April 9, 2005 in Business

Spokane software firm is back on track

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Like most technology companies, Spokane-based Maplewood Software had to bite the bullet during the tech meltdown of 2002 and 2003.

Since then, the rebound in the economy has been nicely matched by Maplewood’s own recovery. The company expects to post record revenues this year, thanks to sales of its highly successful scheduling software to hospitals.

That hot product is Maplewood Software’s Schedule Rx, a Web-based tool that lets administrators manage complex staff scheduling assignments.

Maplewood’s previous high point was in 2001, when it had some development contracts with Redmond-based Microsoft. At one time it had 10 full-time workers.

It shrank to three workers in the downturn. Today it’s grown to 12 and sees steady growth ahead, said Nancy Janzen, co-owner and vice president of sales and marketing.

Her husband, co-owner John Janzen said the downturn forced Maplewood to become better focused.

“We adjusted a lot of our processes so we could provide a better service as well as reduce costs,” he said. “We learned to survive on the income we were getting,” he said.

Janzen said the company hopes to hit the $500,000 mark in revenue this year.

About half of that would come from sales of Schedule Rx, the rest from contracts to develop customized Web-based products for other companies, said Nancy Janzen.

Like many software development firms clinging to a life raft during the recession, Maplewood did a self-assessment. “We realized we had to do more than be consultants, making software for customers. We had to have products of our own to sell,” said Nancy Janzen.

Back in 2002 Maplewood developed the first version of Schedule Rx for The Onion, a Spokane restaurant. The eatery needed a handy, Web-based tool to coordinate conflicting schedules for its dozens of part-time workers.

After proving to be a big success, Maplewood was asked to create a version suited for hospitals and clinic administrators.

Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane bought Schedule Rx to manage schedules for 110 pharmacy workers. Other hospitals that are part of the Providence Medical Services group also ordered it.

In the past two years the Janzens have sold Schedule Rx to hospitals and clinics across the Western United States and Hawaii.

The largest Schedule Rx customer is Kaiser Permanente, the vast, California-based health services provider. It has six sites in Oregon and California using the Maplewood Software scheduling tool.

With more sales on the horizon, Maplewood plans to have three sales staff hired by the end of the month. By the end of this year, the company plans to expand their Schedule Rx sales across the East, Nancy Janzen said.

Cautious by nature, John Janzen avoids promising a steady stream of record years for the Spokane company.

“We’re still an early stage company. But we’ve got several very promising products, and we are generating sales … By the end of the year, our revenue should be up significantly from the start of this year.”

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