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With more than half of its 74,000 employees mobile, Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) is looking to make a transformational change in how its business is done. The company manufactures, distributes, merchandises and markets a range of beverage brands, including Coca-Cola products. Its field workforce encompasses sales crews; delivery drivers; and merchandisers who deliver, set up and maintain in-store displays. The company operates 400 sales centers in North America plus facilities in Great Britain, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and The Netherlands.
CCE recognized the need to move its direct-store-delivery (DSD) business from a custom, home-grown and batch-oriented application that relied on WiFi into an end-to-end platform that facilitates a real-time, event-driven value chain. The company turned to a hosted development platform from Antenna Software that enables it to build out and scale a variety of mobile applications on a single platform, explains Kevin Flowers, Director of Enabling Technologies for CCE, who refers to the company's employees as "resources."
"Our resources are doing development on the cloud at Antenna," says Flowers. "That gave us the ability to jump start everything. We knew this was the right strategy to transform to a real-time, event driven value chain. [With] the ability of [Antenna] to host this platform for us, we were able to sign a deal and start development literally the next week."
The 11,000-member merchandising group is first to go live with the new app. Under the old system, merchandisers receive paper-based job orders and communicate with dispatchers via payphones and company-owned 800-numbers. Merchandisers began piloting the new solution in December 2008; by mid-February 2009, 80 were live in the field. Flowers says his goal is to deploy all 11,000 workers in the group by year's end. The application runs on the BlackBerry Curve 2 in Otter Box cases. AT&T is CCE's strategic wireless provider. However, due to the scope of operations, CCE is going through an RFP process with other providers as well.
"We anticipate substantial savings in excess of $1 million through the elimination of our 800-number," says Flowers. That savings alone covers the cost of the platform and rollout of the merchandising group application, he says.
The merchandising group is just the tip of the iceberg. "Coca-Cola Enterprises is now in a position where that same timekeeping functionality that was built out for merchandisers can be deployed to other mobile applications as needed for a whole different user group," says Flowers. "CCE is focused on reducing development time significantly. The next mobile application will be much more rapid in development, and that is really where we need to be."