Dale Lee Distributing Company, Inc., an Anheuser-Busch (AB) wholesaler located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, knows the importance of ruggedness and versatility for selling and delivering beer.
The sales force needed to run AB Mobility software, which wasn't possible on their old handhelds. They also needed something that could withstand the rough conditions inherent in the beer business. What they needed was a rugged Tablet PC that would survive the harsh environment of the beer wholesaler industry.
MobileDemand offered a solution that saved Dale Lee both time and money.
The Customer Challenge
As a wholesaler with over 90 employees, serving 9 counties and selling over 3.5 million cases of beer annually, Dale Lee needed to find a way to combine AB Mobility software with a device that would go the distance. They needed a full screen mobile computer system to add strategic competitive advantage over the competition to be more efficient and to elevate their sales techniques.
They also needed a unit that could survive the harsh environment of the industry, with an extended battery life so that the sales force could maximize their time in the field. Finding a unit with an integrated numeric keypad would make the transition from the old devices to the new as easy as possible and lower the learning curve.
Haag knew that a wireless computing solution would be a valuable tool in enhancing productivity. In fact, he was already labeling cows with RFID tags for this very reason. However, the hand-held, palm tablets that he had tried in the past lacked the power and versatility he needed for a successful implementation. It also lacked the display size needed to provide adequate decision support information for his veterinary operations. Haag realized that he would need a mobile software program and a more powerful Tablet PC to succeed in a farm environment with all types of weather and environmental challenges.
The MobileDemand Solution
The MobileDemand xTablet Rugged Tablet PC offered the mobility, ease of use, extended battery life and tough exterior necessary to take Dale Lee to the highest level of efficiency and meet the stringent requirements of Anheuser-Busch. Dale Lee first implemented the xTablet solution in 2004 to replace a PDA application on the presales side and Norand 6220s on the pedal and delivery side.
The xTablet allows the wholesaler to run the AB Mobility software to automate its sales and delivery operations. The software allows the company to collect the appropriate data for AB and report sales and delivery information in an efficient way.
The salesmen also use the xTablet to track things like alcohol licenses and expiration dates, send messages to drivers and sales managers, send information to drivers on picking up credits or damaged items, and make sure that they take care of their customers.
"We're currently running our mobility selling software and we're also running some shelf set, plan-a-gram software, code date tracking, and we use power point files to display POS to our customers," said Jeff Sand, IT Systems and Analysis Manager for Dale Lee. "It allows us to make sales orders and collect inventory information - we collect market surveys to track things like PTC's and different displays.
"This information is essential to our business. It helps our management make better decisions about the strategy in our market," said Sand. "We anticipate the need for additional software to grow. It helps to have a full screen device like the xTablet to run any off-the-shelf software that we may need instead of something that's more customized for a smaller platform," said Sand.
"We chose the xTablet because of its durability, its battery life, and the integrated numeric keypad. I can't imagine the time wasted by our IT department if we were using a non-rugged device. I believe that if you buy the best, you only cry once. We use another hand-held device for our delivery people and it doesn't hold up nearly as well."
In addition to the benefits of the MobileDemand Rugged Tablet PC, Dale Lee's sales force is able to couple the xTablet with a cellular card, allowing it to transmit orders to the warehouse anytime they want. "A salesman usually makes about ten stops a day. We like them to send orders at least every three stops. Some of them send more frequently than that."
One of AB's initiatives is to direct the use of full screen devices to become more efficient and better able to sell beer. The xTablet has all the features that are necessary to make the process as efficient as possible, and still withstand the harsh environment of the sales route.
The efficiencies in Dale Lee's field sales force since implementing the xTablet have allowed them to add 60, or approximately 20% more SKUs without having to add sales and delivery personnel and equipment.
Today, Dale Lee has deployed the xTablet across its entire presales force. "We're able to gain productivity because our sales team does not need to come to the office in the morning or the evening unless there's some other reason," said Sand. "It allows us to spend more time with the customer in the market where the sales force need to be."
The MobileDemand xTablets provide Dale Lee with the ability to improve customer service, reduce errors, and improve profitability. The xTablet has an advantage over other types of computers or handheld equipment because it offers:
Over 200 beer wholesalers nationwide have implemented the xTablet in their sales and delivery. The integrated keypad on the xTablet enables quick number entry which is essential to efficiency.
- Lower total cost of ownership and significantly lower failure rates. This means fewer interruptions to operations and more time with the customer.
- Easy data entry of inventory, product codes and prices via the integrated keypad.
- Smooth operations and less down time with MobileDemand's superior customer service.
MobileDemand is doing its part in getting the beer where it needs to be--in the hands of customers and in the fridge!
For more information on MobileDemand's xTablet Rugged Tablet PC and its application, visit the MobileDemand website or call 1-877-784-4338.