Cell phones, mobiles are changing society

Armen Hareyan's picture

Mobile hand held devices including iPhones, Smart Phones, PDAs and other rugged mobile devices are changing not only the way we interact with each other, but also the way businesses operate. Recently I spoke to a supplier of coffee and espresso related machines and supplies who wanted to replace all of their paper documents that their route drivers were using daily with mobile software applications on hand held devices.

One of their primary aims was to reduce costs in the form of reduced data entry, reduced typing errors, reduced bad handwriting errors, reduced incomplete forms, reduced fuel consumption and reduced administrative time on the phone with the route drivers correcting paper work.

The Coffee Product Supplier had mobile software applications developed that included service tickets, proof-of-delivery, mobile sales orders and mobile inventory applications with integrated GPS to automatically provide location information. They also integrated barcode support to enable the inventory on-board the delivery truck to be scanned and monitored.

This company used the GPS features to provide visibility to the location of each driver, and where they were along the route so they could better report and coordinate delivery times. In addition, if one driver was low on inventory, the main office could coordinate a meeting between the delivery truck and another delivery truck with excess inventory. This replenished delivery truck could then make more sales and keep existing customers happy.

In the past, coordinating mobile replenishment was a very time consuming and expensive process that kept all parties on the phone for significant amounts of time each day coordinating meeting points. This of course was expensive, but also involved safety risks and potential liabilities when drivers were talking on the phone, looking at maps and trying to navigate traffic.

The mobile hand held devices that were chosen included wireless phone service, barcode scanners, GPS, wireless data connectivity and custom mobile software applications that would synchronize and update with software applications in the office. The mobile hand held devices were ruggedized to survive in an industrial working environment.

Converting from a paper based system, to a mobile software application system significantly changed the way this business operated. It is reported that up to 40% of the workforce is mobile. Mobile applications today are impacting the way each of us communication and also how businesses are being operated beyond the 4 walls of the office.

Written by Kevin R Benedict

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