I've been using Microsoft Outlook to keep track of my work/projects. It doesn't lend itself well to more than one person. I also carry a yearly calendar for quick notes and phone calls when I'm out of the office. It helps keep track of things but is difficult to 'search' for notes, names etc later in the year.
Does anybody have experience with a scheduling calendar that works well for service work? It would need to be flexible but easier to understand, minimal cost, possibly link to QB, etc.
I'm not in the field, and I'm also stuck with Outlook. As an appointment organizer for one person I reckon it's OK, but as a record keeper it stinks, even for one. I've toyed with trying to create something in MS Access as a database application but have done nothing yet beyond thinking about it.
There are 10 types of people. Those who know binary, and those who don't.
I use Palm Desktop on both the office computer and the PDA. I believe that you can have more than one user, but don't know if it would show multiple users on the same calendar. I thought that Outlook was supposed to be able to show everyones meeting and time out of the office.
The search function is pretty good, but has a few quirks, like if you are showing customers and search for a supplier the search will come back empty.
Which Outlook are you using? I just picked up MS Office Professional 2003. This one you can open up more than one calander at a time and show them side by side. One thing I do is use the label feature. I schedule who's where using colors. My van is white, one guy is a bluish grey, and the other guy is a yellowish tan. Get's tricky when you schedule two guys at the same place. Since I use blue or yellow for the two trucks, naturally green is when they are together.
I also just picked up a book Outlook Inside & Out. I figured it's about time I learn this program's limits. It really seems more versatile than most other software. I just wonder if they could have accomplished the same thing with a slightly simpler concept.
But my point is, Outlook may have a solution, it's probably just a matter of finding it. BTW QB will sync to outlook and pocket PC.
I've used it. As with any system, it has its quirks. The main problem that I had with it was its integration with QBs. It did not import customers and invoices directly into QB, rather it made all invoice entries into one customer(service ceo) through journal entries. You really had to drill down through the details to get info about any transaction. Also, once an invoice or dispatch were created, they could not be deleted at all. Once it was completed, it could not be modified or changed. It does have some nice features, but I now use and prefer Electronic Service Control.
The Service CEO does NOT have a demo version to try, and also after you purchase it, you can not sell or transfer the license agreement. I found that out the hard way
The cost is $2k for a single user. I do track inventory. Inventory can be tracked only when it is applied to a JOB. That means each DISPATCH must be assigned a JOB. It is just another couple of steps, so it is worth it for us. It can also track travel time and working time, and it has all of the regular reports, plus a technician profitability report.
You didn't hear it from me, but there is a little negotiation room with the cost. Tell them that you were looking to spend $1k on Service CEO and that you don't have $2k in the budget right now. Ask them to meet you in the middle. My salesman agreed, but then gave me a few freebees for the full $2k.