Mobile Applications Case Study
Hi-Way Equipment Gains Greater Control of its Inventory and Mobile Devices (Cont'd)
The managers love our new mobile inventory process. They were able to complete the task in half the time, saving about five hours. And I now have an accurate inventory in one, searchable database.”
Jason Olenik, Director of IT and Operations, Hi-Way Equipment
About Hi-Way Equipment
Hi-Way Equipment Facts
Standardize and streamline business operations
Actsoft from AT&T for wireless forms; MobileIron Basic Connected Cloud from AT&T for monitoring smartphones and applications
Conducted annual inventory process in half the time; increased productivity; improved inventory management; improved control of mobile devices and applications; increased protection of company information
150 employees in eleven locations
Since 1948, Hi-Way Equipment Company has supplied customers with a wide range of new, used and rental equipment, plus parts and service from its Houston, Texas headquarters. From 11 facilities throughout Texas, approximately 150 employees help customers with their heavy equipment needs.
Manual processes along with “pen and paper” were predominantly used at Hi-Way Equipment. The company wanted to automate and standardize its business processes across all locations to better manage its inventory and growing number of smartphones.
With Actsoft® from AT&T, Hi-Way Equipment has automated its inventory management process with wireless forms for greater accuracy and speed. MobileIron Basic Connected Cloud from AT&T, a Mobile Device Management solution, gives the company more control in monitoring mobile devices and applications.
Freedom to Make Changes
The AT&T mobility specialist worked with me to understand our business then recommended Actsoft from AT&T and its wireless forms capability. It turned out to be a real solution for our company’s labor-intensive process of taking inventory.”
Jason Olenik, Director of IT and Operations, Hi-Way Equipment
With more than 20 brands in its new equipment portfolio, Hi-Way Equipment provides customers with the inventory benefits of a large enterprise coupled with the personalized service of a small company. For 64 years, the company has sold, rented and serviced heavy equipment of all types for construction, demolition, cleanup, and road building projects.
“We cover every angle and every corner of construction, whether roads, building, or site work,” said Jason Olenik, Director of IT and Operations. “One of the best things about working here is our extensive product line. We carry everything our customers need.”
As a former salesman, Olenik understands what it takes to be successful in this highly competitive market. “Our business model is like a car dealership’s,” explained Olenik. “My job is to make sure we have what our customers are asking for – to have the right mix of fleet. Being successful in this business means effectively managing inventory. It also means being the first to respond to customers with price quotes.”
Olenik has been with Hi-Way Equipment for only five years, but has already performed three different roles. He attributes this array of responsibilities to his willingness to learn and get things done. “Working in a smaller company, we have the freedom to make changes that make sense,” said Olenik. “If someone has a good idea, upper management listens.”
Inventory Made Easy
To help field salespeople respond to customers’ equipment requests, Olenik needed better visibility of the company’s inventory. “One of my main responsibilities is to locate and price equipment for our sales reps,” said Olenik. “I knew if we could streamline our inventory management process, our customers and business would both benefit.”
With this goal in mind, Olenik called on AT&T for consultation. “I’m not a typical IT professional,” said Olenik. “I had some ideas about what I needed and asked AT&T to help with the technology. The AT&T mobility specialist worked with me to understand our business then recommended Actsoft from AT&T and its wireless forms capability. It turned out to be a real solution for our company’s labor-intensive process of taking inventory.”
In past years during this annual event, managers from each location accounted for each piece of equipment and its many parts, using a manual process.
Each piece of equipment and part has an attached tag number as an identifier in the company’s inventory system. With the manual method, every manager would list his location’s tag numbers on account sheets and attach corresponding photos. All equipment and parts photos were to be downloaded onto the company’s server; this step required that the manager rename each photo with the corresponding tag number.
“At headquarters, we developed detailed instructions for them to follow,” said Olenik. “Even with these instructions, no one conducted the process quite the same way. Even small inconsistencies made big issues. Some managers might use capitals when listing the tag identifiers, and others might not. In the end, we didn’t have an inventory database that was very useful.”
With the Actsoft mobile application, this year’s inventory process and results were dramatically different. Olenik distributed a smartphone to each manager with a new Actsoft-enabled wireless form that he had created. With only the smartphones in hand, managers efficiently completed a form for each piece of equipment, then clicked a photo. The electronic files were easily downloaded to complete the new process.
“The managers love our new mobile inventory process,” added Olenik. “They were able to complete the task in half the time, saving about five hours. And I now have an accurate inventory in one, searchable database.”
Increase Control of Mobile Devices
Hi-Way Equipment’s salespeople are constantly on the road, selling equipment to new and existing customers. Field technicians are equally busy, traveling to customer sites for troubleshooting and service calls.
“In our industry, it can take between two weeks and ten months to make a sale,” explained Olenik. “Because of the lengthy sales cycle, turnover in our sales force is high. As a result, we typically have all levels of experience in the field: veterans with over 20 years to rookies with only a few months.”
With nearly 90 smartphones in the field and a high turnover rate, Olenik needed a way to effectively manage devices and the applications running on them. “Protecting customer information is a major concern for us. It’s our confidential business information and a competitive advantage,” said Olenik. “If a salesperson quits, I must be able to immediately and remotely wipe his phone.”
The AT&T specialist recommended a Mobile Device Management solution, MobileIron Basic Connected Cloud from AT&T. Now Olenik can wipe a lost phone to protect valuable company information. He is able to monitor, add and delete what applications reside, or don’t reside, on the mobile workers’ phones.
“I can also push new applications to our salespeople and technicians,” said Olenik. “The MDM solution allows me to make sure all the right people have the right applications that are needed for their jobs. I can also delete applications that are not useful and require that passwords be administered. It gives me the necessary control and peace of mind.”
As for the future, Olenik looks forward to exploring new ways of working with the Actsoft solution. “With Actsoft and its wireless forms, we can continue to change and automate our business operations,” said Olenik. “Mobile applications like our new inventory management process can help us work better and faster. And with the MDM solution, I can confidently manage new devices and applications as new ideas unfold.”