Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Even a Sales Guy Can Build a Mobile Application


Even a sales guy can create bar code scanning applications for use in route deliveries to grocery stores! I was walking down the hallway in our office on Monday and Mark was proudly showing off an application he had developed for the Symbol MC70 bar code scanner. One of his clients delivers products to grocery stores and wanted a route delivery application using this handheld device. So what did Mark do? He (a sales guy) developed one for them! This just proves that MobileDataforce has nearly accomplished our dream. Ok, ok, ok...he didn't quite get it production ready, but he got the mobile application running.

Our dream has always been to develop a rapid application development environment- PointSync, that could be used by the business folks to develop mobile applications. Every month we are adding new features and functionalities to our mobile applications to make them simplier to use and faster to implement.

Route delivery applications often consist of the following parts:
  1. Inventory
  2. Delivery
  3. Merchandising
  4. Planograms
  5. Promotion
  6. More

Planograms are one of the most interesting components to me. Here is the definition of a planogram:

  • The placement of merchandise that is arriving to the store can be planned out on paper by using a Planogram before the products actually arrive to the store. A planogram is a retailer's drawing (blueprint) which visually communicates how merchandise and props physically fit onto a store fixture or window to allow for proper visibility and price point options. The retailer can plan to mix the new products with current items or initiate entirely new displays. If you have more than one store this is an excellent way to communicate to your staff how you would like displays executed.

I would like to add some more to the description of planograms - Here at MobileDataforce one of our recent route delivery application projects included a design of the shelf space plus a color code to signal what task needed to be done for that shelf space and product. This was all done on a handheld computer using MobileDataforce's PointSync. Talk about efficiency. The delivery person would walk into a store, enter the store code/street address and a detailed task list would be produced instructing him/her on what needed to be done with each product and shelf space in that particular store location.