O2 cuts paper from SME order delivery services

24 May 2004

O2 has launched a new PDA-based mobile service that removes paper from the lives of sales people and order delivery workers. Using the service, salespeople can process sales orders and delivery people can have deliveries digitally confirmed by having consignments signed for on the PDA-screen or by scanning in a barcode.

Entitled O2 Instant, the company describes it as the first ‘off-the-shelf’ paperless solution of its kind in Europe that allows businesses to significantly cut costs. Sales and delivery representatives can capture signatures and sales orders via their handheld device without the need for paper. The information is transferred back over the O2 network directly to the businesses back office system. Users of the service have the choice between the O2 XDA II or a Panasonic handheld PDA.

O2 Instant users are supplied with training materials from O2, which provide information on quick installation, e-learning and O2 Instant support. Customers will be charged per transaction from August 1st 2004, facilitating budget forecasting and providing clear operational costs. All transactions made before August 1st are free of charge. According to Liz Caughey, partner programme manager of business solutions at O2, companies can purchase a volume of transactions. “100 transactions would cost 55 cents per message while 250 transactions would cost 32 cents per transaction,” Caughey explained.

According to Orlagh Nevin, head of data solutions at O2, the service has the potential to change how business operate, from viewing current stock levels to completing deliveries and monitoring driver performance. “Feedback from customers state that this product can considerably reduce costs when implemented. The solution can be installed very quickly and supports the majority of standard accounts packages such as Sage. Each member of the mobile workforce is supplied with a PDA device that can record real-time transactions, which can also be seen by the team back in the office. It is much more cost-effective as customers can understand the set fee cost more clearly,” she said.

The solution has been trialled amongst a number of SMEs, including Green Tiger Express, a haulage firm that delivers cars throughout Ireland. Jerry Kiersey, managing director of Green Tiger Express, commented: “I used to be a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to technology but this product is so simple to use that myself and the drivers have easily adapted to it. We now have a real paperless office and as we need to move 70,000 vehicles every year, this obviously reduces our costs and production time significantly.

“The time and energy that used to be spent sorting out a jumbled pile of paperwork and distinguishing signatures is now obsolete. Even though most of our drivers work remotely, we can tell the dealer instantly where the car is at a particular time and establish exactly when each vehicle was delivered; thus cutting out customer frustration and increasing transparency,” Kiersey commented.

By John Kennedy