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That's the goal of Pat Beyer, who, along with two of his brothers, 14 years ago founded Beyer Mechanical, an HVAC company serving commercial and residential customers in San Antonio. Today the company has 100 employees, including 35 field service technicians. Beyer's work is divided almost equally between service and construction, and, overall, 75 percent of its business is commercial.
Beyer is well on his way toward his goal with help from JumpStart Wireless' DispatchSuiteÃ” and OnePlus Service Management (from Boca Raton, Fla.-based JumpStart Wireless Corporation), which, combined, are said to bring to small and medium-size businesses a powerful dispatching and work order management application using the productivity of wireless Internet communication via cell phones and other standard handheld devices.
Beyer is taking a three-phase approach: "First are our time sheets. Our service technicians in the field can electronically time stamp their time sheets using DispatchSuite through our server to our dispatch board. Our time sheets are all electronic."
The next phases involve parts and "per task" work order information, using bar codes. "Every part on our trucks will be bar coded and we're also developing a task book with bar codes for our work orders," said Beyer. "I want to eliminate processing... touch it once and we're done."
Ultimately, for his residential customers and some commercial accounts, Beyer wants to reduce invoicing and accounts receivable by expanding DispatchSuite to facilitate wireless credit card payments. "When the appropriate devices are available, we'll be able to scan credit cards, capture the signature, and use a wireless printer to provide receipts," said Beyer.
By scanning bar coded parts and using DispatchSuite to link field service technicians with the head office's OnePlus Service Management inventory control system, Beyer can use runners to resupply trucks in the field, as well as restock trucks after they've returned for the day.
"The increased efficiency and â€˜up time' will be significant considering we do 100 service calls per day in a 75-mile radius of San Antonio," said Beyer.
"We are very pleased with Dispatch Suite from an ROI perspective. When we were using paper timesheets for our field service staff, we were seeing 10 to 15 minutes of rounding per call. This represents more than $125,000 per year in billable time. Using JumpStart Wireless' DispatchSuite, we shifted responsibility for timesheets from the dispatcher to the tech in each truck using electronic time cards," said Beyer, who added that "The person responsible for the timesheets could now spend three hours each day doing something else."
Beyer pointed out the affordability of JumpStart Wireless' DispatchSuite, which costs "about a dollar a day per user. Also, the system was easy to customize to meet our specific requirements."
In addition, Beyer has installed a GPS system on his trucks. GPS data is automatically matched with the timesheet and work order information, including customer name and address, provided by DispatchSuite from each field service technician.
"This has been a tremendous paradigm shift for us. It used to take us five days to move paper. Now that's eliminated," said Beyer.
"Our business is growing, and for every six techs in the field, we needed one support person. That ratio is now changing since we've used DispatchSuite."
"We are also working with JumpStart Wireless to use DispatchSuite to flow billing data on commercial accounts to accounts receivable directly from the tech at the work site using his handheld," said Beyer. "This automation will significantly speed our billing process and improve cash flow."
Beyer said he first tried to link his field service techs with the head office with wireless e-mail text messaging.
"This turned out to be inadequate for a number of reasons. Then our service manager was introduced to JumpStart Wireless at a seminar and we began working with them to customize DispatchSuite to our needs," said Beyer.
Publication date: 10/27/2003