International Door & Operator Industry

SEP-OCT 2012

Garage door industry magazine for garage door dealers, garage door manufacturers, garage door distributors, garage door installers, loading docks, garage door operators and openers, gates, and tools for the door industry.

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LEGAL&LEGISLATION (continued from page 14) determined by what your particular business needs, and what is easiest for the people who will be accessing the re- cords. Both Mac and PC computers these days, however, have powerful search capabilities that allow even misfi led documents to be searched by PO number, customer number, or date, so you wouldn't have to get overly worried about perfecting the system. Invoicing, Field Reports, and Finances There was a time when work performed in the fi eld could only be done on paper, because there was no other way of providing multiple copies of forms to customers, the home offi ce, and whomever else needed a copy. That day has come and gone though. Today's technology allows the creation of forms for every possible use, and those documents can be transmitted through e-mail or electronic faxing in an instant. My fi rst exposure to electronic job-site documentation software came at a demonstration of the Field2Base software at an ABA Forum on the Construction Industry event several years ago. The software ran on tablet computers, and could be used with a keyboard or a stylus to create and populate the various forms used on a construction project, and then distribute those forms through e-mail and/or wireless con- nections to a company's network. The information compiled through the system would also be dumped into a database, so that other documentation – activity reports, pay applica- tions, job cost reports, and the like – could be generated. Today, with apps for smartphones and tablets, there is no reason why any door dealer cannot be partially or wholly electronic in the fi eld. At a minimum, a program like Adobe Acrobat, which can be used to create and edit PDF docu- ments, is available off the shelf for any company. For more advanced functionality, a company may need to contract with an IT specialist or programmer to design forms and databases to expand the uses of electronic data to ordering, billing, and beyond. Streamlining Payment Without Paper Another device that our offi ce learned about, and now has started using, is Square. The Square is a plug-in magnetic strip reader that plugs into the headphone jack of an iPhone or other smartphone. When utilized in conjunction with the Square app, it turns a smartphone into a credit card reader. The software also receives customer signatures on the touch screen, and then e-mails receipts to customers immediately. Square is not the only device that can accomplish in-the- fi eld paperless payment. A quick search through Google or the Apple Store comes up with many devices and software that can perform the same function. All one needs to do is attach the card reader (or some even use typing in the num- bers, with no attached device at all), be connected to the Internet, and then money can be received at a relatively low cost. And best of all – no paper! Less White Paper Means More Green For those companies who are fortunate enough to not have to worry about supply costs, buying reams of paper and stacks of forms may not be an inconvenience. For the rest of the businesses out there, the simple fact is that it doesn't re- quire spending much money to set up an offi ce that is much less dependent upon paper. One estimate, from the site totallypaperless.com, is that a dollar invested on a targeted document management system can return as much as $20 to $40 on that investment. Why A Lawyer Would Like This When writing this article, I reached this point and pon- dered whether the members reading it would question why a lawyer was recommending going to a paper-reduced orga- nizational system. The answer is actually very simple: preser- vation and organization. I have had any number of clients who have lost their records. Some of them have had fi res or fl oods. Others have VOLUME 45 ISSUE 5 2012 17 Continued on page 18

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