Adolfo Pesquera EXPRESS-NEWS BUSINESS WRITER
Publication Date : July 22, 2006
Great success in a service business generates great piles of paperwork.
Beyer Plumbing Co. and Beyer Mechanical, which advertise by the name Beyer Boys, know by experience.
Their plumbing, heating and air conditioning technicians drive a fleet of 150 trucks and vans. They install, service and replace equipment in commercial and residential projects in San Antonio and as far north as Austin's northern suburbs.
Service calls, client histories, parts orders, inventory replacement, truck maintenance schedules -- every step creates paper.
But Pat Beyer, the office administrator among the trio of Beyer brothers, was an early adopter of new technology with a paperless dream.
With the help of a software programmer and an Atlanta entrepreneur, he has developed and launched a wireless electronic bookkeeping system for service technicians on the go.
"Pat's always been on the cutting edge," said Randy Burger, owner of Atlanta-based OnePlus Service Systems. "He likes to do the first cut."
Since 1996, Burger has been selling office-based software that provides bookkeeping programs to service companies and global positioning systems for their fleets. The Beyers -- Pat, Perry and Jeff -- were among his first customers.
Pat Beyer thought GPS was great, but he also wanted his technicians using hand-held computers that did all invoicing and billing via e-mail.
Doug Zaruba, a software programmer, had designed a similar product for the beer and wine industry. Setting up shop in the Beyer Boys' headquarters, Zaruba designed a software program that downloads into a wireless pocket PC. It handles service dispatching, tracks all customer files, and provides invoicing, real-time warehouse stock updates and more.
It will be marketed initially to plumbing and heating and air conditioning companies all over the country, but Zaruba said it's flexible enough for use by any service industry with a fleet of technicians.
"It could be used by the guy going out to fix a water softener, a sprinkler system, building alarms, anything," Zaruba said.
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