Dedicated Service

Software helps nail school district contract win

Mid State Fire & Systems, a fire and life safety system installer and service provider in Ocala, Fla., is dedicated to providing quality service to customers at a competitive price. Known for their professionalism and expertise, Mid State works closely with its largescale customers to ensure that all fire and life safety systems meet code and operate correctly in the event of an emergency.

Most recently, the company deployed eVance Services software from Honeywell Fire Safety to streamline inspection and service management operations, and deliver more detailed, accurate and cost-effective services to customers across north central Florida.

The Software Advantage

eVance Services is a software offering that automates inspection and service management operations for engineered systems distributors of Honeywell Fire Safety systems. Before becoming “eVance-experts,” Mid State employed the same paper-based processes that most fire alarm service providers use to test systems, taking notes onsite and manually inputting data into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to create reports.

“We met code and performed solid testing, but it was time-consuming and sometimes ineffective,” said Monte Guerrette, vice president of Mid State Fire & Systems.

When eVance Services became available earlier this year, the company was one of the first to adopt. “Now, our key competitive advantage is the eVance Services software, which automates and centralizes the inspection management process and offers more features to boost our inspection team’s accuracy and productivity.”

Winning a Contract

Using eVance Services, Mid State recently won a new account, the Marion County Public Schools in Ocala, Fla., which had been using different software for the past 11 years. “At the time, their current software was the only inspection reporting tool on the market,” said Jim Orrell, operations manager at Mid State Fire & Systems.

Because the eVance Services barcode scanners can read nearly all barcode formats, Mid State was able to provide a new and viable option for the school board.

Mid State handles fire alarm testing in all 63 facilities and 48 schools across the district and has customized the software to manage the inspection of other life safety systems such as emergency and exit lighting, sprinkler systems and access control systems.

Getting New Features

According to Guerrette, the new software offers features that are not available in competing solutions. For example, technicians can use their mobile devices to take digital photographs of equipment and areas that require corrective action, and store them in the cloud with the inspection data. Through eVance Service Manager, Mid State can also include Auto-CAD pictures in the final report for a more complete overview of the facility.

Greater Inspection Accuracy

By automating data collection, the software has played a key role in eliminating human error. Fire alarm control panels connected to the Internet transfer test information from addressable points directly to the eVance application. For those systems comprising non-addressable points, a barcode can simply be applied to each device. During tests, the barcodes can be scanned and profiled on the same reports as all other addressable points.

Accuracy is further enhanced because the software automatically generates professionally formatted reports that comply with industry requirements. The software ensures that all fire systems data is up-to-date and accessible in one location. “Having the most current information at our fingertips is critical when servicing large-scale customers with multiple buildings and constantly changing systems,” Orrell said.

Eliminating Liability

With the most updated information in hand, Mid State can demonstrate to its customers that all system testing has been completed to a high standard to avoid liability issues. The solution helps customers with their own liability issues by offering proof that they have invested in the most advanced testing services available to ensure optimum system performance.

Save Time, Boost Productivity

The software Services helps the Mid State team save time and boost productivity. Service Manager provides a visual representation of job sites in real time, which enables faster, more efficient responses to service calls. Technicians access their updated calendars in real time and communicate with dispatchers inside the application.

As a single application for job tracking, calendars and report storage, Service Manager eliminates duplicate data entry into multiple programs for greater administrative efficiencies. It also keeps track of annual inspection due dates for all fire systems managed by the company, so Mid State can run its full operations more efficiently than before.

Reducing Costs

“Over time, the software will save time and money by speeding up the inspection process,” stated Guerrette.

The company is also setting up the Web portal to provide technicians with real-time access to installed fire alarm control panels on their phones. This eliminates the need for two technicians on each job—one to walk the facility and the other to stay at the panel to make changes. “Now, just one technician can complete a typical inspection job.”

This article originally appeared in the July 2015 issue of Security Today.

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