12/26/12 — Jackson and Sons gets award for innovations

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Jackson and Sons gets award for innovations

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on December 26, 2012 1:46 PM

DUDLEY -- Jackson & Sons has come a long way in the more than three decades since the heating, vacuum and air conditioning business began at a kitchen table.

The company now boasts a 22,000-square-foot facility and more than 40 employees, but the changes aren't all measured in square feet and jobs.

Some of it is measured in gigabytes.

Jackson & Sons was named the state's runner-up in this year's Verizon Wireless Technology Innovation Awards for its use of mobile devices and wireless technology to improve its business.

Service Manager Ron Carter said Jackson and Sons began implementing mobile technology into its business in 2008, when handwritten invoices were piling up and slowing down service technicians.

The company worked together with software engineers to put together a field technology system that would allow technicians to create and print invoices with PC tablets weighing just about four pounds.

That increases efficiency for the business, he said, but what's more important is the effect the technology has on customer service.

Using wireless cards, the tablets, which are mounted in each service truck, can be used to access the company's customer database, meaning each technician can view a customer's full history before even stepping into the house.

"That gives our technician the opportunity to educate customers," he said. "We can see those trends because we have a full history of every customer."

GPS technology also helps with directions and to keep track of trucks in the field, he said, but the companies efforts to innovate aren't stopping there.

Carter said his company aims to limit its paper and ink consumption even further by utilizing email invoices in the future.

"The technology is there and it's getting better," he said.

In the HVAC field, he said the feasibility of implementing the technology depends on the size of the business since the mobile devices and network costs can be expensive. Jackson & Sons utilizes 38 cell phones and 20 air cards in its endeavors.

"It's not a cheap investment," he said, although he added that the improvement to customer service made it worthwhile.