'Milkies' set for paperwork Holliday

New Zealand's 'milkies' say their lives are much easier thanks to a hand-held device made by a Christchurch company.

New Zealand’s “milkies" say their lives are much easier thanks to a hand-held device made by a Christchurch company.

The Holliday Group developed MilkVend, which runs on Palm OS PDAs, for Mainland Dairies last year; now it has been launched across Australia and New Zealand.

MilkVend manages the daily delivery of dairy products while milkies are on their rounds. It integrates with the EasyVend back-office accounts and run management system developed in Australia. Milk deliverers can check stock delivered for each customer using PDA’s infrared connection to a mobile printer and print out payment receipts in front of customers. Back at the office, all the data collected is "hot-synched" with the office computer and is integrated with EasyVend within seconds.

Kiwi milk delivery people who tested the product say it has reduced paperwork.

Bruce Hunt of Dannevirke says the system is simpler than an Psion-based one he had been using. He and his wife Lynn Hunt used to spend hours doing paperwork witht potential for mistakes which the new system eliminates.

“It has already paid for itself a hundred times over. It saves me about 10 hours a week at least, as I no longer have to write out dockets and invoices,” says Lynne Hunt.

Steven Tinnion of Wanganui says the system is easy-to-use, which is good for non-computer users like him.

“The paperwork was killing us. This way everything is done on the truck. The hand-held has helped us grow the business," he says.

Aimee Nicolle of Christchurch says it used to take her six hours a month to do accounts, but the system has freed up time which has enabled her to enlarge her round.

Holliday Group product manager Simon Gatward says many Australian companies have shown interest in the hand-helds, with one looking to buy 100. He expects total sales this year topping $250,000, equivalent to 250 hand-helds.

In New Zealand, just over 20 have been sold to date, but a recent Mainland farmers conference showed a “helluva lot of interest”. Milk vendors had been waiting for a new release of the EasyVend software, but now it was out, Gatward expected New Zealand milk delivery crews to buy “several hundred” more in the coming year.

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