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Handhelds can offer compelling returns Ontario. The wireless device ena- number is fed live into the manufac- When every sales call to every legitimate prospect results in a sale, you've either got bles them to keep track of store turer's information system. dangerous powers of persuasion or an excellent business case. Rick Kingston, inventory for each individual prod- Beyond ensuring the accura- uct. Via their wireless device, sales cy and completion of logging part president of MDKS Solutions Group Inc. in Waterloo, Ont., claims he has such a track reps key in critical data and mon- numbers, the handheld can be used record for handheld solutions. He credits the business case. itor items such as the quantity of to ensure compliance with quality product available in each store. control procedures, prompting BY SUSAN MACLEAN The CyberCat application also tasks to be completed and record- provides a three-month history ing who did what and when. When used for remote sales of product inventory on the Palm "They are updating the status force orders processing, Tungsten W screen so sales reps of the spa as it is being manu- handhelds offer an attractive can see the history of the product factured." Kingston says. "With- ROI. Biscuits Leclerc Ltd., a flow charts from any store loca- out anyone doing any work other Quebec-based cookie and other tion to check, for example, inven- than just scanning and checking snack foods manufacturer, is a tory status and which product sells the boxes for what they've done. case in point. The four-generation, the fastest. Users can track where they've updated the status of the family-owned company that began an order was sent and when its order throughout the system." baking and selling cookies in the receipt was acknowledged. Items Sunrise also uses the Sym- family kitchen in Quebec City in such as store manager birth- bol scanner for picking and pack- 1905 today operates five days, delivery limes for individual ing in the warehouse which helps production facilities in Quebec, stores, to-do lists that used to be ensure the right items are packed Ontario and the U.S. It employs written on Post-It notes are now and keeps the order status current more than 450 people and sells stored on the wireless device. and accurate. worldwide through stores some Biscuits Leclerc claims its or- Kingston speculates that the 30 to 50 different Biscuits der processing has been optimized initial cost of purchasing wire- Leclerc products ranging from with turnaround time from order less access points and hardware granola bars and cookies to status to delivery now less than is only part of what stops more cereals and crackers. 24 hours — a 25 per cent improve- people from using wireless tech- Initially, sales representatives ment — and order processing nology. It can be a hefty hit to get were assigned to a number of errors reduced by an estimated the software for wireless ware- stores to check on inventory and Food manufacturer Biscuits Leclerc's sales force uses wireless devices 80 per cent. house picking and packing appli- process orders when product was to ensure adequate store inventory for each individual product. MDKS Solutions Group presi- cations, for example. Plus, that running low. ensuring that grocery dent Rick Kingston also finds that software may not integrate with a store shelves were always stocked customers using Palm Pilot for re- firm's existing accounting system, with Biscuits Leclerc products. As consuming and frequently inaccu- engine for data sharing between mote sales forces enjoy an excel- he suggests. MDKS supplies Infini- the company grew, it became rate. Biscuits Leclerc searched for a Web server and a multitude of lent ROI. "They spend $7.000 to ty software that includes the wire- more difficult to keep track of or- an affordable solution that would Palm PDAs. After a one-month tri- $10,000 and eliminate at least one less warehouse module and costs ders and deliver product in a timely allow orders to be transmitted al, Biscuits Leclerc ordered a unit full-time order entry person — on about $50,000. manner. Until recently, sales reps reliably, quickly and accurately. each for its 30 sales representa- day one," he says. And then there’s security. "The used an outdated method for or- After testing different mobile de- tives servicing hundreds of stores MDKS mobile customers range demand for greater levels of der processing that entailed hours vices, they chose to work with Cy- across Quebec and eastern On- from flower wholesalers wielding mobile security will only writing orders on paper with the berCat. an application developer tario. These reps now remotely Palm Pilots to manufacturers track- increase as enterprises come to grocery manager, keying in data, in Quebec City, to develop a wire- access the company's data and ing component serial numbers with better understand the utility of and then relaying the information less solution. place orders instantly to Biscuits Symbol Technologies' handheld de- mobile handheld devices and the by phone to the warehouse. CyberCat developed an appli- Leclerc's systems for quick and ac- vices. Among the latter is Sunrise returns that come from putting Francois Levac. vice-president cation on the Palm Tungsten W. a curate order processing. Whirlpool Spas in Grimsby. Ont.. the freshest data into the hands of information technology, recalls wireless device with GPRS connec- According to Levac, on any where assemblers use Symbol of those in the field who can do that data had to be manually en- tivity, supported by Rogers AT&T given week, more than 25.000 Technologies' PPT2846 colour the most with it," notes Kevin tered twice, which was very time Wireless networks. Cybercat's Giz- cases of products need to be de- handheld devices to scan the seri- Burden, IDG research manager, moLink provides a synchronization livered across Quebec and eastern al number of every part. That part Mobile Devices.
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