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FIELDBOSS Recap of Elevator Contractor Meetings Across Canada and the U.S.

FIELDBOSS regularly sends representatives to the regional elevator contractor meetings held across Canada and the US. Aside from the networking opportunities available, these gatherings keep us plugged into the elevator industry trends that our software is designed to help you contend with.

In February, we attended the Elevator Conference New York (ECNY) seminar on Door Lock Monitoring. Contractors in the New York market face a compliance deadline in 2020 that will be tough to meet given the volume of elevators that need to be retrofitted. Read more here.

In March, the ECNY seminar featured Non-Destructive testing. The seminar was quite in depth and was effective in explaining to the attendees that electronic testing technology will deliver an operations productivity boost. In March, ECNY also hosted their first quarterly safety round table, which was well attended by contractors, suppliers and regulators. The meeting featured a typical Italian NYC style lunch and a thorough primer on Lockout-tagout.

On the other coast, we attended the Northern California Elevator Industry Group contractor meeting in Oakland which featured a lively discussion on a variety of industry topics that were top of mind for the meeting attendees.

In April, the CECA Central Meeting featured a tour of the shop floor of the Durum College elevator technician trade school. The highlight of that gathering was an update of the expected regulations behind the Elevator Reliability Act, which is under consideration by the Ontario Provincial Government.

FIELDBOSS travels to many association meetings and industry events to stay informed on industry trends. Contact us to find out how our software can help you overcome complex industry challenges.

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Door Lock Monitoring Deadline is Quickly Approaching for 40,000 NYC Elevator

The list of regulations elevator companies must comply with continues to grow. In 2011, a woman lost her life when an elevator left the landing with its doors open as she attempted to board.  As a result, door-lock monitors will have to be installed on approximately 40,000 elevators in NYC and the deadline, January 2020, is quickly approaching.

A door-lock monitor is an electronic device that prevents an elevator from moving if the doors are not closed properly. All passenger and freight elevators must comply by January 1, 2020, per ASME A17.3 as modified by NYC Building Code appendix K3, Rule 3.10.12. The rule states that means shall be provided to monitor the hall doors and car door/gate for faulty contact circuits, and, if a faulty circuit is detected, the elevator shall be prevented from operating and removed from service. The deadline for compliance leaves less than two years to apply this safety device to the elevators. Ultimately, given the short time frame remaining, both consulting firms and elevator companies have an obligation to advise their clients as to the rule and its implications for non-compliance.

Elevators installed since the 2009 building code most likely have this type of system in place. It already might be in the elevator control system but just not activated, or it may just need some software or type of hardware. Elevators – generally older ones – without such a door-monitoring system will be more expensive, since new equipment must be integrated with the existing elevator control system.

Besides installing the Door Lock Monitor, there are a few other DOB requirements. Even if the component is already in place, the elevator servicing company has to file a permit. Then they have to get a set of electrical prints showing the DOB that it exists electrically within the control-board circuit and have it stamped by a professional engineer. Finally, the DOB must come out and test the elevator.

It is a time consuming process that shouldn’t be left to the last minute. It can take up to 6 weeks just to obtain the necessary city permits to proceed. After January 1, 2020, non-compliant systems will be subject to violations, clearly a situation to avoid. The question is, how will the change be accomplished on the thousands of existing elevator systems before the deadline? The good news is that there are solutions to help manage the process and ensure that all your elevators are compliant by the deadline.

FIELDBOSS Lift is an end-to-end elevator contractor management solution that can be configured to:

  • Easily monitor which elevators require the door lock monitor device,   which have already been installed and which have yet to be installed
  • Create drop down lists under each elevator to keep track of Door Lock Monitor device status
  • Create quotes in seconds and send to those customers in need of a Door Lock Monitor device
  • Create easy to read dashboard views of Active Door Lock Monitor quotes, Active Sites for Door Lock Monitor Installations, and Building Locations without Door Lock Monitors so you can easily stay on-top of what’s going on and keep your customers devices compliant.

 

 

Contact FIELDBOSS for more information about how to manage your Door Lock Monitoring device installations.

