Service management software solution enhances workflow

Suitable for HVACR contractors involved in service work, construction and facilities management, SAM Pro Enterprise by Data-Basics Inc., www.databasics.com, is an integrated modular based software solution that is designed to help proactively manage daily business operations, end to end. The suite features 19 modules divided among four categories: field service management, CRM, finance and accounting, and sales and procurement. Depending upon the modules utilized, the software can handle a full range of back office components, workflow and service management, reporting and notification agendas, and Internet based field-service and dispatch tasks.

At the core of the Windows solution is Rules-Based Management (RBM), a technology that uses a customized set of rules (established upfront) to accomplish, automatically, many critical day-to-day functions in the back office and in the field (via the Internet and wirelessly) and to automate workflow. The rules are automatically enforced only at the first sign of a potential problem, utilizing proactive e-mail, fax, page and push technologies.

Data is entered through one of the back office modules, via Internet/wireless input, or via the Interactive Voice Response system (IVR), which captures real-time field service information and sales leads. IVR can also be used to update work order status, reschedule work orders on the fly, and update the dispatch board and the customer Web interface in real time.

Back office finance and accounting modules center around job costing (the core to which information generated in other areas of the company feeds) and which supports WIP processing, change orders, committed costs and flexible billing items. The other components, which generate data to the job costing system, include invoicing +AR (fixed fee or time + material format), accounts payable, payroll and general ledger.

The payroll software automatically calculates wages, fringes, deductions (as a percent of wage, per hour or a fixed amount), and taxes, and can handle multi-union and multi-state employees. It also supports remote time entry of individual time cards and ACH/direct deposit. The general ledger, which has numerous reporting options, accepts data in real time from AP, AR, POs, inventory and payroll, ensuring that account balances are always up-to-date.

Field service management modules include dispatch and scheduling, which features automatic scheduling and drag and drop scheduling, can auto-generate a PO when a work order is assigned to a subcontractor and has the ability to suggest the best technician for a call.

The TechAnywhere module uses wireless devices to access equipment history, add parts and labor, create estimates and POs, capture signatures and print invoices. If a mobile device is out of range of service during any input of data, "store and forward" synchronization, which kicks in when the device is back in range, ensures there is no loss of data.

The SubAnywhere module, which uses any Web-enabled device or PC, allows subs in the field to update auto-generated POs accessible through the web.

The PM Master Scheduler module can build preventative maintenance billing, work schedules and tasking for multiple locations and can define the PM schedule for equipment under contract by day, month, work code and escalation profile. For national accounts, managers can set parameters and designate them for multiple sites, saving on data entry for scheduling, billing and PO generation.

Optional CRM modules, which facilitate and enhance customer relationships, include Call Center, which uses call scripts based on different scenarios such as work code or equipment and allows users to set protocols for after-hours personnel or when managers are not onsite, and Quotemaster, which supports fixed fee, percent markup or gross margin quotes and provides customers with an unlimited number of options per quote.

The CRMAnywhere component, which supports Internet-enabled devices, provides round-the-clock service, giving customers access to their account through the Internet and enabling them to request service 24/7, approve quotes, and review information on work orders without human intervention. Taking advantage of the built-in RBM, customer Web requests are sent automatically to any designated individual and automatically escalate if a response does not occur.

Sales+Procurement offers three modules. Job Shop+COP (client order processing), which automatically imports the Bill of Materials from an inventory record to quickly create assemblies and track profitability for a specific project and, if desired, can substitute equivalent parts from inventory without changing the BOM.

The Inventory module performs tasks associated with stocking multiple trucks and warehouses, assembling/refurbishing items, and handling multiple price structures. It allows the viewing of a plethora of real-time information from an inventory item record. ReportAnywhere helps in management of inventory by sending instant notification when a minimum inventory level is reached and receive alerts when shipments are delayed.

The Purchase Orders module can automate and streamline purchasing procedures. When used in conjunction with other features of SAM Pro Enterprise, it automatically generates POs based on stock parameters, when work orders are generated for service providers, and from the dispatch board for work order materials.

Bill and Patti Feldman are freelance writers for magazines, trade associations, building product manufacturers and other companies on a broad range of topics. They can be reached at: [email protected].

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