HERE ARE TWO products for automating work orders.
Pervidi (Techs4Biz, www. techs4biz.com, 800/361-8725) is a work order and maintenance management system that combines desktop computer software and handheld software. It’s designed to improve service and inspection activities and boost the efficiency of field technicians by streamlining access to information within the company.
Suitable for both service contractors and facilities managers, the solution, which uses manual input through any Palm-based handheld device, contains several efficiency-promoting software features, including dynamic queries and reports and automatic alerts and triggers that look for user-set conditions.
You can, for example, set the desired upper limit for a particular pressure gauge for that week. If the inputted data indicates the pressure surpassed that level, the program takes note so management or a technician can address it.
To keep data entry to a minimum and help ensure accuracy, data entry incorporates short-cut techniques such as pick lists, check boxes and lookup lists.
The Windows-based, menu-driven software has the flexibility to allow the user to pick which aspects of the solution to incorporate into the system. The software is available with a pre-formatted template for HVAC or for life-safety systems, which the user can further customize. Alternatively, the program is available without templates and is customizable from scratch.
When used by HVAC contractors, Pervidi allows management to schedule work on an office computer and then download details of the work order onto technicians’ handhelds. (One key advantage of the system is that the field technician uses a relatively inexpensive handheld, rather than a more costly and cumbersome notebook computer.) To simplify tasks in the field, contractors can use bar coding to speed data collection and expedite audits.
In addition to handling work orders, the system also allows contractors to track customers’ equipment for up-selling opportunities (preventive maintenance, equipment replacement or upgrade) that might arise as tracked equipment (such as an air-conditioner) ages. The technicians, who can capture signatures for the work order directly on his handheld, can add line items or details to work orders.
At the close of each workday, or as often as required by the company, the data from the handheld is downloaded into the office computer system for billing and for accountability. Working from all the updated information, the contractor can then create and send out work orders to the technicians for the next day. Data transfer between contractor and field technicians can occur in numerous ways, including FTP, e-mail and wireless connectivity.
Contractors can also use the trigger mechanism on the desktop software to prepare and e-mail to a customer a report on all the work orders completed within a particular time frame.
When used by facilities managers, the solution enables personnel to manage preventive maintenance, repair and upgrading projects by assigning internal work orders. The system replaces the need for personnel to walk though a facility and take notes down on a pad. With Pervidi, the facilities manager walks from location to location with the handheld, keying in all the relevant information. The data is then uploaded through a synchronizer onto the facility’s computerized maintenance system. The synchronization is performed, typically, at least daily.
Because the information is entered only once and the synchronization is automatic and all electronic, there is no risk of inadvertent inaccuracies in the information transfer. The records are all maintained on any Windows-based desktop or notebook office network computer. Analysis of data is done via a filter mechanism that allows the user to create reports or prepare information for audits without any programming experience.
With the system, management can keep track accurately of who has done what, where and when, and how long a particular technician takes to do the task, compared to other technicians.
Track your own tasks
Here’s a solution to expedite creation of work orders for maintenance within your own company. EZ Maintenance (Link It Software Corp., ez-maintenance.com, 661/254-9926) is a Windows-based network-ready maintenance scheduling and tracking program for equipment and vehicles. In addition to scheduling, tracking, keeping histories of and producing work orders for all routine and non-routine maintenance on equipment or vehicles, EZ Maintenance also tracks costs, hours and downtime for repairs. The work order for equipment maintenance can contain step-by-step instructions on how to perform a particular maintenance, along with a required parts and materials lists.
The software produces maintenance calendars and complete maintenance histories. Equipment to be maintained can be bar coded, allowing a maintenance procedure to begin with a reading of the bar code. EZ Maintenance also tracks both vehicle and driver license information and license expiration dates and produces a report showing all expiring licenses 30 days in advance. The solution records all driver information, and allows for entry and tracking of all driver incidents.
Completed maintenance can be signed off electronically or the software can produce a printed form.
The software includes more than 80 reports and has an available link to Excel for the creation of specialized reports.
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 at [email protected].