Mobile Computing is all about taking technology out of the back office and giving it to staff at the point of activity. Whether it is supporting a field salesperson to maximise sales success and expidite order dispatches, allowing a delivery driver to optimize routes or moving stock in a warehouse, the technology now exists to allow these critical functions to operate independently of the company’s computer system, yet automatically update these systems without any need for re-keying data.
ICS has extensive experience and expertise in mobile computing technologies, having implemented successful mobile solutions for sales, service, delivery and warehouse applications for a range of blue chip clients. A complete ‘Turnkey’ service is offered including hardware sourcing and installation, software design and implementation, training ad full after sales support covering both hardware and software.
It is this all embracing approach, together with our commitment to excellence of service and the use of leading edge technology that has made ICS unique amongst the country’s mobile computing suppliers.
Field Sales Force Automation
The ICS Field Sales Force Automation System is a powerful point-of-sale activity system designed to achieve increased sales, accuracy of information and efficiency among Field Sales Representatives. Designed on the basis of highly visible and easy-to-use forms, the system provides buying pattern analysis, sales history and up-to-date pricing day-by-day, allowing for all the customer and product promotions and special prices in force at any time.
As orders are made out for each customer, the system prompts the salesperson with details of previously purchased products, together with sales patterns, previous order quantities and historic and current pricing. Such intuitive use ensures that regular products are maximized and allows the salesperson to focus their efforts on the introduction of new and promotional lines.
At the end of the day, or as often as required, all orders taken are transmitted back to head office, where they are automatically processed by the sales order processing system based on the ordered products, quantities and prices, without the need for re-keying. Such automation not only reduces administrative overheads, but also guarantees that the products supplied are exactly the ones ordered, and that the appropriate promotions are actioned. During this process the central system transmits to the mobile device any necessary customer, product, price and historic information for the following day’s schedule. E-mail and other messages may also be synchronised simultaneously.
Many organizations have a need to manage field operatives or engineers remotely. This will include such activities as scheduling and prioritizing calls on a real-time basis, passing relevant call details to the operative/engineer and recording call details on site. This could also involve printing a call report or receipt on site.
The ICS Field Service System is a flexible mobile system based on a series of standard components. These components include facilities for managing and allocating/reallocating calls, sending call particulars to the engineers, including directions and details of previous calls, capturing details of completed calls and verifying the data captured locally. The system also provides facilities for printing tickets, receipts, reports and transmission of completed call information back to the central system.
In-Cab Computing for Sales Distribution
Utilizing the power of Windows-based Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) devices and portable infrared printers, the ICS In-Cab System brings a different dimension to the roles of product deliveries and sales from distribution vehicles.
The In-cab system permits the capture of actual on-shelf sales, thus allowing trend analysis and replenishment prediction. Such accurate forecasting ensures that an optimum stock balance is achieved, thus avoiding both stock-outs and wastage. The system also automates in-cab paperwork, thus eliminating laborious written dockets. Acceptance of an on-screen signature, a key feature of the system, is provided as proof of delivery. This can then be printed on a signed delivery docket and an electronic copy transmitted back to the central system for automatic filing.
Such automation at the point of activity removes the need for the keying of orders and amendments to orders in the administration office. Further automation is provided when the central system passes down pricing and promotional information to the mobile device and in return receives details of cash, credit sales and payments received.
The In-cab system gives significant financial and operational benefits, whilst at the same time making the sales job easier and more satisfying by eliminating tedious paperwork, calculations and stock reconciliation for the salesperson.
Remote Data Capture
Many organizations have a need to collect significant data at the ‘Front Line for later input to central business systems. The data may either be completion of a form, box ticking or free text recording.
The ICS Remote Data Capture System is a flexible mobile system based on a standard framework, thus allowing tailoring to an organization’s unique requirements. Localized validation against user tables is incorporated into the remote application and the data captured can be uploaded to a central database at a time of the users choice.
Routing, Directions and Vehicle Tracking
A key feature of the ICS In-cab System is the ability to download delivery and routing sequences from the central system. In addition to using this powerful facility for displaying next call details, the features of PDA devices can also be harnessed to provide much more sophisticated capabilities. Such capabilities can include linking the mobile device to GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) services to provide directions from the current vehicle position to the location of the next call. This ensures minimum time delay and mileage between calls providing both direct and indirect cost savings as well as customer and driver satisfaction.
Furthermore, services are available that take advantage of the GPS system to allow central management to be able to see where every vehicle is at any time. This provides the ability to organise emergency re-routing, delivery time prediction and, not least, to identify any variation from expected working practices and patterns.
Warehousing & Stock Control
One of the most popular and cost-effective applications of mobile technology is the control of stock in the warehouse. This traditional accounting task has a track record of being both labour and paper-intensive as well as error-prone, with the consequential impact on customer satisfaction and overstocking.
The ICS Warehouse Module is based on radio frequency technology and is used in conjunction with bar-code scanning devices. Amongst the system’s many benefits are 100% accuracy of product identification and real-time update of central systems, without costly and error-prone re-keying. Applications include order picking, goods received confirmation, stock counting and warehouse operational movements tracking.
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