Ascente - IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Jake Marshall Service, Inc. Jake Marshall Service Uses Ascente Mobile Pro from
Compusource to Increase Efficiency, Improve Customer
Service and Gain a Competitive Advantage
(Click here to view/download PDF)
Ascente - IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Refrigerated Specialist, Inc. Saves Over
$200K a Year in Labor Costs by Using
Compusource Software to Establish Best
Practices for Commercial Food Equipment
(Click here to view/download PDF)
Ascente - IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Allens Plumbing Uses the Ascente Quote
from Compusource to Increase
Sales and Efficiency,
and Improve Customer
(Click here to view/download PDF)
Ascente and TRAVERSE: the Right Combination for
Renowned Plumbing & HVAC Company
Bruce Solomon Plumbing, Heating & Air in Reisterstown, MD was established in 1984 and was founded on the principles of outstanding workmanship, dedicated and courteous customer service, and a promise to achieve 100% satisfaction with each and every company they serve.
Since then, nothing has changed – except their business software.
Several years ago, the company was using a legacy system that had become antiquated. It was a DOS-based product they were using in a Windows shell, but they were unable to obtain all of the source code and they were not able to take the DOS code over to Windows. They kept patching it, but over time the product was not compatible with certain pieces of hardware, which had become faster and more sophisticated. Support for the product was eventually discontinued.
Company owner and Registered Master Plumber Bruce Solomon consulted with Compusource Corporation, a leading developer of business software solutions for the HVAC, plumbing and electrical industries. He was given a demonstration of Compusource’s Ascente product. Ascente is a graphical and fully-integrated suite of Windows-based applications designed to increase the efficiency and productivity of service contractors. It was created to fill the demand for a product with a graphical interface for use on Microsoft Windows, and is fully integrated with TRAVERSE accounting applications from Open Systems, Inc.
Bruce Solomon Plumbing, Heating & Air went live with Ascente and TRAVERSE in September of2004. The Ascente applications they use enable them to track service calls, perform maintenance tasks, issue purchase orders, keep job cost data, off er fl at rate pricing, and utilize paging with an interfaced GPS system. TRAVERSE handles their accounting and other business needs such as payables, receivables, bank reconciliation, inventory, purchasing and order entry. In addition to Solomon, customer service reps, accountants, dispatchers, and technicians also use the system.
Solomon couldn’t be happier with the solution. “The flexibility of the system has really allowed us to be more productive than we were before,” he says. “The Ascente Service Management application has multiple screens that you can use, and each user can set up their screen in a different way, so it’s very versatile.”
Solomon elaborates on the flexibility. “You can enter a
customer, choose to make the bill-to address different than the job
site, change the bill-to, or have multiple bill-to’s. For example,
you may have a job site where the house is in the process of being
sold. When you first get that customer, you’re dealing with the
original home owner and you can bill to them, but a month later it’s
being taken over by a new home owner. You can very quickly change the
customer, yet all the history of the jobsite remains the same.”
also appreciates the tracking abilities that he has through various
TRAVERSE reports.“Whether it’s ad tracking, invoice tracking, sales
tracking … there are just so many reports you can base off of any
criteria in the system, which makes it very easy to see where your
money is coming from, and where you’re spending it.
”Like TRAVERSE, Ascente has a number of user-defined searches. Solomon especially likes one in particular. “If we have to return to a site, there’s a lookup field and we can run reports based on call backs. I haven’t seen many other software packages that have user-defined screens like that.
Technicians and Staff at Bruce Solomon
Plumbing, Heating & Air
”The company is also using GPS software that is automatically interfaced with Ascente. “If a technician is within two blocks of his call, the system automatically notes that he has arrived,” says Solomon.“That saves us time because we don’t have to manually enter his arrival.”
Ascente’s tie-in to TRAVERSE is seamless, as Solomon explains. “If we want to look at the history of a call, everything is available to us from the call-taking screen in Ascente, so you can get to anything with just a mouse click. Let’s say you want the history of a customer’s receivables in TRAVERSE; you can get to that right from that one screen.”
Solomon will soon be implementing the TRAVERSE Info-Alert application, a powerful tool that monitors data and provides automated alerts when certain business conditions are met. “We’ve started asking for email addresses from our customers when they call so that we can automatically send an email to confirm their appointment after it’s made, and send them a reminder the day before.”
Solomon values the reports that Compusource has set up for his company. “I like the fact that many of them are customizable, which gives you choices. The coolest one is the one we call the Coupon Report. We set up coupons as an inventory category – just like you would materials, fl at rate tasks, or labor. We enter every coupon that we’ve entered as an inventory item. Each one has a negative value associated with it. Then when we do our invoicing, the coupon appears on it just like a piece of material would. It gives us the ability to have a custom report that tells us how many coupons were presented in a given time period, the total dollar amount of coupons used, etcetera. That tells us how effective that particular piece of marketing was. Even with repeat business, we can sometimes tell what pushed them by looking at that report. And since I have a habit of looking at the income statement every day, I also like that in the financial reports, you can set up various reports to do things like compare this month’s numbers to the same month of last year. You can set up so many different things like that and it only takes a second.”
