Whether a contractor who has a little inventory or a distributor who has a lot of inventory, there is one uniting factor between these two HVAC industry participants — both have inventory. Tracking and managing this inventory can be a challenge, especially for establishments that don’t have a strong infrastructure or that haven’t invested in electronic solutions or platforms. For those distributors still logging inventory on Excel spreadsheets or who are looking to begin down the path of technological advancement, it might be time to take a page out of the book of Professional Cooling and Control Systems (PCACS). Based in Jacksonville, Fla., PCACS provides commercial facility management systems with high-performance building automation systems and HVAC services. PCACS keeps over 5,000 items in stock that are used to supply automatic HVAC services to customers like large Army, Navy, and Air National Guard bases, along with power plants and civic centers throughout the United States and internationally.
“Like a lot of our customers, previously PCACS was using Excel spreadsheets to keep track and manage its inventory,” said Cliff Anderson, product marketing manager, Wasp Barcode Technologies. “They didn’t really have a good solution for this problem, and so they came to us.”
Wasp Barcode Technologies is a barcode manufacturer that provides data capture and tracking solutions designed specifically for small business. The company’s solutions are ready to use right out of the box, and according to Anderson, extend beyond a scaled-down version of complicated enterprise products. The company began as a provider of barcode scanners and barcode labeling software. It has since extended its offerings and provides a complete range of tracking solutions. Besides barcode scanners and printers, solutions include inventory control, asset tracking, time and attendance, and point-of-sale (POS).
Fixing Inventory Problems
When Tommy Gugliotta became operations manager of PCACS the team, his first task was to repair the inventory management system that had been in place for over 20 years. He witnessed the ineffective nature of manually tracking inventory and knew there must be a better way to streamline the process and save his company money.
“We were continually missing items that we thought were in stock. Often times when we would order a certain part for a particular job, it would be used for a different job and we would have no idea,” he explained. “On numerous occasions, we had to have inventory shipped overnight because our tracking system was so inefficient. We wasted countless dollars and time searching for specific items to replace a part or repair a machine.”
Gugliotta began researching inventory software programs and came across Wasp’s Inventory Control solution.
“I tested several software programs but was immediately drawn to Wasp Inventory Control. I started out with a 30-day trial and was impressed with how easy it was to use,” noted Gugliotta. “Inventory Control offered all of the features that PCACS needed, like multiple PC licenses, and the option to purchase barcode printers and mobile scanners to accompany the software.”
PCACS purchased Wasp Inventory Control Professional, which included five PC licenses and one mobile license. The company also purchased a handheld WDT3200 mobile computer and WPL305 barcode printer.
According to Gugliotta, one of the greatest benefits of Wasp Inventory Control for PCACS was financial savings. He noted that the software and hardware solution paid for itself in approximately six months.
“Once we began using the software, the issue of overnighting items completely ceased. We no longer are subject to missing inventory and have significantly cut down the amount of time spent looking for items,” said Gugliotta. “It only takes one or two seconds to look up a certain part, versus scouring through pages and pages of spreadsheets like we used to do.”
PCACS has been a customer of Wasp for over two years now. At one point the company upgraded from version five to version six. This enabled them to have wireless communications.
“For example, if a user has a stock room or they are using their trucks for inventory locations, they can be in the truck or in the warehouse and make an update to the inventory status right there,” said Anderson. “There is no need to go back to a central PC to type all the information in.”
Choosing Inventory Control Solutions
Knowing that not every solution is ideal for each business, Anderson explained where HVAC distributors looking to make changes to their system should consider starting.
“If the distributor has a single location for example, perhaps the standard edition would work,” he said. “It can be ordered strictly as the software or as a complete solution including all necessary hardware.”
Anderson also discussed that those wanting wireless and multiple location capability should consider the RF Professional or the RF Enterprise solutions.
“No matter what you choose, Wasp can customize a solution ranging from approximately $800 to $5,000 or so,” he noted.
As an added service with the software and hardware solutions that Wasp offers, the company also provides unlimited training and technical support for the life of the product via the phone or the Internet.
“This really is a total solution,” said Anderson. “There is pre-sale and post-sale support, along with all sorts of online resources including brochures, video how-tos, case studies, webinars, newsletters, you name it. We are very focused on smaller organizations that generally don’t have a lot of infrastructure in place. We provide that for them.”
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