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Business Operations / Self-serve / Controllers / Vending machines

Tablet software creating solutions for carwashes

July 15, 2014
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TUCSON, Ariz. — Carwash owners are always looking to create more efficiency and automation at their washes, and FileMaker Pro offered many solutions for Brian Janezic, the owner of two Auto Wash Express self-serve locations, according to The New York Times.

Janezic, notes the article, figured there must be an easier way to accomplish many routine jobs at the carwash. “We have machines that automatically size and wash a car, mix chemicals, activate pumps, turn on lights — and here I am still counting inventory by hand,” he said.

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FileMaker Pro is well suited for iPads, and small businesses, and has made ordering supplies easier for Janezic. “Now we can pull up any of our sites and see what’s on hand,” and he added that the software “creates a PDF of a purchase order for us to send to one of our local suppliers or an online supplier.”

Gone are the days of measuring drums of carwash chemicals with a yardstick; FileMaker Pro allows him to monitor levels continuously, he said in the article. Sensors have been installed, linked to FileMaker, he continued, that have made it so he can measure many more data points in a week. In Janezic’s case, he said it has gone from two data points to 500.

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FileMaker also improves quality control, and can send mobile alerts to its users about potential issues.

There has been a great increase in recent years of small businesses using “business intelligence software,” up from 1.7 percent in 2010, to 9.2 percent last year, according to research surveys by IDC.

The software, said Ramon Ray, the co-creator of the annual Small Business Summit, provides owners a wealth of information previously unavailable to them. “You can drag and drop spreadsheets, upload a file — even from your phone. ... The new tools provide better customer insights, so you know better what to sell them or what not to sell them; you can see which of your products has the best profit margin. You don’t have to do things on gut check anymore.”

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Janezic, after using FileMaker and other software like it, created a “spinoff enterprise,” notes the story, called WashStat, which provides similar solutions for carwash owners.

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