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5 Reasons Field Service Companies Choose Microsoft Dynamics 365 and FIELDBOSS

FIELDBOSS was built for the Microsoft Cloud and within Microsoft Dynamics 365. Dynamics 365 is the next generation of intelligent business applications that enable your service organization to grow, evolve and transform. This solution unifies CRM and ERP capabilities with purpose-built applications that work seamlessly together to help manage specific business functions and allow your organization to transform to meet customer needs and capture new opportunities.

 

1.      End-to-End Field Service Management

An end-to-end field service software solution is vital to the success of any field service operation. Given the increased complexity in the marketplace and new best practices, field service operations that don’t deploy effective solutions are out-performed by competitors that do. Increasingly, best-in-class businesses are adopting such tools. FIELDBOSS stands out because it is a complete end-to-end solution that is fully integrated to accounting. This allows our system to show important metrics such as profit on a work order in real-time.

The Aberdeen Group reports that “65 percent of incoming service requests require a field visit or dispatch. Nearly 26 percent of these dispatches require secondary or additional follow-up visits, thereby making the effective management of field resources and the overall field service organization extremely vital in the pursuit of service excellence.”

2.      Connected Interactions

FIELDBOSS provides employees and technicians with 360⁰ information, from any location to improve resource productivity and customer satisfaction. When using the common data model in Microsoft Dynamics 365, you save all core information such as customer and product data in a central place and have access to this data in multiple applications within the 365 suite. Using an app, you can also query sources such as product catalogues as master data.

3.      Integration to Outlook and Other Microsoft Technologies

Since Microsoft has many common technologies that businesses already employ such as MS Outlook, Office and Exchange, they’re the clear winner in integrating those technologies with Dynamics 365. Even though some organizations choose to work with other platforms, most of them are still working with MS Outlook, Office and Exchange. These organizations will find integration to be more difficult and limiting in terms of functionality.

4.      Development and Flexibility

The reason we chose to build FIELDBOSS within Microsoft Dynamics 365, is for development. The Microsoft Dynamics platform employs common, universal web standards such as Java, .Net and HTML. This means that field service businesses have the advantage of developing their own customizations based on their individual needs without having to rely on a single or specific type of programming language. And, if they don’t have the capabilities in-house to handle these customizations, there is an extensive network of trusted, experienced partners (like Rimrock Corporation) that can effectively handle their needs.

5.      Superior Customer Service

For an organization determined to create superior customer engagement, end-to-end integration offers another strong competitive advantage. Enhanced visibility and control of customer information to field technicians on site can ensure that warranty repairs are properly made, non-warranty repairs are invoiced, and new warranty upsell opportunities are taken advantage of. Dynamics 365 and FIELDBOSS will ensure that customer data generated by field service contacts is spread across the organization to be of optimal use to sales, marketing, and customer service.

 

FIELDBOSS and Microsoft Dynamics 365 deliver a powerful combination of business management software with field service management.  Other Microsoft solutions can be seamlessly integrated to boost productivity and profitability, as well as improve customer service.  Contact FIELDBOSS here for more information about how the Microsoft suite of business management solutions can take your business to new heights.

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HFC Phase Down: Working Towards a Low GWP Future

Regardless of the U.S. government’s position on HFCs, many states and individual companies are deciding to continue phasing out HFC’s and moving forward with alternative refrigerants that are environmentally responsible.

Just a few weeks ago, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced it is moving forward with its plans to adopt the same EPA SNAP list of unacceptable HFCs that was recently vacated by the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Manufacturers of air conditioning and refrigeration equipment have been preparing for the phasedown of HFCs since the creation of the 2016 Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which calls for a global phasedown of HFCs by more than 80 percent over the next 30 years. So far, 25 countries have ratified the Kigali Amendment, pushing it over the threshold of 20 countries needed for the treaty to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019, in developed countries. However, it has not been ratified by the U.S., and the Trump administration is currently deciding whether or not to send it to the Senate for ratification. Congress has pushed its way into the debate by introducing the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, which would provide the EPA with the authority to phase down the manufacture of HFCs in the U.S.

