Wholesaler works without wires for sales orders

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1 April 2005 | 0

Allegro, a Dublin-based subsidiary of Fyffes, wanted its sales personnel to be able to input orders directly into the company’s warehousing system, without the need for any further re-entering of order details. 

Before Wasp Technologies, a software house that specialises in wireless applications for handheld computers, was contracted to provide a better alternative, Allegro staff had to write orders by hand and fax them to head office, where the orders would then be manually input into the sales order processing system.

At first, the new wireless system will only be used by 15 salespeople, said Allegro’s information services manager Pat O’Doherty, but when the system goes online there will be 45 sales people using it. Each wireless worker is being issued with a Palm 500s handheld and a Nokia 6210 mobile phone fitted with a Bluetooth card. Users can send information to the sales order processing system — which resides on an AS/400 — provided that the handheld device is within a 10m range of the mobile phone. 

 

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Allegro is no stranger to palmtop devices, as some of its staff had already been using Husky’s rugged handheld units for other applications. Providing Husky systems to all 45 members of the Allegro sales team users was not considered to be an option however, as the rugged devices are considerably more expensive than standard Palm computers. 

To help users get used to their new Palm handhelds, the PDAs were issued to staff six weeks before rollout of the application. 

Eliminating the need to fax and re-input order details has improved dispatch times by up to 24 hours, said O’Doherty. In addition, Allegro’s sales personnel can use their Palm devices to access their customer and product list which is updated every time a new order is transmitted to head office. The system allows users to view detailed order histories and marketing information. The wireless application also has a messaging module.

WASP Technologies’ sales director Richard Baird called the deal a ‘significant development’ in the adoption of Bluetooth technology in the Irish corporate market. 

Previously, WASP’s mobile applications used infra-red connections or cables to connect mobile workers to their head offices.

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