Synchroteam, www.synchroteam.com, mobile field service software is a cloud-based solution, suitable for contractors active in HVAC maintenance and installation, that handles scheduling and dispatch, mapping and tracking, job management, field service customer relationship management, inventory management and invoicing.
Users can schedule onscreen using daily, weekly or monthly views. A schedule assistant analyzes the existing schedule and suggests the best time slot for a new job, taking into account such factors as skills required for the job and travel distance.
Each screen view offers a particular complement of information. For example, the interactive daily screen uses color coded bar graphs reflecting the status of each job plotted onto an hourly calendar with quarter hour increments, with name and skill of the technician responsible for the job in a column on the left. Jobs that are yet to be scheduled are accessed on the upper left side of the screen and can be dragged and dropped into place to accommodate each crew member’s existing schedule.
The weekly view shows the schedule for each technician in columns under each day. The monthly view features the same presentation, with a slider to scroll horizontally into a given month.
The software mapping service plots each technician’s stops for the day onto an area map while also showing the real-time location of the other field service personnel. When users want to schedule new jobs, clicking on the “to schedule” icon plots the location on the map of all jobs yet to be scheduled, with the next step filling in the skill set needed and the earliest or best time a suitable tech is available, using the scheduling assist if desired. For every journey, the software shows estimated travel times and, if traffic overlay is selected, the travel times adjusted according to local traffic conditions.
Synchroteam also supports the scheduling of multiple jobs at one project in specific sequence. Each job can be scheduled independently of the other and users can monitor progress for the whole sequence of jobs.
The CRM customer database offers access to any customer’s history, from quotes to invoicing. Customers given access to the customer portal can view their entire job history and, themselves, create jobs for new work.
Users can select from a variety of types of customizable job report templates and the reports can include photos and signatures in the field.
The inventory management module allows users to track parts in the warehouse and on company vehicles. It is possible to set pricing for each part, set minimum quantity alerts, and track parts by serial number.
Personnel in the field can, using the program’s invoicing capabilities, report on parts and/or services used on the job. The invoices can be connected to QuickBooks Online, Xero or Sage via connectors provided at no extra cost.
Synchroteam’s mobile application, which includes an off-line mode triggered automatically based on network availability, enables personnel in the field to receive notifications for new, scheduled or rescheduled jobs on iOS and Android mobile devices. Notification settings are fully configurable.
Apps for calculations while on the go
Here are a few apps for smartphones and tablets that might be handy when performing pipe, fan duct, or seam and condensation pipe sizing while on the go. The apps, downloadable from the Apple App and Google Play stores, are from Silverglance Software, a software developer in the United Kingdom, and operate in imperial or metric units, using calculation methods common in the United States as well as in the UK and Europe.
Blowpipe HVAC Lite app enables rapid sizing of low-flow rate HVAC pipes in a variety of pipework materials and fluid temperatures. The app can be upgraded to remove flowrate and pipe material restrictions. Calculations also include pump motor sizes, pipe expansion, weight and heat transfer.
Fanfare HVAC Lite software app for iPhone and iPad and for Android mobile computing devices enables rapid sizing of ducts in a variety of ductwork materials and styles. The app supports display in velocity, width and depth order. Calculations also include fan gains and fan motor sizes.
Fullsteam HVAC software affords rapid sizing of steam and condensate pipes. Calculations also include steam properties, pipe weights, expansion, and heat transfer.
HVAC Contractor Assist Mobile App (Watsco Inc., for iPhone and iPad and Android devices, downloadable free from the App Store and Google Play store) offers customers of four different distributors easy access to information on HVAC equipment and parts. Available (in separate versions) for Baker, Carrier Enterprise, East Coast Metal, and Gemaire distributors, the app enables users to search for equipment and parts by serial number, model number, or description; search for product availability in nearby locations: check the warranty status of products; and check inventory for all replacement parts.
Users can also access product documentation such as spec sheets, wiring diagrams and installation guides. The app includes a pressure/temperature calculator for instant computations for two dozen refrigerants, along with an in-app flashlight. App users can access each distributor’s e-commerce site to make purchases within each app respectively.
Bill and Patti Feldman write articles and web content for trade magazines and manufacturers of building products. They can be reached at [email protected].