ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — It’s easy for contractors to get so caught up in their day-to-day business activities that they overlook some of the office systems that keep the business humming along. These systems, including computer programs, need to be monitored for their usefulness and overall applicability to the business.

The News visited with these exhibitors at the 2002 International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition in Atlantic City in order to see what innovative software products were available.

Elite Software (Bryan, TX) held court for many visitors looking for software solutions for their hvacr businesses. Elite’s president, Bill Smith, had a lot to talk about.

In particular, he introduced a computer program called Drawing Board, which he said is “a simple-to-use CAD program created specifically for hvac contractors that want to draw floor plans and ductwork, and have hvac load calculations and duct-sizing calculations made right from the drawing.”

Drawing Board can be used as a standalone product or in conjunction with Elite’s RHVAC and CHVAC load-calculation programs, and with Elite’s duct-sizing program, Ductsize.

“Drawing Board is the only integrated hvac drawing and calculation program capable of drawing double-line ductwork,” said Smith.

FieldCentrix (Irvine, CA) did not mind its perch in the corner of the software section. The company had exciting product and partnering news. The company introduced its FX Mobile products for Pocket, Palm, and RIM operating systems. According to Lynn Powers, manager of corporate communications, “We’ve broadened our range of supported mobile devices to include affordable and convenient PDAs. At the same time, we’re offering alternative levels of software functionality and wireless capabilities.”

Powers added that new options integrate with the FX Service Center dispatch software and database. Users can upgrade without losing their original investments in FieldCentrix software, hardware, custom applications, and training.

Service Automation Systems, Inc. (Houston, TX) shared its booth space with national hvacr franchiser AireServ. The combination made sense; the two companies have partnered in the past, with AireServ recommending Service Automation’s software for its franchises.

The software company is well known for its SASWin Professional program, the “enterprise service management solution.” Some of the features of SASWin Pro include:

  • Customer Service Master — Provides complete customer service information;

  • Service Contracts — Provides automatic billing and booking of maintenance contracts;

  • Call Booking — Records pertinent customer information, equipment location, and call history;

  • Call Assignment — Sends the right technician to the right job;

  • Dispatching — Keeps technicians on the job and off the road; and

  • Equipment Logs — Keep up-to-date records on customer equipment and service histories.

    Yvonne Tuttle and the staff at the Team Management Systems booth were on hand at this year's AHR Expo to discuss the company's new software offerings.
    Team Management System, Inc. (TMS) (Ft. Myers, FL) had a well-staffed exhibit, where company employees were busy talking about the newest TMS offering, AcoWin™.

    AcoWin is a “revolutionary. new contractor package written for Windows™.” It features drag-and-drop operability, scheduling, dispatching, purchasing, and reporting; and it makes contract and time-management invoicing “easy to do and understand,” the company said.

    It is written for the residential and commercial contractors and can be integrated into existing accounting packages.

    “AcoWin is not just aesthetically pleasing, but an easy-to-use, full-featured management tool designed to help businesses speed up invoicing, increase cash flow, and improve bottom-line profits,” said vice president Nathan Tuttle.

    Wrightsoft (Lexington, MA) exhibit staff were busy explaining the features of the company’s popular hvac system design tools.

    One software product was Right-Suite Commercial (RSC), a software program integrating the process of floor plan drawing, system design, duct layout, parts takeoff, and proposal development. (See page 13 for more details about RSC.)

    Right-Suite Commercial is touted by the company as “an all-ASHRAE-based design package, focused on the high level of productivity and flexibility that commercial hvac designers require.”

    When the product was first rolled out, Wrightsoft president Bill Wright said, “ASHRAE calculations are now world standards, and we started from that basis. We wanted to make a program that fills a real gap in the market — a graphic input program that can work like an automatic assistant.”

    Publication date: 05/13/2002