Ridgid, a manufacturer of plumbing and woodworking tools, has added computers to the mix. The company has partnered with Dell to offer four laptops designed to survive the job-site environment and preconfigured with customized software access to Ridgid informational resources and diagnostic tools.
"The need to process and share information on the job site is becoming increasingly important to many of our loyal customers who are contractors and service professionals," says Fred Pond, president of Ridgid, in a news release. "Working with Dell's OEM division, we can now make a laptop recommendation based on the needs of a particular end user and these laptops can be linked with our diagnostic tools, like the Ridgid SeeSnake LT1000 laptop interface and online business tool Ridgid Connect."
"As we were putting together this solution, we basically formed a partnership with Dell," Sarah Golish, director of inspection systems and networks at Ridgid, tells Woodshop News. "We have all of our software preloaded and ready to go out of the box. Automatically, customers have a digital solution at their fingertips."
The SeeSnake is a camera inspection device, most often used by plumbers. Ridgid Connect has value for contractors and remodelers, offering templates for reports; the ability to upload contracts from a CSV file created by programs such as Microsoft Outlook, as well as pictures and video; scheduling features; and access to most mobile devices.
"Any time you want to show or prove you did the work and you want to communicate it with someone, Ridgid Connect helps you create and present a very professional report," says Golish. "You also have the ability to store all of your customer names, keep detailed records associated with a customer, send out an e-mail link to the customer to view the report, get and send messages to that customer and communicate with your employees.
"You're not going to lose your data, everything is all backed up."
Ridgid Connect is a subscription service, starting at $50 per month.
Four Dell Latitude laptops are offered, with varying resistance to job-site conditions such as rain, dust, extreme temperatures and accidental drops up to four feet. There's the "military-grade" E6400 XFR, 12" tablet XT2 XFR, E6410 ATG and E6410.
Ridgid's plan is to offer more computer-based products and online services in the near future. But the first step is getting laptops in use by its customers.
"We're trying to keep ourselves on the edge of technology. We want to offer our customers a full range of products," says Golish. "The whole purpose is to make our customers more efficient and more comfortable with using laptops out in the field. We're trying to provide all the pieces to make using today's technology as easy of a transition as possible."
This article originally appeared in the December 2010 issue.