Then when I leave, I can take a thank-you document stored in Dropbox along with any information they requested for me to update. I can send this to them from the car and they’ll have it before they even get back to their desk!
This certainly can help win customers. It allows you to be responsive and personal at the same time. It helps illustrate that you have your act in order.
Quickoffice also has an Excel type module which allows you to make and update spreadsheets. Everything can be synced back to Dropbox.
UPAD: note taking app
This program is like a legal pad. Combine that with a stylus and you can take handwritten notes just like you would on paper. While I use it to take notes, I also use it to complete PDF forms (you can type in there as well) and sign documents.
Recently, I was in the field with a colleague. We had some documents sent via email that we had to sign. We began looking for a FedEx Kinko’s so we could print the documents, sign, and then fax. Then it occurred to me I could eliminate all those steps and take care of it immediately!
Within minutes, I opened each PDF in UPad, typed in the parts I had to complete, signed the documents, exported to PDF, and sent them off. As you can imagine, not only did this eliminate unnecessary steps, but it saved quite a bit of time.
Sharepoint: multi-purpose platform
We use Microsoft Sharepoint, a multi-purpose platform, on our internal network to store shared documents, track things like pending moves, manage the vacation calendar, and store all our service documents, including machine manuals for every machine we have out in the field. Microsoft Sharepoint is a great resource for helping manage our information.
With Shareplus, we can leverage the Sharepoint site on the iPhone and iPad. Every resource on the Sharepoint site is accessible through the mobile devices, in an organized and easily accessible manner.
It even allows you to cache documents in an offline mode in cases where you might not have a data connection. But it’s not just one way — you can use it to create entries and upload to the Sharepoint site.
There are many ways we use this on a regular basis. We use it to track our pending moves. Everything about the moves is posted to the Sharepoint site. This helps everyone in the organization who needs that information stay updated. If anything is changed, it immediately is reflected because it is Web-based.
On the mobile device, we use it to change the status of moves from “scheduled” to “completed.” When the move is completed, we can log it off in real time. And Sharepoint has features in itself which can automatically send an email to the customer or salesperson when the move is done.
I also use it to access machine manuals. Sometimes, if we’re out in the field, or a tech calls with problems on a machine that he can’t figure out, I can in a minute access the machine manual and instantly be on the same page as him.
Another way to use Shareplus is to create forms to collect information in the field. For example, I have a “lock change” form. When we move locks, or install a new lock in a machine, we need to track it so it can be updated in the appropriate systems. In Shareplus, we can complete the form and it is instantly saved back to the server in real time so anyone in the office has access to it and can process it and adjust its status.
Carbonite: Cloud-based backup
Carbonite is another utility that requires setup on your computer first. It is a cloud-based backup program. It takes all your files and keeps backup copies offsite. This is a good practice. You can easily recover in case something goes wrong with the computer, have a fire, or otherwise lose the files.
Carbonite also has an iPhone app which allows you to access every backed up file. In other words, with this app, you can access any document that you saved on your computer (or server, if that’s where you are running Carbonite).
At my company, we digitally scan every document. We keep no paper files. Everything is scanned and the originals are shredded – every invoice, every order, every note, every contract. We have hundreds of thousands of pages of documents in our “digital cabinet.”