U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) recently introduced the bill, which they believe will provide certainty for businesses in the U.S. on the worldwide transition towards next-generation coolants. “Our bipartisan AIM Act continues support for American development and manufacturing of next-generation HFC-alternatives, while also protecting our environment and helping the U.S. meet its obligations under the amended Montreal Protocol – a true win-win,” said Sen. Carper. “After more than a decade of work to support domestic manufacturing of HFC-alternative products, our efforts are clearly paying off with American companies leading the world in this growing industry.”

It is unclear whether Trump will sign off on the Kigali Amendment or the AIM Act. However, while it may take several years, most in the industry foresee a future without HFCs.

FIELDBOSS stays current on industry trends to keep you informed on what’s happening in the HVACR world.  Read our blog and sign up for our newsletter  for all the latest news.

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Steel and Aluminum Tariff’s Impact on the HVAC Industry

President Donald Trump’s decision to enact steel tariffs on the importing of foreign steel and aluminum has a number of HVAC industry groups worried. Many fear the HVACR industry will be negatively impacted by an increase in tariffs, as would the consumers that rely on the products.

The metals from countries other than Mexico and Canada will carry new taxes of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. The president said the taxes will strengthen an industry that has been battered by unfair international competition, especially from China. President Trump has exempt Mexico and Canada for now, but that could change unless a “new and fair” North American Free Trade Agreement is signed.

ACCA’s director of industry and external relations, Todd Washam, said the organization is unsure how much prices will inflate across the board but is certain that contractors will see an increase on equipment prices.

“That increase is likely to be passed on to consumers, and we’re concerned because, when consumers see higher prices, our members tell us that they’re usually driven to the lowest bidder,” he said. “And our members are always concerned about that.”

Paul T. Stalknecht, ACCA president and CEO added, “ACCA is concerned that increased costs of HVACR equipment caused by tariffs on steel and aluminum will negatively impact professional contractors and consumers. When the price of HVACR equipment increases, consumers who are in need of a new system trend toward cut-rate and unqualified individuals to service or replace their equipment. It also shifts the mindset of consumers to opt for putting Band-Aids on aging systems instead of replacing them with today’s more efficient products.”

Another concern, according to a survey of HARDI members conducted by HARDI’s Sheet Metal & Air Handling Committee, is that the current overall domestic production capacity of steel and aluminum HVACR products cannot alone meet the current demand of the domestic market.

The survey reveals that the American steel and aluminum industries cannot currently make certain materials, such as the low-gauge foil required to make foil-scrim-kraft (FSK) facings, that are used on essential duct board, duct wrap, and other duct-insulating products.

“As major users of steel and aluminum, we have been proactive in explaining to the administration that the HVACR and water heating industry would be negatively impacted by an increase in tariffs, as would the consumers that rely on the products we manufacture,” said AHRI President and CEO Stephen Yurek. “While we have been pleased with the Trump administration’s enthusiastic support for manufacturing, and are happy that the president did include at least a temporary exemption for supplies from Canada and Mexico, we believe this step to be injurious, rather than helpful, to our efforts to increase American manufacturing and create jobs.”

On April 3, The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced a proposed list of Chinese imports that could be subject to an additional 25 percent tariff once the list becomes final. The list, which includes various HVACR and water heating products, covers approximately 1,300 tariff lines — approximately $50 billion worth of goods —according to the USTR.

The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) provided a list of AHRI member HVACR products that could be hit with extra 25 percent tariffs. Included in the list: boilers, compressors, air conditioners, furnaces, refrigerators, freezers, water heaters, heat exchangers, and control equipment. For the full list of member products affected DOWNLOAD HERE.

Comments on the list are due to the USTR by May 11, 2018. No dates were provided in the announcement for when the product list would be finalized, or when the tariffs would go into effect.

FIELDBOSS is a member of HRAI and IHACI and a proud supporter of the HVACR industry.

Contact us to find out how our software can help you contend with industry challenges.

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Employee Spotlight: David Alberto

The Rimrock Corporation team is made up of many hard working talented individuals with interesting stories to tell. In our Employee Spotlight series, you’ll meet some of these people, learn what they do, and how they keep Rimrock exciting and fun.

