Food Equipment Provider Optimizes Service Through Mobility

With the constant risk of drops and spills, not to mention the freezing temperatures of walk-in freezers and the heat of industrial-sized ovens, the food equipment service industry can be a harsh working environment. However, even in challenging conditions like these, technicians need constant access to information and electronic forms in order to provide high-quality service to customers.

Recently, Starr Equipment Company, deployed Panasonic rugged mobility solutions to its field service team and has already seen incredible success. Starr Equipment is a provider of premium food equipment in the retail food industry of Knoxville, Tennessee. They offer a complete equipment package for food retailers, as well as ongoing technical support and service.

With over 3,000 active customers and 14 technicians on the road at all times, Starr needed to replace its time-consuming paper-based system that often led to inaccurate records. After evaluating six different hardware offerings, Dennis Starr, General Manager of Starr Equipment, decided that the Panasonic Toughbook 19 convertible tablet PC was the ideal solution.

“The ability for us to render service rapidly when customers need us is important,” says Dennis Starr. “In addition, the ability for our service technicians to have access to information, meaning not only technical information but customer information, so that they can understand the service history on any particular piece of equipment, is how we improve efficiencies.”

The fully rugged Toughbook 19 goes above and beyond when it comes to ruggedized design which is ideal for Starr technicians, as their devices have been sprayed with dishwasher hoses, fallen off of large equipment and left in hot vehicles for hours at a time. These scenarios have proven to be a non-issue for the Toughbook 19 and Starr technicians have yet to report a device failure.


Beyond the need for rugged dependability, Starr Equipment wanted to ensure that technicians could stay organized, track service schedules and access customer data more quickly. In order to do so, Starr turned to Amtech, a software provider that develops service management systems. Amtech developed the SERVTRAC mobile field service software, which was tailor made for Starr’s business and deployed on the Toughbook devices. Starr also wanted to ensure that the work orders, receipts and repair records tracked by SERVTRAC were printable so they installed Brother Mobile Solutions PocketJet 6 mobile thermal printers in all Starr service vans.

“Our technicians are now in a position to have very rapid communication when it comes to accessing call scheduling information, parts ordering and more, and Panasonic’s partnership with Intel really helped us close that gap,” says Starr.

The Intel Core™ i5 vPro™ processors that power the Toughbook 19 enable Starr service technicians to access information quickly, while also ensuring that customer data remains completely secure.

With this solution in place, job completion time has been reduced by 15 percent because technicians no longer have to fill out paperwork, order parts by phone and communicate with a dispatcher. In addition, a tremendous amount of space has been freed in technicians’ service vans. After eliminating paper service manuals and client folders, the vans now have enough space for spare parts, meaning that technicians can complete calls on the first time out, rather than returning at a later time because they did not have the part with them. And with the ability to print work orders and other customer information on the spot rather than providing a handwritten form, the customer is left with a better looking and easier to read leave-behind document.

To read more about Starr Equipment’s success, you can read the full written case study here or check out the video below.