A mobile sales automation system which petfood and accessories supplier Masterpet has had running since February is on track for an expected return on its investment within 12 to 18 months, says IT manager Monib Moayyed.
The system, which is based on iPaq PDAs communicating with central databases through Telecom's CDMA network, is used by 15 sales representatives dealing with supermarkets.
"Like any project, it has had some issues," says Moayyed, particularly with reliability of the CDMA network, which sometimes dropped the connection part-way through a transaction. "But that problem seems to have been cleared up for the past 30 to 40 days, fingers crossed. There were also some issues [likewise now solved] with the software."
The ROI calculation is based on tangible savings such as reduced time for data entry and fewer returns of merchandise arising from inaccuracy. There is also objective evidence that "we have happier customers", he says.
Masterpet also sells to veterinarians. Masterpet recently received an award as best supplier from a body representing supermarkets, he says, though he cannot recall the details. "I’m sure the technology had a lot to do with that."