David Alberto is an Application Consultant for the FIELDBOSS team. David was born in Antigua but was raised in the British Virgin Islands, specifically the island of Tortola. He moved to Toronto in 2007. Prior to working at Rimrock, David worked as an application consultant for another Microsoft Partner in the Toronto area.

When David isn’t busy implementing new projects, you can find him playing basketball and hitting up the gym.

Read on to find out more about David.

 

What do you love most about working at Rimrock & how long have you been here?

I’ve been working at Rimrock for just over 2 months. What I love the most about working here is the sense of teamwork. Even though a single consultant may own a project, there is still a lot of collaboration among the FIELDBOSS team and consultants.

Where is the best place you’ve travelled to and why?

I went to Colombia in December of 2016 to meet my wife’s family and to experience the culture where she grew up. Most people go to Colombia for the beaches of Cartagena (which are very nice). But the best thing I experienced in Colombia was the joy of the people. As everyone knows, the country has more than its fare share of issues, but for most people in Colombia there is nowhere they would rather be.

What TV shows/music/apps are you currently obsessed with right now?

I recently finished watching the first season of a Spanish Netflix series called La Casa de Papel (recently renamed to Money Heist). It’s an amazing show depicting an elaborate robbery of the Royal Mint of Spain.

Tell us a “fun fact” about yourself that your colleagues might not already know.

Working in tech was not my first choice coming out of high school. Playing jazz music was my passion and I was accepted into Humber College’s very competitive music program. I used to play in a jazz big band based out of Etobicoke. I doubled on alto saxophone and clarinet.

 

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Employee Spotlight: Ola Darwish

The Rimrock team is made up of many hard working talented individuals with interesting stories to tell. In our Employee Spotlight series, you’ll meet some of these people, learn what they do, and how they keep Rimrock exciting and fun.

This week we shine the spotlight on Ola, a Senior GP Consultant for our ERP team. She was born in Cairo, Egypt and moved to Canada near the end of 2009.

Ola has been working in ERP consulting ever since she graduated University. Prior to working at Rimrock, Ola worked for CCIM (Community Care Information Management). She worked on projects led by the Ministry of Health; implementing Microsoft Dynamics GP in all Ontario health organizations. She also worked for another company where she got to implement GP in Sweden, Germany, Ireland, and the UK.

Ola spends her spare time learning Spanish, swimming, and loves staying active. She enjoys watching “Hell’s Kitchen” and absolutely loves Chef Gordon Ramsey!

Read on to find out more about Ola.

 

What do you love most about working at Rimrock & how long have you been here?
I have been at Rimrock since August of 2015. I think we have a great working environment and culture. I love the team I work with! Everyone is very cooperative, nice, and helpful.

 

Where is the best place you’ve traveled to and why?
I have two favorite places:
Paris, France has an unexplainable charm and it is very romantic. I love it!

I would also have to say Banff, Alberta. It is paradise on earth! The scenery is fantastic. Every turn you take is breath taking!

 

Tell us a “fun fact” about yourself that your colleagues might not already know.
Well, I think a surprising fact is that I have never watched Game of Thrones. I know, I know.

I also never watch scary movies, not even the trailer, because they scare me to death. I think it’s probably because I believe in ghosts!

 

What TV shows/music/apps are you currently obsessed with right now?
I really enjoy watching Forensic Files, Untold Stories of the ER, and a few sitcoms.

 

Words to live by — What are yours?
Wow, we’re getting deep here! I really just believe that if you want to accomplish something you can do it as long as you work hard, keep trying, and never give up.

