Dispatching, liens and digital thumbnails

S2000WIN (www.S2000WIN. com, 800/643-1339) is a software package for service companies that dispatch workers in the field. The solution, which features an onscreen Dispatch Board (Dboard), tracks all customer work orders and data flow. The hub of the modular system is the Dboard, overseen by the dispatcher in the office or by customer service reps. It shows all work orders and the technicians schedules

S2000WIN (www.S2000WIN. com, 800/643-1339) is a software package for service companies that dispatch workers in the field. The solution, which features an onscreen Dispatch Board (Dboard), tracks all customer work orders and data flow.

The hub of the modular system is the Dboard, overseen by the dispatcher in the office or by customer service reps. It shows all work orders and the technicians’ schedules for the day or for several weeks ahead. Users can select from among 30 different modules and optional features that support functions ranging from intake and dispatching of service calls through invoicing and accounting.

The integrated software eliminates re-keying of data and supports work order entry, maintenance and inquiry and generation of reports. The solution features “drag and drop” technology, which enables dispatchers to easily move work orders, which can be color-coded for prioritizing from one technician to another. A Four-Week Planner screen facilitates workload balancing for all assignments.

The system supports multiple Dboards for different days, groups of technicians (e.g., service or installers) or multiple branches. A Zoom mode enables 480 service calls to be displayed at one time.

The software allows customization to suit individual business practices.

Fixed-price jobs are integrated with service work order scheduling. Flexible pricing is automated for T&M, flat rate, installation projects and service agreements. Gross profit is available by technician, work order, job, service agreement, customer and customer equipment.

The S2000Wireless module provides for remote wireless connection of S2000WIN to any technician in the field. Using a wireless device, the module enables the technician to change the color of the work order on the central dispatch board to reflect the current job status.

Depending upon the color of the work order, the dispatcher can see any of five user-defined acknowledgements, such as at the job, job started, job completed and en route to next job.

Such information at a glance frees the dispatcher from having to call the technician for updated status.

The S2000Web module provides access to S2000WIN through the Internet. With the Web server installed in the office, a customer can have a portal into the software system and can look up invoices, parts or other data relating to his service work. Technicians with the module installed on their Web-enabled remote devices can have instant access to the information in S2000WIN.

The GPS/Mapping for @Road module offers an interface to @Road, a third-party Internet graphical mapping service. The @Road module uses Global Positioning System wireless data transmission, the Internet and other technologies to provide users with access to both the locations of open service calls and the location of each service truck equipped with a GPS unit. The dispatcher can use the onscreen data to help a “lost” technician find his way to the next job, as well as route the closest technician to an emergency call. Various departments may have specific colors associated with them to enable easy visual ID of the location of technicians with certain skills.

Other modules include an Inventory Module that processes serialized items, provides AKA and manufacturer part numbers, supports trucks as stocking locations and handles warranty exchanges; a Fleet Maintenance module that tracks vehicle expenses; a Parts Order module that handles phone orders, quotes and counter sales transactions; and a Sales and Marketing Module. The software interfaces with many accounting packages.

If the check’s not in the mail

For a different type of communication – the kind that could come before you call your lawyer to settle a payment dispute – Made E-Z Products offers a new software program, Contractors’ Lien Maker ($24.95, www.ContractorsForms.com, 800/822-4566 ext. 124).

The software package provides computer-based templates for necessary forms and step-by-step guidance to contractors, enabling them to file liens and notices to recover lost income from unpaid jobs.

Users are able to create, track and produce all required state documents for any state and file notices legally. Among the forms included are: Lien Warning Notice, Letter of Notification for County Recorder’s Office, Stop Notice Releases, Mechanic’s Liens and Bond Claims. The notices print on plain paper.

The solution can maintain and process up to 20 jobs.

Digital project thumbnails

Considering bidding a job? Not having to travel across town may be just around the corner. A growing trend among service bureaus that serve contractors is to provide online viewing of thumbnail versions of a general contractor’s project plans to interested subcontractors.

Digital Imaging Resources (www.dirinc.com, 312/243-1250), a graphics imaging and design company that serves the AEC market, uses a high-speed connection to host contractors’ drawings in a secure environment. Using a password, users can go in and view thumbnails of all or selected contractor plans and then go ahead and order any or all drawings in hard-copy form.

DIR, which is also an Internet service provider, can configure the system so users can download files to print in-house, or it can set up “Web printing” to print to any IP printer/plotter in the world.

William and Patti Feldman provide Web content for companies and write for magazines, trade associations, building product manufacturers and other companies on a broad range of topics. They can be reached via e-mail at wfeldman@ att.net.