The Internet has not only made it easier for service technicians to access a wealth of information, it has also driven the development of wireless technology in mobile field applications. One such product - the Vettro Service Contractor - enables field technicians to "manage the entire job process from the field, with minimal support from the central office," according to the company.

"Vettro Service Contractor is a mobile application that transforms Javaâ„¢-technology-enabled cell phones into enterprise-connected computers, enabling dynamic dispatch of field personnel, real-time interaction with enterprise applications, and job status updates directly from a phone or handheld," said Matt Spencer of New York City-based Vettro.

"Vettro Service Contractor's plug-and-play integration with bar code scanners, GPS location services, and credit card readers/printers enables quantifiable cost savings and productivity gains."

According to Spencer, the technology eliminates the need for technicians to call the central office throughout the day by providing them with all the information they need for each job. It also enables technicians to accurately track parts by entering the parts number or using standard bar code scanners attached to the phones. Techs can process payments and generate receipts at the point of service by connecting portable credit card readers and printers to the phone, he said.

Updating Customer Information

Vettro Service Contractor is designed to update job and customer information automatically and reduce travel time by providing accurate point-to-point driving directions.

Matt Gibbs, assistant operations manager of Gibbs Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, Ames, Iowa (, noted that the technology is particularly helpful on after-hours jobs.

"The techs can create calls and access all of the relevant customer data. It allows us to see such things as payment history, service history, and agreement information," he said, noting that the company has customers that receive special pricing.

"Our office personnel are able to perform more throughout the day due to most of the invoice information being entered in the field into our database and SuccessWare21. This allows them to concentrate fully on customer service, marketing, billing, etc."

Another contractor also voiced his support for the Vettro product.

"We replaced a cumbersome inventory system that required two devices, extensive manual entry, and long upload times," said David Ratliff, founder and owner of Midway Plumbing & Heating, Abilene, Texas (

"Vettro Service Contractor gives us real-time inventory management and adds GPS, dynamic dispatch, and access to service histories and job details, all from a cost-effective mobile phone."

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Publication date: 03/22/2004