Project Description

This software was created to read in relevant information from a Service Ticket (rtf format) created by the Quantrac HVAC Office software. The Report Creator would then allow the user to select and edit information before creating a Service Report (docx format). This Service Report would be emailed to a Technician before they arrived on site.

Project Details

  • Search through an rtf file for relevant information using Regular Expressions
  • Allow a user to edit and select relevant information
  • Create a docx file using the Office PIA with the relevant information

Languages/Tools

  • VB.Net
  • Microsoft Office PIA
  • Regex

The Problem

A commercial HVAC company with a large number of technicians wanted to go paperless. Before every technician arrives at the work site, they need details: Where's the job? Who do I contact and how? What is the equipment history? In the past, the technician would go to the office to pick up a Service Report then proceed to the job location.

When they completed the job, the technicians were to fill out paperwork to detail the problem, what they did to fix it, how long it took and what parts were used. The paperwork was returned to the office and the data entered into the office software. Handwritten service reports are a problem: one tech has terrible handwriting, another keeps spilling coffee on their forms, and another likes to write essays explaining absolutely everything.

To make the process more efficient, the company decided to do away with the paper Service Reports. They decided to send and receive every form using tablets or phones rather than handwritten forms. In effect, they wanted to go paperless! But how is possible when the office software doesn’t support that?


The Solution

I was hired to come up with a paperless solution that was easy to use and inexpensive to implement. Working with the office staff, I created a template of a Service Report that the techs were already familiar with that included fields for all the information the techs would need. The Service Report also included sections to answer all the follow up questions when a job was finished.

The next step was to fill in this template so that it could be emailed or placed in a Google Drive for the technician. To do that, I created the software seen above. It would read a file produced by the office software containing the information needed, grab the data and place it in fields for the user to see. The user could then edit, (select a different phone number, add another contact etc.) before saving everything to a Word Document and sending it to the technician.

The tech would be able to view the Service Report on whatever device they wanted (iPhone, iPad, Android Phone/Tablet, Windows Phone/Tablet etc.) using whatever app they were already familiar with. When a job was complete the tech simply filled out the Service Report and sent it back to the office, where someone could now copy and paste the information into the office software. No guessing or retyping what was written. This system was implemented seamlessly, with very little stress caused by going paperless!