PhotoBrian Janezic: The new system improves quality control.Credit Chris Richards for The New York Times
What small-business owners think.
We’ve just published an article about how more small businesses are finding ways to make use of big data. One example is Brian Janezic, 27, who owns two Auto Wash Express self-service locations in Tucson. Mr Janezic said he was standing in one of his locations when he realized, “We have machines that automatically size and wash a car, mix chemicals, activate pumps, turn on lights — and here I am still counting inventory by hand.”
An online search introduced Mr. Janezic to FileMaker Pro, a software product well suited to small businesses and tailored to the iPads that he envisioned for himself and his three remote employees. “Now we can pull up any of our sites and see what’s on hand,” he said, adding that the FileMaker software “creates a PDF of a purchase order for us to send to one of our local suppliers or an online supplier.”
Mr. Janezic also installed sensors linked to FileMaker on each location’s eight drums of carwash chemicals — windshield bug removal solutions, pre-wash chemicals for tires, waxes, glass cleaners — to monitor their use. The new system improves quality control, he said, and it can also send a text message or email alert should, say, a valve stick open, potentially draining a $250 drum of soap.
Please read the article to see other examples — and then tell us what you have done with your business.
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