Using Evernote To Manage A Repair Queue

Evernote is a powerful tool and can really be used for a lot of neat things. In fact, discovering different use cases for Evernote was what prompted me to build Learning to Love Evernote. Evernote is so powerful that potential uses often never cross people's minds. I've got a few friends who own and manage 16 pizza restaurants (a national chain). As they grew, they knew they needed to begin to automate aspects of their business and reached out to me to see if I had any ideas. I immediately thought of Evernote and its powerful 'e-mail into your notebooks feature'. This is especially powerful when the primary clients are iOS. The options were:

  1. Premium accounts with shared notebooks
  2. Evernote for Business

We chose the latter for a few reasons (even though it's more expensive at $120/year vs $45/year)

  1. Centralized Billing
  2. Ability to create notebooks and publish them to a central library that people can subscribe to
  3. Control over when a file can actually be deleted for good (this was the most important)

The work flow was pretty simple. When an issues arises, the store manager sends an email to the Evernote email address of one of the users (we just use the first person's Evernote email) and use this subject template: @Repair #Equipment Store Name Store Number. The @ symbol sends it to that notebook and the # applies that tag to the note. Inside the body of the email, they can list any information that will be helpful to the maintenance person as they resolve the issue. The maintenance staff is outfited with a full size iPad with a keyboard case. Since each store has WiFi, he can check the queue at any store along with checking from an iPhone with not on WiFi. After he repairs the item, he records what he repaired in the note and moves it to the appropriate notebook. Each store has its own notebook where completed tickets will be placed. Since each repair also contains a tag, the corporate office can track equipment repairs across the 16 stores simply by looking at each tag (#Stove, #HVAC, etc).

Overall, it's a great solution. It is inexpensive and requires no database servers to manage. The only people with actual access to the Evernote database are the maintenace staff and corporate office employees. The store managers only needed to be taught the subject template and where to send the email. There was no new account to keep track of or new software to learn. The only confusing aspect I found when setting it up was that business tags won't be applied to an incoming message unless there is already a note with those tags (manually applied) in the notebook. The solution was to create a 'Do Not Remove' note and apply all the tags to it ahead of time.Queue