Market Refrigeration Specialists

Refrigeration installation and service company Market Refrigeration Specialists uses a paperless inspection system on their iPads. Angel City Data designed a FileMaker  system to process work orders, time cards, and inspections in real time, improving billing cycles, increasing productivity and dramatically reducing paper costs.

Market Refrigeration Specialists installs and services commercial refrigeration and HVAC systems for big box retailers such as WalMart, Target, Whole Foods, Vons and Sprouts. It’s their job to ensure that food items contained in refrigeration and freezer units stay cold and keep food safe.

Old, paper-based forms made tracking work orders, time cards and inspections slow and inefficient. Working with Angel City Data, the company now uses a custom FileMaker solution that helps field technicians enter forms in real time with iPads. This has resulted in faster billing cycles, fewer inspection errors and a huge reduction in paper costs.

Paper frustrations

Market Refrigeration Specialists’ field technicians used dozens of paper-based forms that were manually completed. Work orders, time tracking and parts requests were all hand-written and often faxed to the office for processing.

This manual workflow often lead to long delays where invoices could take 30 to 45 days to get processed and sent to the customer. These long delays had a negative impact on the company’s cash flow.

Enter real time processing

Market Refrigeration Specialists finally had enough of these frustrating business bottlenecks. On the recommendation of a local Apple Store, they consulted with Angel City Data to create a custom FileMaker solution for iPad use.

In just one month, Angel City Data delivered the initial solution. With over 40 iPads in use, field technicians have been able to lose their heavy clipboards and view and submit data in real time.  Time card entries are now submitted daily instead of by email or phone calls at the end of each week.

Using the new iPad solution, field technicians can see their assignments and work orders for each day. They can also view notes pertaining to each client, job and work order. Because they’re using FileMaker Server at the main office, all office and field staff have identical, up-to-the-minute information on which jobs are pending, completed or ready to invoice.

Using the same solution, parts for these refrigeration units can be entered and submitted via the iPads. This “same-day” ordering capability allows the technicians to often get the required parts that day vs. taking weeks as it did in the past. Work orders are now completed quicker, service visits are reduced and invoicing can begin immediately.

Ron Yorkman, Market Refrigeration Specialists’ account manager was thrilled by the change. “Invoices go right out to customers,” notes Yorkman. “Instead of waiting two months to see revenue, we now get paid within two weeks.”

Fast, accurate inspections

Inspections are critical too. In the past, a technician might need to carry a clipboard with a large stack of various inspection forms. Now, all these forms are replaced with a single, sleek iPad. The solution assists technicians with simple, self-populating forms for mandatory reporting of refrigerant handling. This information must be sent to the Environmental Protection Agency timely and correctly, or stiff fines of up to $10,000 can be levied. Simple, wizard-based screens on the iPad allow a technician to answer all required questions and then submit the completed inspection electronically. These inspection results are automatically formatted into an EPA-certified pdf.

Simplified time tracking

Using their experience with other time-tracking solutions, Angel City Data was able to add a time card application to the solution. MRS was now able to automatically tracks technicians’ hours and calculate overtime, which is then submitted daily from each iPad to the company’s payroll system.

Submitting time cards electronically like this had a huge impact on the company’s productivity. The company now saves 120 hours of administrative time per week over the manual processes they were previously using.

There were a number of challenges related to the time cards due to complex overtime variables. Angel City Data was able to work closely with the MRS team to make sure all critical time calculations were correct, yet provide a simple, inviting interface that techs would enjoy using.

The overall impact of this system has left Yorkman ecstatic “Our FileMaker solutions have saved us a tremendous amount of time and money. But most important they have helped us expand our business, ensure that food goods sold to customers are fresh and serve customers faster and more responsively.”

You can read more about this story on the FileMaker website here.

Not only was the system a success for the client, but also for Angel City Data, who received a FileMaker Excellence Award for “Design of the Year”, signifying the best interaction and visual design for an exceptional user experience. Read more here.

For a closer look at the system screens take a peek here.

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System Benefits:

  • Faster billing turnaround
  • Reduced government penalties/fees
  • Paper costs lowered by $2,000-$3,000/month
  • Administrative time reduced by 120 hours/week
  • Quicker parts ordering/delivery
  • Simplified time/payroll tracking
  • System paid for itself in WEEKS!
ipad-inspection-system-inspection-steps

“With Angel City Data building our iPad solution we can submit work orders, time cards, and inspections more efficiently. We’re able to get our processes rolling 100 times faster than we were three months ago. If we do a service call this morning we can bill it this afternoon!”
–Ron Yorkman, Market Refrigeration Specialists