AP is helping pork producers remain fully operational and safe during the COVID-19 outbreak by providing primary technical assistance remotely for current as well as older barn controllers.
At AP's Technical Support Center in Sioux City, Iowa, the walls are lined with working models of all controller systems produced and sold by AP over the last 30 years. With any incoming customer call, the staff can use the appropriate piece of equipment to troubleshoot the situation, eliminating the need for a dealer or technician to visit the producer's operation.
"This setup is really unique in the pork industry, and it's especially important in the current health environment," says Mark Oberreuter, tech team manager. "AP has always had a strong focus on customer service, and recent advancements in remote monitoring technology have enabled us to further strengthen that commitment."
For producers who use AP's advanced EDGE controller, first introduced in 2015, the tech team can link to the customer unit anywhere in the world via the Internet, whether to help diagnose and address an environmental issue or to simply offer assistance with controller settings.
If a producer has a controller prior to EDGE, the tech team can access the exact same model from the center's walls to resolve the issue by phone or video chat. Oberreuter added that tech staff support is supplemented by AP's full library of training videos which producers and others can access at any time.
New remote video assistance
The Sioux City team is also using a new remote video assistance tool called SightCall. This software allows a tech to view what a customer shows via their smartphone and then interact with the image shown on the screen. The tool utilizes a Telestrator-like device that enables the tech member to draw a freehand sketch over a moving or still video image.
"This tool is yet another way that remote service can help keep hog facilities safe and clean," Oberreuter says. "The current pandemic has prompted us to move even faster with new advancements that will enable us to serve customers even better into the future."