Hardware That’s Not So Hard

by: Barbara Thomas, Support Specialist and Guest Blogger for the BMS Utility Billing Team

I’m a technophobe at heart. If I even have to plug into a USB connection on my computer, my hands shake. Nonetheless, so many of us are surviving, even thriving in the workplace thanks to devices like computers and printers and digital phone lines. Consider how smartphones have changed our lifestyles and eliminated the need for maps and telephone books and such, saving space and time for us.

Thanks to technology, even more labor saving devices can be really simple to use and can enable quick and accurate data entry and free up time that can be better spent performing customer service with a smile.

You can implement your own Paper Reduction Act with the use of a flatbed scanner. There may be documents you need to associate with a cemetery plot, a licensed business, or a utility customer. Most Black Mountain Software products are delivered with a Scan feature that works with any flatbed scanner that uses a TWAIN driver, allowing the scanned documents to be stored in the application folder. The TWAIN driver is simply a style of software provided by the scanner manufacturer. It operates the scanner and interfaces between the program and the scanner hardware. All you, the operator, do is line up the item to be scanned and tell the scanner what you want it to do.

Another application, Cash Receipting, enables taking and printing receipts and validating checks at the point of receipt entry. With the addition of a receipt printer you can provide an instantly-printed receipt and insert the check to be stamped by the printer, saving more time and effort. The receipt printer uses thermal paper that allows direct thermal printing. The ribbon cartridge in the receipt printer is used for check validation only, so it lasts a ridiculously long time. Changing the paper roll is a snap.

One of the simplest hardware aids available is the barcode scanner. Black Mountain Software’s Utility Billing and Cash Receipting programs can interface via a simple module. This allows a barcode scanner to scan the barcode printed on the bill stub to locate the account in the software, so you can take a receipt without having to manually type to search for the account. BMS’ Mobile Asset Tracking also utilizes the barcode scanning feature. The scanner plugs into your computer via its USB cable, requires no maintenance, and the software is built into the device! This is our kind of Plug and Play.

If your eyes and hands are weary of entering data, if you need to bring documents into an account, or if you aim to provide more focused customer service when folks come in the door, you might want to ask us about these labor-saving devices.

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