COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Aire-Flo Corp. averages 100 field service calls a day, 365 days a year, delivering heating, cooling and electrical systems and services to commercial and residential customers in central Ohio.

Using the @Road GeoManagerâ„¢ service, a location-based wireless solution for mobile resource management, Aire-Flo was able to increase the number of daily field service calls and improve its profit margin, even as the company decreased maintenance and administrative costs.

Steve Alexander, president of Aire-Flo, said he is "always striving to improve his company's ability to deliver heating, cooling, and electrical systems and services to residential and commercial customers in central Ohio."

Because Alexander's goal was to improve customer service and

increase efficiency, he turned to a new location-based, wireless Internet solution from @Road.

The company has developed a Mobile Resource Management (MRM) platform using a global positioning system (GPS), wireless communications, and the Internet. Customers using the service have access to a wide range of tools, including activity and workflow reporting, mapping, location-on-demand, two-way text messaging, and maintenance scheduling.

The MRM service Aire-Flo now uses is integrated with a combination of technology solutions including an S2000 database and a Vaultus Mobile Platformâ„¢ for routing and dispatching.

Cutting Costs

According to @Road, the system is more cost effective than other options because the network infrastructure and software are hosted by the company at data centers on both U.S. coasts.

Using the integrated system, Aire-Flo employees can view a map of a given area, identify in real-time the location of its mobile workers, and see on-screen the name and location of their customers. When a call comes in, Aire-Flo can immediately assign the nearest mobile worker to the job, said Alexander.

"Because the @Road service is Web-based, I can log on and view field operations maps and reports from anywhere in the world, so long as I have an Internet connection," said Alexander. "This flexibility is key to growing the Aire-Flo business."

The company no longer has to call each technician to identify their location, work status, and availability. Using the @Road service, Aire-Flo has been able to save an estimated 15 hours per month per mobile worker. Also, because distances traveled are substantially reduced, so are costs for fuel and vehicle maintenance.

Prior to using the @Road system, office administrators created service tickets by hand. Today, service tickets are generated by entering customer and appointment information into the system. These appointments then appear as stars on a map. As jobs are completed, the stars disappear.

By having a more accurate account of when a service technician starts and finishes his day, Aire-Flo has been able to cut 10 percent to 15 percent from its payroll expenses, Alexander said.

"I can't understand why every services business in the country is not using the @Road solution," said Alexander. "The time savings alone have more than paid for the cost of the service. Add in the improved customer service, reduced clerical expenses, and additional revenue opportunities, and I am a very happy man right now."

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Publication date: 03/22/2004