WILLIAMSPORT, PA -- The goal of automation is to increase efficiency, and MCM Elements LLC believes its Route Boost software system will do this for operators. In large part, this is because operators designed the software.
PHOTO: From left, Andy Shaffer of Shaffer Services (Columbus, OH) gets Route Boost demo from MCM's Lou Miele, Jen Marchese and Dan Miser.
"This program really helps the operator manage more effectively, efficiently and accurately," MCM's Dan Miser explained. "The difference between our Route Boost system and our competitors' is that we set out to create an inexpensive solution with more features."
The MCM's software solutions run on mobile devices powered by Apple's iOS or the Android operating system. These include the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch -- devices an operator already is likely to own. Using widely available smartphones and tablets for data collection and display eliminates the need for investment in dedicated hardware, such as route sales tablet or ruggedized notebook computers. With the computing power of portable consumer devices increasing rapidly, this approach reduces or eliminates the additional cost of hardware without sacrificing functionality, MCM observed.
The software as a service model that MCM has adopted further reduces initial costs. "We operate on a subscription basis, a monthly or annual fee with no upfront cost," Miser said. "We were looking to charge a small amount rather than a large chunk up front. And, because it is subscription, we frequently release new features based on requests from customers."
(The subscription fees vary, but are mostly based on the number of machines on routes. MCM said: "The software costs as little as pennies per machine a month.")
PROGRAMMED FOR SUCCESS
"The most important feature is the reporting that comes out of the Route Boost application," said MCM's Dave Crawford. "Dan and I had a route for seven years. This is software designed by a route operator, not just programmers. We know the importance of being able to take the data out of locations and that historical data to look at in different reports. For instance, we had two dartboards on a location, and the return on investment on the second board was 14 years! We had to get that board out of there."
Because the system is cloud-based, the operator's home office has access to collection figures from the field in near-real time. If a collection is made when a route owner is on vacation, for example, he'll get an email that tells him about it.
The system also gives location owners access to real-time data. "Because we're younger and embrace technology, we push to have our locations use the login feature," said Crawford. "The owner can log in and look at every collection -- the same three-year stretch. They can understand how the machines are earning. That level of transparency eliminates hassles, misunderstandings and other gray areas."
According to Crawford and Miser, this feature is particularly attractive to corporate accounts. It also can act as a differentiator by providing the added value that can help land an account, they reported.
"This program is moving forward and solving new problems," Miser said. "We're constantly pushing the envelope on what it can do." MCM introduced a service call module that pushes SMS notifications to technicians when a service call request is opened and assigned to them. It really closes the loop. Now, nothing gets missed."
For additional information on Route Boost and an overview of MCM Elements' other products, call (414) 367-9626 or visit mcmelements.com.
More Operator Software
MCM Elements also offers two programs specific to popular equipment types.
Golden Tee League Manager was written for operators of Incredible Technologies' popular video golf simulators. It's designed to encourage the formation of leagues and promotion of competitive play by automating the necessary administrative tasks. The program runs on smartphones, as well as desktop and portable computers, facilitates generation of schedules, keeps standings up to date and tracks lifetime player averages. Endorsed by Incredible Technologies, GTLM helps operators increase player participation, thus boosting revenue.
Cash Keeper is a suite written for operators of automated teller machines. It's designed to help maximize ATM profits by tightening management control, reducing potential loss and optimizing routes to realize their full earnings potential.