and his brother-in-law, Earle Archer, of Ray Plumbing and
Heating in Ellsworth are addressing that problem. Thanks to
Ray's foresight, the job of keeping track of 400 portable
restrooms is becoming easier as it becomes computerized. The
benefits are obvious for Ray's organization and for his
explained his solution last Friday, Ray grasped a small,
handheld personal data organizer.
one of these", Ray said, "and was looking at it when I
discovered it could be used as a bar scanner."
scanners are commonplace, these days. Found wherever larger
companies sell anything from groceries to car parts, they
electronically scan a sticker that is coded with different size
bars, telling a central computer what the item is and how much
bar scanning seemed unattainable until only recently. "We looked
at bar scanning units and they all sold for around $1,500," Ray
said. Then, there was the added expense of programming the
scanner so that it would store information on how many portable
toilets Ray had in stock, how many were being rented, where they
were and what servicing was needed on each one.
lot of paperwork to keep track of without a computer. Servicemen
in the field, armed with pen and paper, often write illegibly.
But with a clean sweep of the palm-sized organizer equipped with
a small scanning unit, the information is stored instantly in a
form that is easy to use back at the office.
bar scanning into use at Ray Plumbing and Heating was not the
only benefit to finding the small scanner units, Ray said. DAT
Associates of Mertztown, Pa., provided the expertise in
developing a program called ScanMan Pottie-Scan, by which Ray
could use his personal data assistant units to keep track of the
was a one-of-a-kind program and one in which Ray has maintained
part-ownership. That means he and developer Al Fortuner,
president of DAT Associates, can sell the program to other
in charge of the company's 400 well-managed potty units, which
constitute a story all by themselves. There are 18 "upscale"
units that are used for weddings or other outdoor entertainment
where restrooms just aren't available.
are the green units used by campgrounds either as primary or
backup facilities. And, finally, there is the common variety
found at construction sites where it is not possible to have
running water facilities.