Coca-Cola, Georgia-Pacific, City of San Jose, UPS Talk Mobility

By Lori Castle, Editor in Chief — November 11, 2013

This time last week, a group of top mobility leaders gathered in Dallas, TX for the Mobile Enterprise Executive Summit. Coca-Cola, Georgia-Pacific, City of San Jose and UPS were a few of the companies on the agenda.

Neil Garner, Director, Mobile Technology Solutions for Coca-Cola Refreshments kicked off the event, and explained the breadth of mobility in the organization.
There are 65,000 employees in the North America Group, of which, a large percentage are mobile.  

There are also 742 facilities in the system distribution network, not to mention all the machines in the company’s network that have to talk to each other.

Coca-Cola focuses on its core business of “making, selling and delivering beverages.” Thus each mobile solution’s goal is to meet a business need. This means understanding the needs first.

“Start with the facts. What are you trying to do? Then build around that,” Garner said. This strategy extends out to where Garner cautioned — don’t bring in new technology just because it’s new.

This philosophy was shared by Georgia-Pacific’s CTO Gary Hill and Shawn Kennedy (aka Mobile Shawn), the company’s first enterprise mobile architect. Even though the Georgia-Pacific’s mobile footprint includes 6,000 laptops, 8,000 smartphones and 800 tablets, when it comes to devices, Hill said that’s discussed during the latter steps in the strategy process.

Georgia-Pacific creates a “path to mobile value” through a use case, then it moves on to software and then hardware. The commitment to this path is supported by Kennedy, as one dedicated to all things mobile and an internal mobile advisory board made up of stakeholders from across the business.

What’s also quite critical to strategic mobility at Georgia-Pacific is the mindset of “experimentation.” It’s kind of like science class where there was disciplined testing of a hypothesis. In this case, the approach (and overall mindset) helps speed up learning, and though it can involve trialing, the controlled environment manages risk while enabling creativity.

Ultimately, said Hill, "Mobile value is about impacting the bottom line."

Don’t Speed In San José While Eating Tofu
Along with bragging rights as the "Capital of Silicon Valley," come high expectations for the  City of San José. The result of one recent project to enable connection downtown, for not just citizens but the myriad of convention goers and executives and employees from some of the biggest tech companies in the world, is what CIO Vijay Sammeta dubbed "wicked fast Wi-Fi."

He also warned that even though technology should be speedy, drivers in the City should not be — as he referenced a "highly-sophisticated" traffic system backed by technology.

Certainly many who have had encounters with government agencies experience nothing that resembles fast, but Sammeta definitely works outside the box to enable the city and the community. In fact, it’s so outside, as to be what he calls “forced innovation” having no capital expense budget at all for technology.

Mobile goals for the City can be summed up as: driving economic development through mobile apps; connecting the field worker and citizen relationship management. And he strongly believes that building out networks is key to the future success.

Delivering Mobility
On the opposite end of the mobile spectrum is UPS which invests about one billion dollars in technology annually. Juan Perez, UPS Vice President, Information Services, caused some jaws to drop as he reviewed not just this number, but the staggering numbers that technology – mainly mobile – supports in his organization.

That includes 397,000+ employees, 96,394 package cars, vans, tractors and motorcycles; plus 230 owned and 332 chartered airplanes. Theoretically, the company has delivered a package to every single address in North America.

At its core, IT at UPS consistently delivers value for both internal and external customers, through improved business processes and innovation born from technology.

The company revolutionized its business in 1990 when it developed and deployed the first Delivery Acquisition Information Device, known as the DIAD, allowing drivers to use mobile technology to track signatures.  By the end of 2014, the fifth generation rugged solution will be utilized by more than 100,000.

Perez  has been with the company for 24 years, and part of his training was working as a driver. If he hadn’t told the story, it would have been hard to imagine the days before mobile technology when a driver had to create his own route and find the right package somewhere in the truck.

Now, UPS utilizes a wearable wireless ring scanner to facilitate proper loading and transfer of data, helping to prevent errors, reducing the training cycle and feeding the 39.5 million daily tracking requests on In addition, for example, just shaving off one mile per truck per day can result in a fuel savings of $50 million per year.

Perez also pointed out that, like never before, mobile technology is allowing a 1 to 1 connection with the consumer.  The UPS My Choice program is up to five million members, and  offers free delivery status via email, text or phone the day before. Customers can actually adjust the timing and location of deliveries and provide special instructions on where to leave the package.

The Mobile Enterprise Executive Summit will take place next year from Nov. 7-9 at the Ritz-Carlton in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Related Content
The CIO Shift in Business
Winning Mobility
Working Anywhere With Wicked Fast Wi-Fi


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