How does a major beer distributor keep track of their drivers’ orders, deliveries and inventory while ensuring seamless operation in a demanding, sometimes grueling mobile environment?
Schenck® Company is one of the nation’s top 20 beer distributors, representing MillerCoors, Crown Imports, Heinekin USA, Diageo-Guinness, Boston Beer and other breweries, including imports, domestics and craft beers. Schenck provides beverages to 6,000 customers in the Central and Coastal Florida regions.
As expected with this level of service, managing their drivers’ time, orders from retailers, and deliveries can be daunting. The company’s 90 delivery drivers verify orders, capture customer signatures electronically and print receipts. This must be done with complete accuracy, in a timely manner and with a professional outcome.
Finding the right technology for this delivery environment was a challenge, primarily because of the extreme potential for wear and tear. Schenck had used several combinations of mobile handheld scanners and mobile printers in the past, but the equipment could not endure the tough conditions, particularly the printers. As equipment stopped working, drivers had to improvise by manually writing out invoices. The waste of time and room for error was obviously not acceptable
“Drivers are going in and out of 10 to15 accounts per day, in and out of coolers, delivering as many as 800 cases a day,” said Kent Meckley, director of IT at Schenck. “We needed to find a rugged technology, in both mobile handheld scanners and mobile printers, to keep up with the demand.”
The company turned to Barcoding Inc., a mobile applications company, for recommendations, and chose Motorola® Symbol handheld scanners and Zebra® RW 420™ printers. The Zebra mobile printers are able to wirelessly connect to the Motorola handheld scanners, which are synced with Schenck’s backend software.
Zebra’s mobile direct thermal printers print receipts up to 4 inches wide at 3 inches per second. The Zebra RW 420 printer is the only mobile printer to meet the stringent IP54 dust- and water-resistance rating, withstanding weather and the demanding environment that drivers encounter.
Meckley said, “There’s no way you can run a beer distributorship on non-rugged mobile devices. You can always find something that’s less expensive up front, but that doesn’t mean it’s cheaper in the long run.”
Choosing the optional comprehensive warranties for the Motorola handheld scanners and Zebra mobile printers also allows Schenck to have units repaired or replaced quickly.
They also decided to invest in spare equipment (10%), to ensure that drivers would not have to go back to manually filling out invoices. Considering frequent changes in pricing and promotions, making drivers recalculate invoices at retail would be time-consuming and error-prone. “It's much easier to let the handheld scanners do it and the mobile printer to print out a hard copy rather than manually writing out an invoice.”
With Motorola handheld scanners and Zebra mobile printers, drivers have more reliability through durable yet mobile devices, and Schenck drivers save time and improve accuracy. Just as critical, the company expects the hardware to last for years, decreasing capital costs. Additionally, the durable equipment is impervious to the changing climate of truck to cooler – a crucial element to the longevity of the equipment and its mobile application.
“It’s a great solution,” Meckley said. “We’ve been running it for a year now and are very happy with both the printers and the scanners.”
The technology afforded by mobile Zebra printers and Motorola handheld scanners has helped Schenck streamline their delivery process, while providing a seamless interface between retailer and distributor, and giving drivers dependable tools to do their jobs.
See the video about how Zebra ensures durability for their mobile printers and other equipment:
See these video links from Barcode.com: