A big challenge facing HVACR contractors is how to keep daily service management and office tasks seamless and efficient. At times, managing work orders, communicating efficiently with technicians and subcontractors, and keeping customers informed about their account status can be overwhelming.

Responding to these needs, Data-Basics Inc., Garfield Heights, Ohio, has introduced the Data-Basics SAM Pro® Enterprise software suite, which offers contractors a service management, mobile workforce, and office accounting system. According to the company, the system enables contractors to proactively manage daily operations, eliminate manual processes, automatically schedule and execute critical reporting and notification agendas, and communicate securely via the Web with technicians, customers, subcontractors, and other suppliers. Essentially, contractors are able to account for and respond to all service-related activities in real time, the company said.

"We needed a system that was built from the ground up, with everything integrated - from the dispatch board to the back office," said Mark Knopke, president, Brothers Mechanical Contractors, Kansas City, Mo. "SAM Pro allows us to process more work orders with significantly less manpower."

David Jack, president of Data-Basics, shows off some of the company’s mobile technology devices.

Optimizing Efficiency

SAM Pro Enterprise uses Data-Basics' Rules-Based Managementâ„¢ technology, which is designed to increase business efficiency and raise flags as problems arise.

Escalation Manager, a component of SAM Pro Enterprise, automates much of the service workflow process, using predefined "escalation profiles" that enable the system to automatically e-mail, fax, or page the parts manager if, for example, a work order is waiting on specific parts.

According to the company, this automated functionality removes human intervention from routine processes, which helps contractors generate a quick return on investment. The system is designed to enable personnel to spend less time "babysitting" work orders and more time on critical up-selling or cross-selling opportunities.

"Escalation Manager has granted us a tremendous time savings now that customers automatically receive notification of changes in their account activity," said Keith Keingstein, president of BOSS Facility Services, Smithtown, N.Y. "We were able to increase our workload without increasing the number of personnel. In today's marketplace, the technical capabilities of a company are crucial to its advancement and survival."

Another tool, SAM Pro Report

Anywhere, delivers information with detailed reports that can be generated 24/7. Reports can be delivered automatically at predetermined intervals. ReportAnywhere documents may be delivered as faxes, e-mail attachments, or internal files.

Tools For Contractors

By integrating Web site, fax, pager, cell phone, and wireless device technologies into its products, the SAM Pro.net tools allow contractors to operate more efficiently by reducing overhead costs and improving customer satisfaction, the company stated.

One of SAM Pro.net's tools, CRMAnywhere - the Web client interface - is designed to allow contractors' clients to instantly access up-to-date information on work orders, approve quotes, and review reports.

"Having the Web access capability was part of our original goal to streamline our operations and allow our customers to make requests and update jobs seamlessly," said Rick Evans, executive vice president - national accounts, Engineering Excellence Inc., Cincinnati (a 2003 News "Best Contractor to Work For" winner). "In offering our clients round-the-clock access to their work orders and quotes, we are able to provide them a higher level of communication and control."

CSRAnywhere, one of SAM Pro's newest offerings, is designed to help contractors automate and manage the sales lead process from start to finish via the Web client interface. When a lead is received through the call center, an outside salesperson is automatically notified via page or e-mail and can view the details online. CSRAnywhere guides the salesperson through the cycle by using Data-Basics' Escalation Manager tool, which will automatically trigger preset alarms via e-mail or fax if the salesperson fails to make a follow-up call, the company indicated. The salesperson may also view pertinent documents and attach notes to the account.

SAM Pro's back office software components are designed to handle dispatching, scheduling, call center operations, and project management functions. Accounting capabilities, from payroll and general ledger to accounts payable and job costing, are also included in the software suite.

"Whether 10 customers or thousands, SAM Pro Enterprise offers businesses customizable components and the flexibility to grow," said Art Divell, CEO and co-founder of Data-Basics.

For more information, visit www.databasics.com.

Publication date: 03/22/2004