Plunkett’s Pest Control is at the forefront of their industry, known for leading innovation and high quality, professional service. The company started as a family-owned business in Minnesota more than 100 years ago. Today it’s a nationally recognized firm with more than 600 employees across 22 states.
Plunkett’s Pest Control maintains more than 700 vehicles and trailers. They have to keep tabs on general specifications for each vehicle, insurance requirements for multiple states, license and tab renewal dates and fees, maintenance invoices and more.
Until recently, they were trying to track everything with Excel spreadsheets.
“I don’t know how we stayed on the road. It was keeping a lot of balls in the air and not really having a way to track things very well,” said Jenny Williams, Director of Fleet and Logistics.
On the hunt for a system that could help them ditch the paper trail, Williams took a closer look at two Microsoft solutions, an Access database and Power Apps. After talking with a couple partners, she went with Boyer as a managed service provider to implement a Power Apps solution.
“It felt like (Power Apps) was more flexible for the long-term solution,” she said.
Managed Services for Power Apps
Rather than go a traditional implementation route, Williams opted for one of Boyer’s managed service plans. The agreement consisted of creating an initial Power App and then providing ongoing support for it. They had weekly meetings to prioritize next steps and conduct any training needed.
“I liked the weekly check-ins and that they were working meetings,” Williams said. “I felt like we had a plan and we were following the plan.”
Plunkett’s Pest Control had an internal resource who would be responsible for the system moving forward, so Williams wanted him to be an integral part of the build process. The more she could learn as the software was being created, the better equipped she would be to maintain or modify the software in the future.
Boyer helped Plunkett’s create a custom Power App to manage the company’s fleet. The entire project took about six months to complete.
With the app they can track the details for each vehicle as well as associate each one with specific technicians. When a vehicle trades hands, the system can easily track the new user. New vehicles must be outfitted with sprayers and other equipment that the technicians need in the field, all details that can be added into the app.
Streamlining processes with Power Apps
Microsoft Power Apps has helped the renowned pest control company streamline several processes. For example, they now have a process in place to ensure that vehicle tabs are renewed, sent to the appropriate location and installed in a timely fashion.
They also have processes in place to digitally track both any accident information and maintenance invoices. Knowing what maintenance has been done (and when) on a vehicle that’s been in an accident helps with liability and insurance claims.
“We tried to solve a bunch of little problems and reinforce the best practices or processes to do some of these things,” Williams said.
Only a few people in the office and warehouses actually need access to the system. Then they send out the information as needed to the rest of the team.
A Managed Service Provider who knows the company
Williams said that one huge benefit of the managed service plan was having their own internal resource trained at the same time the software was being created.
“Having someone in-house learn the system was probably one of the biggest benefits and having (design) influence along the way,” she said.
They’ve already discovered some details that needed to be tweaked, such as which questions to ask technicians following an accident. Because they’d taken on a bigger role during the implementation, they knew how to modify the system to make the needed changes themselves.
“We feel like we have the ability to alter things,” Williams said. She much preferred that approach over simply handing over their requirements to a Microsoft partner and waiting for the completed product.
At the same time, having an experienced Power Platform consultant guide them through the process was invaluable. Williams said despite Power Apps being touted as easy to learn, it’s not quite intuitive enough to tackle on their own.
“It helped to have a partner who knew it better,” she said.
She especially appreciated having consistency in who from Boyer was working on their project. This allowed the two teams to get to know each other. Plus, the Boyer consultant was familiar with the Plunkett’s operations and could get to what they needed faster.
Implementing a Power App through a managed service plan worked well for Plunkett’s Pest Control. Williams said any company that’s interested in a similar process should make sure they have the right internal resource to support the project. She suggested someone who is self-motivated, able to learn the system and who is committed to maintaining the solution in the long-term.
“It’s nice to have someone (internal) who kind of knows the system a little bit … and who can keep things moving along from our own side,” Williams said.
With the fleet management app so successful, Plunkett’s is now in the midst of a similar, smaller project to track their 100 warehouse locations. This time, said Williams, they think they’ve learned enough that they can tackle the project on their own.