Lastly, Solomon notes the drill-downs in TRAVERSE. “They’re so helpful if, for example, something doesn’t balance or there’s something out of place. You can just drill down to that level of detail, find it and fix it quickly.”
Residential & Light Commercial Plumbing
Milton Frank Plumbing
Milton Frank Plumbing provides residential and light commercial repair, remodel, and new construction services in the Houston, Texas area. From a one man operation they have grown to a 15 truck company. They were PHCC 2005 Contractor of the Year and have been featured in several articles in industry publications.
Over the years they tried a number of different methods to manage their business from manual cards to custom programs to general accounting systems augmented by spreadsheets. None of them were entirely satisfactory and all required double entry.
Finally Milton and Patty Frank attended a national PHCC convention, with the sole objective of visiting the software vendors exhibiting during the trade show. Patty Frank states, "We visited with three of those present, signed up for more information, and went home to wait. One company sent us a demo disk to preview. One company called and set up an appointment in our office and the third company never called us back. I'm sure you can guess which one of the three we eventually bought from! It was Compusource Corporation; they made the effort to understand our business needs.”
Patty further relates, “Although we were probably Compusource’s worst nightmare, the implementation went smoothly! I know we were terrified of the whole process. I think I woke up with the cold sweats for weeks after implementation, visualizing crashes and disasters that never happened. Oh, we had our glitches, mostly caused by user error. The Ascente system gives us a more accurate and complete picture of our company. We get better information in a timelier manner.”
They have 6 to 8 users in Ascente all the time, taking calls, entering work orders, generating purchase orders, researching customer history, paging and dispatching. Patty states, "There are never any speed issues with the software and we benefit greatly by everything being in one system.. It handles all our system needs from taking the initial call through accounting. There’s no double entry.”
Other staff members that use the Compusource Ascente software relate the following comments:
“It was easy to learn and very user friendly.” - receptionist
“I think one of the best features of Ascente is that we are able to look up a new street or area that may not appear in an older key map by clicking the map icon on the call taking screen. It will automatically look up the address you have entered. This saves us a lot of time that was wasted searching for new streets.” - customer service representative
“The accounting is really strong. Information flows automatically from the operational side to accounting. There is little chance for non accounting users to mess up the accounting data.” - accounting
“The Teletrac GPS interface shows both the location of our service calls and our trucks. It’s cut down on our drive time and lets us get more calls done in a day.” - operations
HVAC - New Home Construction and Service
Tempo is a $16 million residential new construction and service firm located in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex. Tempo has installed HVAC equipment in up to six thousand new homes per year. They also run a service fleet of 25 service trucks.
Over the last 10 years, Tempo has received National Residential Contractor of the Year Awards three times! The Air Conditioning Heating and Refrigeration News identified Tempo as one of the 6 "Best Companies to Work For" in the HVAC industry. Tempo was also a finalist for the "Texas Award for Performance Excellence". This statewide program is based on the criteria of the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award. Tempo is also a recipient of the "National Carrier Distinguished Dealer" award, which recognized Tempo for outstanding business processes and high levels of customer satisfaction. Steve Saunders, president of Tempo, is a frequent speaker at industry events including this years Comfortech 2009.
Tempo selected the Ascente software system with implementation and training services provided by Compusource Corporation.
Steve Saunders president of Tempo says:
“There is a very important point of difference between a software purchase from Compusource and a software purchase from ANY other software vendor I have worked with (or heard about for that matter). Compusource understands their product, but more importantly, they understand the service and contracting business. They heard our problems, understood the underlying issues and then showed us how to solve them with their software. This is value!”
"There is no software transformation that is easy. Anyone who indicates anything different is selling you something. I can say that our software migration with Compusource was difficult, but, much less painful than I ever imagined it would be.”
Redlands Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. Upgrades from CONTRAC2 to ASCENTE/TRAVERSE
Redlands Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc., Redlands, CA, has been in business for over 100 years. They offer a number of services, including plumbing, heating, and air conditioning. The company services residential, commercial, industrial and institutional markets, offering new construction, service, repairs, and maintenance.
It is important for Redlands Plumbing to be able to easily communicate with their field personnel using dispatching and vehicle tracking systems which are monitored through their computer systems. They also need to be able to stock and track an extensive inventory of parts in their warehouse and retail center; the parts need to be easily located and quickly delivered to their service professionals in the field.
In July of 2005, the company decided to upgrade from their character-based system, CONTRAC2 , because they needed a system that utilized Windows and had a better user interface with more features. Redlands Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning's long-time software consultant, Compusource Corporation , is the developer of the ASCENTE / TRAVERSE suite, an integrated solution specifically made for service and construction contractors The ASCENTE/ TRAVERSE software helps customers in the heating, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical service industries handle a multitude of service functions and interface to a quality accounting system.
