THE WARRANTY MANAGEMENT PROCESS AT GL Homes of Florida used to be bogged down by paper.

“Under the old system, the customer would give us a piece of paper with a warranty request on it, somebody had to write more information on that piece of paper and then hand it to somebody else, who would have to key the information into the system, then work tickets would be generated,” explains Greg Everett, director of business systems at GL Homes.

Now, using CorrigoNet, a home buyer can enter a service request right into GL's warranty management system over the Web. Once GL Homes receives the message, an administrator in the warranty management department sets up an appointment for a service technician to meet with the customer. If the problem is not something that can be fixed on the initial visit, the technician can issue a work order or series of work orders on a BlackBerry right in the customer's home.

GL Homes rolled out CorrigoNet in April 2005. The application uses the Web and BlackBerrys to expedite what used to be an endless hodgepodge of faxes and phone calls.

Everett says that many buyers hire an inspector to walk through the house a month or two before the warranty period expires. It's not unusual for customer service requests to include 60 or 70 items. “Our service supers typically go to a home to look at several problems,” he says.

In a typical scenario, while at the customer's home a GL Homes service superintendent issues a work ticket on a BlackBerry for a subcontractor to come work on the first problem. He then goes to look over the next problem. What makes the BlackBerry so effective is that in the time it takes the super to issue the first work ticket and then move on, the first sub is already calling the customer to set up an appointment. All GL Homes subcontractors have been trained to check online frequently for new work orders.

Everett says that the CorrigoNet system lets GL Homes enforce what the company calls “One, Three, Seven”: one day to respond to the customer; three days to get out to the customer, assess the problem, and assign work tickets; and seven days to resolve the problem.

Marc Cohn, director of business systems at Centex, which also uses CorrigoNet, says that one very strong feature of the technology is that it lets builders establish dependency relationships. “If a service tech finds that a pipe is truly leaking and the floor is damaged, he can create multiple line items and schedule the plumber first and then the drywall guy,” says Cohn, who adds that over the past three years, Centex has rolled out CorrigoNet to 25 of its 49 divisions.

Cohn also has high praise for the application's reporting features. He says that the “Report Subscriptions” feature lets Centex's warranty administrators program the system so that warranty techs and field managers receive reports at specified times.

HOW CORRIGONET WORKS Here's a look at how Centex uses CorrigoNet. Note that Centex does receive service requests over the Web, but generally encourages homeowners to call them in. Other builders may opt to have customers fill out requests over the Web.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Orlando, FL.