Cheesemaker changes

Issues of technical reliability and vendor consistency were behind Kapiti Cheeses moving its mobile order processing from Telecom to TelstraClear and Vodafone.

Issues of technical reliability and vendor consistency were behind Kapiti Cheeses moving its mobile order processing from Telecom to TelstraClear and Vodafone.

Kapiti has had good experience with the business aspects of its two-and-a-half-year implementation of mobile order processing, but has had “a few issues in reliability” with Telecom’s CDPD service, says financial controller Alan Bird, and is now in the process of switching to GPRS from TelstraClear and Vodafone.

The CDPD link allowed sales staff to use Palm Pilots in the field to take orders. Benefits are palpable in the shape of increased accuracy and “reduced handling”, since orders no longer have to be rekeyed or taken over the phone, says Bird.

In some cases it has meant Kapiti representatives spending less time in each store and hence increasing their productivity, he says. The order history of the particular customer and product can be called up on the Palm Pilot.

The company, based north of Wellington, did look cursorily at Telecom’s CDMA offering, but the switch to the opposition was very much a question of falling into line; Kapiti transferred its main telephone traffic to TelstraSaturn about 18 months ago and the wireless network was the last service still supplied by Telecom.

The CDPD problems concerned “black spots” in coverage and some difficulties in the interface with the Palm Pilots.

The change to GPRS is still in progress, so no clear idea of its performance can be given at present. But the company does not intend to change the applications, says Bird, so the same business benefits will still apply.

The company has not done a formal return-on-investment evaluation, and does not intend to do one, Bird says. “We’re satisfied with our informal measurements.”

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