WACO, Texas — The Dwyer Group, one of the largest service trade franchisors, has announced that it is introducing proprietary software designed to connect the company’s thousands of franchise owners, employees, and service and repair technicians across the U.S. and the world via the Internet.

The program, Z-Ware, has been in limited use at The Dwyer Group since last January and will be rolled out to all of the company’s franchise brands at The Dwyer Group’s Annual Reunion in St. Louis in June.

“For our businesses it will be revolutionary,” said Mike Bidwell, chief operating officer, who headed the product’s development. “People don’t naturally expect plumbers or carpet cleaners to be high-tech about their business. But Z-Ware will be like turning a mechanic into an engineer; it’s that progressive for us. It will become completely intertwined with our operating and delivery systems, with upstream data integration to our world headquarters.”

Z-Ware software was specially designed for The Dwyer Group and will include electronic dispatching, payroll automation, invoicing, collections, work orders, inventory tracking, customer and prospect marketing, weekly sales analysis, automated reports, electronic royalty reporting, vehicle maintenance management, human resources, and QuickBooks interfacing.

It will operate any franchisee’s business in the Dwyer Group’s system, regardless of trade, says the company. That includes: Mr. Rooter®, Rainbow International®, Mr. Appliance®, Mr. Electric®, Aire Serv®, Glass Doctor®, and associate company DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen.

“We will eliminate an enormous amount of paperwork as soon as Z-Ware hits franchise locations,” Bidwell said. “When you have a franchise network that has serviced millions of homes, you want to reduce the paper trail and embrace real-time reports to truly know how the business is operating, all while increasing productivity and reducing errors. That applies to technicians, franchise owners, and world headquarters.”

Franchisees will be trained through embedded tutorials, help screens, Web-based training, teleconferences, group meetings, and on-site personal training. Bidwell said the product was designed to be straightforward and to minimize training time, yet also be a significant step forward in progressing the business.

“Z-Ware is going to transform our business over the next several years,” Bidwell said. “It is a very important initiative toward accomplishing our long-term objectives.”

Publication date: 05/19/2003