Our company, The Draft Guys was born in 2013. At the time, I owned a popular nightclub and was Molson’s biggest client. I noticed the company that was servicing the Molson beer stations wasn’t doing the best job. I quickly realized there was a need for someone to do it better, which inspired me to branch off and start this kind of business myself.
We are draft beer technicians that install, maintain, and service equipment for breweries and microbreweries across the province of New Brunswick and a portion of Nova Scotia, Canada. 2 of our largest customers are Molson and Labatt, and their clients are our clients, which adds up to roughly 1000 customers across the province.
The majority of our work consists of flushing out their draft lines to water, and then back to beer, cleaning and maintaining equipment. Our clients have anywhere from 10 to 20 draft lines which require regular flushing every 6 to 8 weeks. Sometimes they even need it done earlier, like every 4 weeks.
We also sell parts of the equipment that is used to draft beer. From the keg up to the tap, these pieces range anywhere from pumps and faucets, to glass washers and motors, and they tend to break on a regular basis. We supply our clients with these parts during our service calls, when we notice that they are no longer functional.
We knew a competitor of ours that used something similar, so I decided to dig deeper to find out how we could boost productivity for our technicians. Another option was to own the software ourselves which I knew could get costly. I would need to do updates myself, and I would have had to pay for each update.
I knew I could find a company out there that already does field service management well, and offers technical support without insanely high monthly fees. I even had a consultation from a major player in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant that does CRM and it hadn’t checked off all the boxes for us. It seemed complicated with too many modules.
Very responsive and configurable solution –
As soon as I reached out to Praxedo, I got a response within minutes. The consultation went smoothly and the solution seemed less complicated. Their features were configurable, which was important for me because I have specific business needs and I needed the solution to work the way I wanted. They gave me a free trial run for 3 months where I was able to use my old system and Praxedo at the same time so that allowed me to align them, compare, and see if everything functioned properly with accounting, and it did. From day one.
User-friendly mobile app
We’re 3 guys that use the mobile app daily. It really helps with scheduling our work orders and routes, which is a given, however something I’d like to bring attention to is how it enables us to sell a lot more. We have always replaced equipment and parts for our customers when they break, but oftentimes my technicians would forget to charge for them. Before Praxedo, a lot of sales would be missed and undocumented and we’d be too embarrassed to call the customer back to notify them that we forgot to bill on something.
I set up Praxedo in such a way that when my field techs open up a work order, they get prompted to enter the equipment that was replaced onsite, before they can even close it. They are unable to complete their work order without submitting that specific information. Now, we never forget to add a replacement part to an invoice and we’re billing our clients for the work we actually did, rather than being forced to let things slide and losing money in the process. When you calculate all the pumps and faucets we change in a week, it really adds up. That’s how we make money.
Intuitive web interface for recurring maintenance plans
The web platform works very well. The majority of my business is maintenance for draft beer stations and Praxedo offers several ways to organize our customer visits. I’m able to set regular frequencies and link them to job sites so that we never miss a visit. My maintenance plans are easy to manage and I can send customers’ a single report right after a work order is closed out.
More intelligent scheduling
I am responsible for dispatching and it’s a big help to be able to optimize tasks by setting parameters that make sense to me.
I can also maximize my route planning which is significant to my business due to lengthy travel times between each of our customer sites. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are very vast in terms of brewery and microbrewery concentration. We sometimes have to drive multiple hours to get from one customer to another. It seems that no 2 breweries are neighbors. We spend so much time on the road, that Praxedo has been a lifesaver in reducing that time.
I think that out of everybody here, my accountant is the happiest of all with the digital transformation. We have about 1000 clients, and the manual processes involved before implementation were extremely time consuming.
Picture this – My accountant receives 1000 work order reports per week, one for each client. He also collects receipts for 200 pieces of equipment sold to these clients. That’s 1200 pieces of paper that needed to be entered in the system, recounted, used to create invoices and later filed. This was a tedious process each week.
Today, his life is much easier. He simply pulls a report from Praxedo, itemized per brewery, service completed, equipment sold. Let me tell you, the money I am now saving on accounting fees is several thousands of dollars per year as he doesn’t have to work nearly as much as he used to.
Time saved on scheduling
Our scheduling process typically has 14 day lead times. Rather than me having to spend 4 hours a week looking back to see where we were and building the upcoming schedule, I can do it in 30 minutes! That’s 3 ½ hours a week I get back to focus on other, more important things. Come to think of it, I’ve reduced scheduling time by 87.5%.
Quick user adoption
My technicians aren’t super techy, and that was a worry for them before implementation. As soon as they started to use the mobile app, they realized its benefits. It simplified their lives, they enjoy their jobs more and no one complains. In fact, I’d bet they’d be pretty depressed if we would change back to using paper forms. It was so easy to use, they adopted it quickly.
Service route optimization
We live in a province where our clients (breweries) are scattered all over. Before Praxedo, my technicians were driving 4 and a half hours sometimes from one customer site to another, just to find out that service was no longer needed that day.
Now, we’re each assigned specific territories, and my technicians don’t drive as much as they used to. With optimized routes, our work orders are managed more effectively and distances between job sites are kept as short as possible.
Praxedo automatically analyzes our operating constraints so that the right technician is dispatched for every job. Not only does this allow us to save time and keep technicians happy while on the road, it helps us save money on fuel costs.
The status of our work orders are always displayed on a map so I can better visualize which technicians are doing what. With integrated mapping, I can make data-driven decisions, as the information is easy to understand and presented in real-time.
History and traceability
Our customers will call us sometimes to ask what date we last visited them. With the history tracker functionality, I can let them know our last visit down to the exact time. We were never able to do that until we implemented a digital field service management solution.
Right now we are 3 technicians in total that cover all of New Brunswick and part of Nova Scotia. We currently have the major players as customers, and things are going great. It’s really all about the contracts. The more contracts I get, the larger our team will grow. I plan on hiring more people once we expand our presence in Nova Scotia.
In addition, I started a new service business 3 months ago where we transport gas to customers. The deal was that we would run it for a few months and audit the gas tanks to see if they knew where they were and that the numbers matched using a barcode system that Praxedo’s support team had built for us. They recently finished the audit and our partner said it was a perfect audit with zero discrepancies, which he’s never seen in his career. Our partner asked us what solution we were using for the barcode system, and I expect more business for Praxedo in the near future.