Project Management and Leadership for an iPad-Based Route Sales Solution
Hawkins is a formulator, manufacturer, blender, distributor, and sales agent for thousands of industrial chemicals and reagent grade laboratory chemicals sold to municipalities and businesses throughout the Central United States. Thousands of water treatment facilities, manufacturers, food and dairy producers, research labs and many other organizations depend on Hawkins for the chemical products they need. The Hawkins’ Water Treatment Group relies on route sales drivers to create orders in the field based on the chemicals actually delivered to their customers. The route sales team was using a customdeveloped solution running on Intermec handheld scanners to create customer orders. They were also using the solution in their warehouses to scan and track a small percent of their reusable containers. The Intermec solution was costly to maintain, difficult to modify, and limited in functionality. Hawkins’ goal was to replace the Intermec solution with a more cost effective, flexible and real-time iPad based solution and to expand the use of the solution to include tracking and management of all of their reusable containers.
Hawkins selected the iPad with bluetooth scanner to replace their Intermec devices and utilized an iPad App from JD Edwards to connect real-time to their order and inventory systems. Flexpro Technology Solutions assisted Hawkins with the implementation by providing project management services as well as solution testing, training coordination and support. As project manager, Flexpro led a team of business experts, business analysts, and developers through an iterative development process that incorporated frequent feedback from route sales drivers as well as other key users. This interactive and iterative approach allowed the team to be flexible and modify the solution for improved ease-of-use and utility. Flexpro also provided testing, training coordination, and post go-live support services.
The project was divided into several phases with the first phase focused on replacing the existing Intermec solution and subsequent phases focused on expanding the solution. The result of the first phase was an on-time and on-budget rollout that met the objective of replacing the Intermec system and reducing total cost of ownership. In addition, the route sales drivers now have access to a much broader range of functionality on their iPads including full access to JD Edwards, email, Google Maps, and training documents. One unexpected benefit that the team identified during the project was the elimination of in-truck printers used to create customer order receipts. By emailing the receipts directly from the iPad the team was able to achieve significant additional savings in initial hardware costs as well as on-going support and maintenance costs.