Roto-Rooter service techs go wireless

CINCINNATI Roto-Rooter Inc., a leading provider of plumbing and drain cleaning services in North America, announced Jan. 22 that it will equip its more than 1,500 field technicians at company-owned branches with a wireless solution to improve quality and support the companys commitment to fast and reliable customer service. Roto-Rooter has selected Gearworks, a Minneapolis-based provider of wireless

CINCINNATI — Roto-Rooter Inc., a leading provider of plumbing and drain cleaning services in North America, announced Jan. 22 that it will equip its more than 1,500 field technicians at company-owned branches with a wireless solution to improve quality and support the company’s commitment to fast and reliable customer service.

Roto-Rooter has selected Gearworks, a Minneapolis-based provider of wireless and Web-based software, and Nextel Communications, a leading provider of fully integrated wireless communications services, as its technology partners for the initiative and will begin implementation of its wireless solution in early 2003.

“Many of our customers call Roto-Rooter because of our proven track record of same-day, fast and professional service,” said Stephen R. Poppe, chief information officer. “By equipping our field technicians and dispatchers with a mobile productivity tool, we will be able to respond to customer calls more quickly and cut back on the time technicians are required to spend at a customer site by significantly reducing the amount of paperwork they have to process.

“In service industries like plumbing, knowing where your field technicians are, getting them to customer sites quickly and collecting customer billing data from the field are top priorities,” Poppe said. “Wireless solutions provide the perfect way to streamline these tasks, and from our perspective, have become a necessity for service organizations.”

Roto-Rooter will deploy Gearworks’ mobile workforce management software, etrace, on the new Nextel i58sr phone, which has GPS functions to provide the user’s location. The deployment of etrace makes Roto-Rooter the first enterprise customer to deploy a commercial application that uses Nextel’s GPS and Java technology-enabled handsets.

Also, etrace will act as an electronic clipboard for Roto-Rooter’s technicians, transmitting messages, job status and GPS location in real-time back to Roto-Rooter’s enterprise systems. At Roto-Rooter’s dispatch centers, customer service representatives will be able to track technicians’ locations on a digital fleet map, and as a result, distribute incoming service requests more quickly and accurately.

Founded in 1935, Roto-Rooter is a leading provider of plumbing and drain cleaning services in North America. Roto-Rooter operates businesses in more than 100 company-owned territories and more than 500 franchise territories, serving approximately 90% of the U.S. population and 55% of the Canadian population. Roto-Rooter, founded by Samuel Blanc in Des Moines, Iowa, was sold by the Blanc family in 1980 to Chemed Corp., a publicly held company headquartered in Cincinnati. Roto-Rooter is a wholly owned subsidiary of Chemed.

Minneapolis-based Gearworks ( www.gearworks.com ) provides wireless and Web-based applications designed for dispatched mobile workers that deliver goods or services to customers. The company’s flagship product, etrace, runs on standard mobile devices and allows businesses to automate and manage transactions, data collection, customer relations and communications with dispatched workers. Also, etrace also provides a real-time connection back to enterprise systems to expedite billing, tracking and other operations.

TAGS: GPS