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The HVAC Industry After a Year Under Trump

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since Donald Trump became president. Over the course of the year, Trump has proposed and instituted many reforms, some of which have had an impact on the HVACR industry – for the good and the bad. Here’s a look at the HVAC industry after a year under Trump:

 

 

The good:

  • Improvement on the treatment of pass-through entities
  • Preservation of “last-in, first-out” accounting
  • Repeal of the alternative minimum tax
  • Progress toward repeal of the estate tax

 

Some concerns:

  • The tax reform bill did not fully repeal the estate tax, but instead doubled the exemption threshold to $11.2 million for individuals and $22.4 million per couple. There should never be an acceptable threshold for the estate tax. The long-term goal is and has always been for full repeal. Moreover, most of the tax reform provisions for individuals, including the increased estate tax exemption, currently have expiration dates. There needs to be a push to make these provisions permanent.
  • The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) has warned that tariffs on steel and aluminium will negatively impact the HVACR industry. In a letter to US President, Donald Trump, AHRI said it was disappointed by the decision to introduce a proposed 25 per cent levy on all steel imports and 10 per cent levy on aluminum. AHRI president and CEO Stephen Yurek, said it will be injurious rather than helpful to members of the group, which represent manufacturers of heating, air conditioning, commercial refrigeration, and water heating products and equipment in the US.

 

FIELDBOSS is a member of HRAI and IHACI and a proud supporter of the HVACR industry. FIELDBOSS stays current on industry trends to keep you informed on what’s happening in the HVACR world.  Read our blog and sign up for our newsletter  for all the latest news.

 

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Come Visit FIELDBOSS at CMPX 2018

CMPX, Canada’s national show for the plumbing and HVAC/R industries, returns to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre March 21-23.  CMPX has over 500 exhibitors showcasing all the innovative new products and technologies that define the mechanical industry today.

FIELDBOSS will be at booth 1439 to answer all your questions. Looking forward to seeing you there!

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How to Overcome the Challenge of the Aging Workforce

A common challenge that’s been on the mind of field service executives is the fact that the majority of their seasoned, experienced field service technicians are reaching retirement age. Replacing those workers with newer, younger techs is complicated for a few different reasons — the departure of tribal knowledge, the transfer of that knowledge to the new workforce, the talent shortage, and so on. According to The Service Council, 70% of service organizations report they’ll be facing a pinch as they lose workers to retirement in the coming years.

So how can you tackle one of the biggest challenges facing the field service industry right now? Here are a few suggestions to overcome the obstacles of an aging workforce:

1.      Recruiting New Talent

It has proven very difficult for field service organizations to find quality replacements at the same rate at which experienced workers are retiring.

  • Far more of the younger generation have college degrees. Attending college job fairs or working to set up internship programs is a good place to find young talent.
  • Younger workers also want different things than your senior workers do. They want to feel recognized, empowered, and that their voice and opinion is valued.
  • Millennial’s understand the benefits of technology. When millennials show up for work and see what they perceive as old and out-dated business practices still in place, they are not inclined to stick around.

To successfully recruit in this new era, you need to look for new ways to uncover talent, and understand what is most likely to attract them to your organization.

 

2.   Tribal Knowledge

As field workers retire, companies are often losing significant amounts of “tribal knowledge” that isn’t well-documented anywhere except in those technician’s minds. This can include important details of customer history that if not captured can result in negative customer experience. You need to put a plan in place for how you’ll capture and transfer the insights and information your older workers have.

  • Invest in an automated solution to collect, centralize, and organize all your data and documentation so it’s always up to date and accessible to anyone in the company.
  • Have your senior-level technicians grow your documentation library by having them create troubleshooting guides and videos while on the job which can be shared and viewed by newer technicians.

Management must accept that knowledge transfer requires a long-term investment. But with your best technicians’ wisdom stored in a company-wide database, you won’t lose that expert knowledge when they do retire or leave the company.

 

3.      Managing Millennials

Companies are challenged to learn how best to manage this new, young workforce while at the same time managing the more experienced workers. Each group has different needs and responds to different methods. Millennials require far different management, communication, and technology strategies than your older technicians. Determining how to best mange the two workforces up front will help to avoid high turnover and the costs that go along with it.

 

While there’s no easy solution, there are some steps companies can take to manage the challenge of an aging workforce. Whether you have technicians that are retiring, off sick, or busy on another job, automating and sharing data reduces the risk of having a single point of information. FIELDBOSS is an end-to-end field service contractor management solution that helps build easily accessible knowledge bases so field workers can access information anywhere, anytime, regardless of their location.

Contact FIELDBOSS for more information.

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