Mobile software benefits HVAC market technicians
Like the famous line in the Paul Newman movie, “Cool Hand Luke,” Mechanical contractor Dael Thermal Group Inc. had a failure to communicate.
Technicians with the Ontario-based company weren’t always given details about customer complaints or service histories in the initial paperwork they received, making it difficult to quickly resolve problems.
“A commercial baker loses money every minute that his ovens are broken and his production is stalled,” said Chris Stewart, the company’s service manager. “Our customers can’t afford for us to contribute any further to their downtime, and the burdensome paper-based response and repair processes we depended on were challenging our productivity and our customers’ patience. We used to lose 10 percent of our total sales revenue due solely to missing paperwork alone. That’s not factoring in losses from increased labor needs or repair delays.”
After years of losing sales from missed paperwork, Dael decided to invest in a product that would help the company’s field team keep better track of work orders and customers’ concerns. It purchased Motion Computing’s Motion F5 tablet computers with software from KMP Designs.
The tablets and software helped Dael officials to eliminate paperwork-induced revenue losses and improve the productivity of its field team and office personnel, company officials say.
Scott Ball, Canadian manager for Motion Computing, said the product was also designed to withstand the often extreme work conditions of HVAC technicians.
“It doesn’t make sense to give a commercial mechanic a mobile device that can’t withstand 24/7 exposure to extreme conditions such as high heat, moisture or tight quarters,” Ball said. “Fortunately for Dael, our tablets were designed specifically for the bumps and bruises associated with this line of work.”
Thanks to the software’s real-time data entry and information-sharing features, field teams are now able to retrieve and update work orders, time sheets, parts orders and invoices while at a work site. They can also use the on-board camera, barcode reader and radio interface to capture and send updates to Dael’s home office and customers, or submit model information to suppliers without risking miscommunication of serial numbers.
“For more than three decades, we were at the mercy of paper and people,” Stewart said. “The problem is that both make mistakes, and it often took a long time for us to identify those errors and correct them, resulting in frustration for all parties. Sometimes the customer took the biggest hit and sometimes it was us. We realized that nothing can compete with the immediacy and accuracy of mobile — whether for two-way verbal communications or data sharing. In our industry, the company that can respond the quickest to emergency service calls is the one that will win new business -— and long-term customers. That’s why we jumped into Motion’s mobile proposition and KMP Design’s software solution with both feet first and we couldn’t have made a better operational decision.”