Tyler Miner, V.P. of Redlands Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc., says they looked at only one company other than Compusource. The reason they chose ASCENTE / TRAVERSE , he said, was because of the long-term relationship they had developed. Compusource was also the supplier for their previous software system, CONTRAC2 . Mark Rice, manager of the training and support department at Compusource , explained why this was helpful. "Since we knew the old character-based system, it was easy for us to convert their data into the new system." Installation and training on the new software was complete by November of 2005.
Tyler Miner — V.P. of Redlands Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc.
Redlands Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. is currently operating with a 14-user ASCENTE and 8-user TRAVERSE license on a Windows Small Business Server. This system has helped them immensely with inventory and bar-coding. Tyler has been very happy with the way the inventory and POS systems work within their business. He states, "I love the drill-down financial statements because it makes finding data easy, especially at month-end. I can find a specific number within seconds - it's that user-friendly!"
Additionally, Tyler has added a tool to the current system to help with the inventory. He uses a WASP handheld barcode scanner that he found and purchased on the Internet. He can upload the information from the WASP handheld onto his computer and easily convert it into a format compatible with TRAVERSE . This makes it easy to manage inventory from the warehouse and decreases the time it takes to count inventory.
Their long-term strategy is to go paperless. Eventually the company would like to have a "digital clipboard" so that their field personnel will be able to access account history from a job site and enter in new data that will communicate with an invoice system based in the office. They currently write out paper invoices, but they are hoping to change this process. The TRAVERSE users at Redlands Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. know that their new software system won't go down the drain over time. They will be able to continue tailoring the software to fit their business needs, and the ASCENTE / TRAVERSE system will easily grow with the company for many more years to come.
Tindall and Ranson Enjoys Benefits of Ascente
Since opening its doors in January, 1993 with 4 people, Tindall and Ranson have enjoyed thirteen years of growth and profitability. Today, Tindall and Ranson has a staff of over 25 providing services for plumbing, heating, and cooling in both the residential and light construction markets. Their menu of services includes repairs, new installations, and renovation/remodels. Bathroom remodeling is one of their key services today. They are active members of both the PHCC and QSC organizations.
When Tindall and Ranson was informed a year ago that their software supplier was dropping support of their system, they knew they needed to get a new software system installed as soon as possible. After considering a number of options, the management team at Tindall and Ranson selected the Ascente system from Compusource Corporation . When asked why Compusource was their choice, Kevin Tindall, president of Tindall and Ranson, offered the following reasons:
"We believed that Compusource had a successful strategy for implementation. Many systematic plans look good on paper but Compusource provided a strong network of support that allowed for pre-program preparation. They were able to prepare the staff with a training module that allowed for practice prior to going live. This allowed for questions and actual hands-on situations to be addressed prior to the program rolling out.
"Knowing that Compusource was one of the QSC organizations approved Quality Service Providers made us more likely to partner with them."
"The Ascente system was the most integrated offering available and also provided the security and controls we felt were critical in a new system."
Having used the Compusource Ascente software system now for the past year, the management team has seen their beliefs about this decision turn into a reality. At a recent QSC meeting Mr. Tindall stated, "Our use of the Compusource Ascente system has enabled us to add $100,000 in increased profit to our company". This certainly underscores a positive ROI resulting from the Compusource software investment.
When asked how this exciting ROI was possible, Kathy Tindall offered the following rationale.
"The most positive change was the ability to tie purchase orders to a specific job contract or work order. Previously supplies were ordered with no specific link to their intended use, thus creating difficulty in managing and correctly billing jobs for material used. The Ascente software prevents this type of loss.
"The Ascente system provides a variety of reports that the previous system was unable to produce. Job costs , open service reports, profitability by technician, and timecard journals are only a few of the reports used regularly in order to manage more effectively.
"Another major benefit of Ascente is the availability of their computerized dispatch board which has made the daily process of dispatching the service providers much more efficient. Time management is key and the Ascente dispatch board enhances our ability to increase the number of calls per day inevitably increasing our profitability."
In a recent conversation with Kevin Tindall, he offered the following comments regarding the financial impact the Compusource Ascente system has had on his company. "I can attribute a significant portion of the growth we have had both in revenue and profits in the past year to the installation by Compusource of the Ascente system . The company has grown nearly 30% in the past year. The work order invoice turnaround has been cut in half and we have decreased our losses due to the link of supply purchase order to job/work order. We are now able to predict invoices at purchase and generate sales invoices quickly."
Not being a company content with these achievements, Tindall and Ranson is still looking to enhance their efficiency through the installation of additional software from Compusource. Kathy Tindall stated recently,
"We are now looking forward to the installation of a Compusource flat rate interface with the Collier Flat Rate system and later we plan to install an interface to a GPS tracking system to provide continued improvement in dispatching."
Ralph NeSmith, Senior Vice President of Compusource Corporation states, "The partnership between Compusource Corporation and Tindall and Ranson has been and continues to be a relationship from which both organizations benefit. It is what partnership is all about."