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5 Apps That Will increase Productivity And Awareness

Originally published: 11.09.11 by Barbara Brown


HVACR contractors are embracing mobility’s benefits.

It’s hard to believe that just five years ago no one had even heard of an Apple iPhone or an Android smartphone. Today it would be rare to find a manager without one. In fact, smartphone sales are predicted to hit 28% of the total phone market in 2011. And apps aren’t just about games and email: Leading service companies are starting to provide information about their solutions in mobile apps because customers are demanding it.

 That said, the HVACR industry has survived for years without smartphones or apps — some people still might say that a smartphone is nothing but an- other cause of information overload. But companies on the leading edge have discovered that great apps don’t over- whelm users with information. They help them prioritize. This means it’s easier for managers to pick which problem to solve first, while staying on top of the general health of day-to-day operations. No more constantly calling the office or interrupting techs for a status update.

Field technicians are benefiting from instant access to product information, customer history, and call schedules. Apps also are allowing technicians to invoice and accept signatures from the field, a new capability for most that means the company gets paid faster.

Once managers start using apps, many become

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fiercely loyal and can’t imagine being on the road without them.

Raymond St. Peirre, a manager at New England Inc., a leading HVACR firm in Vermont, said apps have changed the way he does business. Anytime, anywhere access to information is a drastic improvement from having to call the office or interrupt a technician to find out what’s going on. Using SageQuest Mobile, an app version of the GPS fleet-tracking service, he can track his crew and manage quality control while he’s out on the road.

“I can get a quick update while on the road without having to make a call to the technician and interrupt what he is doing at a client’s,” St. Peirre said. “I can also let the next client know when to ex- pect the technician if they should call to ask me because now I can check where he is, and how far away he is from the location.

Before I would have to call the technician, and he would have to stop what he was doing to answer the phone. That takes more of his time, and it interrupts a current client’s job.”

Apps like these benefit managers by saving time, increasing productivity, and in some cases adding capabilities that weren’t there before.

Here are five apps that are designed to make a contracting-type business (such as an HVACR business) more productive and informed:

TechAnywhere Mobile Workforce: Empower your technicians in the field with this comprehensive order- management app from Data-Basics, a developer of mobile-workforce software for service, construction, and facilities- management operations. With this app, field employees can capture electronic signatures on the spot, print an invoice, and transmit a completed work order back to the office. No delays in invoicing, and no extra overhead required.

Available for Android and iOS (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch).

ESC Mobile: If you’re looking for a simple way to share real-time job in- formation with your crew, ESC Mobile from dESCO let’s you assign a technician to a call and then immediately dispatch the information to the technician’s device. The app also let’s you create in- voices, capture customer signatures, and process payments. Technicians also have the ability to get history on each account — including service agreements — and to attach photos of equipment.

Available for Android and iOS (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch).

SageQuest Mobile: With this app, you can see and direct your field crew anytime, from anyplace. Replay routes and see what your driver sees with Google’s StreetViews. Montior your top and bottom performers to know who is speeding, idling, or getting a late start. Set alerts to automatically send notice to drivers’ phones when these safety and efficiency behaviors are in violation. You don’t get just data with this app — you get the same clear, actionable information you get from its desktop version.

Available for Android and iOS (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch).

WRMobile: White-Rogers brings instant field access to its product- replacement information with this informational app. Access wiring diagrams, sell sheets, installation and operating instructions for thermostats, gas valves, and controls in PDF format. Then choose to have them sent to an email address for future viewing. This helpful reference while in the field eliminates the need to stop work on a project to find the source for diagrams and instructions.

ACCA Today: From the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, ACCA Today pulls all of the associa- tion’s news and features together in one handy place on a smartphone. Search for “ACCA Today” in the App Store (iPhone) or Market (Android) on your device.


Articles by Barbara Brown

5 Apps That Will increase Productivity And Awareness

Companies on the leading edge have discovered that great apps don’t over- whelm users with information. They help them prioritize. This means it’s easier for managers to pick which problem to solve first, while staying on top of the general health of day-to-day operations.
View article.