Mobile Expertise Wins VAR 1,500-Unit Sale
Because of its experience and success deploying mobile solutions, $88
million Stratix Corp. is deploying a 1,500-unit route delivery project.
Technology advancements are always beneficial to VARs and integrators — if the new technology works better and/or faster, it’s a benefit to your customers. But do you view technology advancements as opportunities to increase sales? $88 million VAR Stratix Corp. does. Stratix focuses on AIDC (automatic identification and data collection) and mobility solutions. Its revenue in the field service/route delivery market has doubled in the past two years, and Stratix largely attributes that growth to the integrated WWAN (wireless WAN) cards in mobile devices. “Before the cards were integrated, we’d have to install a mobile ‘gateway’ for wireless data networks in vehicles for field workers to send and receive real-time information,” says Paul Shiman, senior director of sales operations for Stratix. “It was a complex and expensive solution, so only large companies could justify developing a mobile solution for their delivery or service fleets. Now, with integrated wireless data cards, the solutions not only cost less but there are fewer components required. This enables more companies to justify the expense of a mobile device.” One such company is G&K Services, the third-largest uniform rental provider in the country.
G&K’s 1,500 field employees visit more than 160,000 customer locations each week to deliver freshly laundered uniforms and other service items like mats, mops, and hand towels. Soiled items are then picked up and returned to a local G&K laundry facility for processing. The drivers were servicing customers using multipart paper invoices that included handwritten notes, leaving a copy with the customer. G&K decided to replace this manual process with an automated, real-time mobile computing and printing solution. G&K evaluated several vendors and eventually contracted with Symbol Technologies and O’Neil Product Development. Symbol would provide the handheld devices, O’Neil the printers; a third party software vendor built the custom application.
One of the biggest challenges for end user companies implementing mobile solutions is the deployment. Most solutions include several components (e.g. software, hardware, wireless network) that need to be set up. The setup involves downloading software, turning on and testing wireless radios, charging mobile devices, and installing security programs, as well as distributing the solution to the employees in the field. As they moved forward with the project, G&K and Symbol turned to Stratix to handle the staging, integration, and deployment of the project components. Symbol and O’Neil worked on mobile solution deployments with Stratix in the past and were familiar with the integrators’ expertise in these areas. “We’ve created a repeatable process for rolling out a complex project, especially to first-time users of mobile handheld technology,” says Al Rivet, central sales manager for Stratix.
Make Solution Staging, Deployment Your Value-Add
The solution Stratix is deploying includes Symbol MC9062 handheld computers and battery chargers, O’Neil MF4T Bluetooth mobile printers, custom-developed mobile software, Agora holsters, and SanDisk removable storage cards. Stratix receives all of these components (1,500 of each) and is building individual kits containing an entire solution (i.e. one of each product). Stratix downloads G&K’s customized software onto each Symbol device. The integrator charges all of the batteries, ensures the handhelds fit into their holsters, activates the mobile printers, and verifies that the Bluetooth connection between the printer and the handheld functions correctly. Stratix has also worked with G&K to develop a comprehensive start-up manual for the solution, which is included in all of the deployment kits.
Top-Tier Mobile Deployment Leads To Other Tier-One Projects
Stratix’ entire G&K project includes the solution components, rollout, break-fix maintenance, and product life cycle management. And Stratix didn’t stop there. Its success with this large deployment has exposed the integrator to several other tier-one mobile projects.