Tranquility through Technology

How a Pond Company Got into the Software Business

Mobile access to the software on a job site using an iPad or smartphone puts information at the job foreman's fingertips.

Mobile access to the software on a job site using an iPad or smartphone puts information at the job foreman’s fingertips.

Tranquility Ponds, LLC. (www.tranquility-ponds.com) has been designing, building and maintaining ponds and water features for over 22 years. Since our business is based in Las Vegas, I try to infuse it with a Vegas flair that incorporates that fast pace the city is famous for. Unfortunately, managing such a fast-paced and growing business while providing the very best in customer service can be a daunting task. I realized early on that we needed a business management system that could keep pace with all of the daily activities.

Software has become the solution — specifically, an Internet application and private website that has been designed by, and specifically for, Tranquility Ponds. This application has streamlined our daily business activities, and I now have instant access to a wide variety of information that helps with all aspects of managing my business.

Most small businesses struggle with business management because the computer-based software tools available to them are expensive, complicated and don’t quite fit their business model or method of operation. But the software solution we’ve designed for Tranquility Ponds is easy to use and accessible anywhere over the Internet using a computer, a handheld device such as an iPad or a smartphone. Designed as an Internet application, the software is hosted in a cloud computing environment and accessed via a private, password- protected website that does not require any software installation on any specific computer. Neither the software nor the data entered into the system resides on a local computer — instead, everything is cloud-based, taking advantage of automated backups and universal accessibility. This arrangement provides a secure, maintenance-free, no-hassle software experience.

In general, the software is driven by a relational database that links various sets of data seamlessly and transparently to the user. All data entered is stored in the database for easy access by the software modules that comprise the total software solution. Modular design allows for easy expansion; as new functions are required, the software is easily extended to provide the new capability.

Managing the Complexities of Our Business

Specifically, the pond business consists of retail store sales, pond cleaning and maintenance services and new pond construction activities. This triad of activity must be managed to maintain adequate product inventories, allocate labor efficiently and meet construction and service schedules. The software has been designed with modules that manage each of these areas in an integrated fashion.

Retail store sales are logged at the time of sale, indicating the products sold, customer information, time and date of the sale, store location, salesperson and total sales price. Reports can be generated sorting retail sales by any or all of these parameters. Having an instant snapshot of store sales helps me understand my cash flow, discover sales trends, determine my top salespersons and manage my inventory.

Service jobs involve pond cleaning and maintenance activities such as pump and filter installations, liner replacement and overall general repairs. Employees can access the job schedule online using their computers, handheld devices or smartphones. Hours worked at each job are logged by employees into the private Intranet site while out in the field using their smartphones. All employee hours are logged in a database from which reports (sorted by date, employee and job) can be created with the touch of a button. Wages are totaled on a daily basis for managing payroll expenses as the month progresses. Historical labor reports can also be created just as easily, also sorted by employee and date ranges.

Field service and new construction activities are entered for online and remote access describing the work that needs to be performed at each site, the address and homeowner information as well as any special notes concerning any particular job. The software tracks new construction and service materials and costs to complete the job and, in conjunction with labor hours, allows profit per service or construction project to be managed on a daily basis. A built-in accounting system tracks customer payments for service work or new construction activity with color-coded flags indicating that payments are due.

The Importance of Security

With all of this sensitive information entered into the system, data security is a top priority. All of the software and databased data are hosted in the cloud on a redundant network with 100% guaranteed availability to authorized users only. Having the data and software in the cloud alleviates the threat of a stolen computer containing valuable data, and system backups are automated and routinely performed.

Additionally, each segment of the software is protected by user levels that give access to certain functions and reports based upon the access level needed by any particular person and under complete control of the system administrator. Multiple user levels protect higher-level management functions from access by unauthorized users and allows for complete system control.

The bottom line is that this system helps the bottom line in my business. This software has become indispensable to my daily management and long-term business operations. In fact, this software has made such an impact on my business that we’ve spun off a technology arm of our pond company to market and license the software to small business service providers everywhere!

Not Just For Ponds

Tranquility Technology, LLC. is the software and technology spinoff of Tranquility Ponds that provides our software solution, which can automate the daily activities of a wide variety of service and retail businesses — not just pond companies. The software can easily be tailored to manage service providers of all types.

This is one time where the rule “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas” does not apply. Any business can benefit from our Internet software solution with the same Vegas flair as Tranquility Ponds. And like Tranquility Ponds, your business may have just hit the jackpot!

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