application, Generac had been using a web-based portal with limited functionality, particularly in the field, where lugging around a laptop can be an inconvenience. Generac decided to build a custom app, beginning with iPad, that was fully integrated with the company’s back-end systems.
For the application to succeed, field service technicians needed a quick, easy way to:
Access information about the generators they are working on
Register and activate generators during the installation process
File warranty claims against generators for replacement parts
View past service requests, claims, payments, and other details of service
After conducting a lean requirements workshop, Devbridge established a product roadmap, using research and feedback from Generac’s dealer network. Devbridge implemented a strategy of building a prototype first, creating alignment with the dealer network prior to investing a significant amount of money into the application build.
The scope of the prototype was limited to validate core value propositions with the dealer market. The prototype allowed users to interact with the app and preview the experience of the finished product. Customer feedback early in the product design process is incredibly impactful as it allows the customer to influence the resulting application and maximize ROI, all with minimal upfront cost.
The overwhelmingly positive reception of the prototype allowed Generac to fund the larger product initiative and Devbridge to built a cross-platform implementation of the solution.
Devbridge built a working prototype in less than 60 days and released a working product to market in just five months. With a prototype built in such a short time, Generac was able to showcase its new paid application, TechPro, to its network of dealers. The result? 90% of Generac dealers signed up for the service before a single line of code was written.
Generac’s experience reinforces the value of rapid prototyping, which creates alignment for audiences and stake-holders early in the development process. For Generac, a prototype enabled the company to achieve buy-in from its users at a significantly lower risk, as well as create a customer-centric experience in the resulting app.
Armed with the new field services app, Generac field technicians now complete twice as many work orders in a day.
More: How we used rapid prototyping to create an award-winning international banking application four times faster