Samsung is assisting the Smollan Group achieve greater efficiency, control and most importantly, cost savings, out in the field, through the utilisation of Samsung Galaxy Tabs.
Using the combination of its custom developed application and a fleet of 50 Samsung Galaxy Tabs, the Smollan project team, which was divided across two provinces, was able to collect information on over 31,000 retail stores within a three month period. Says Colleen Rose, IT director at the Smollan Group; “That’s an unprecedented 10 outlets’ information captured by each individual fieldworker every day and close to 500 outlets’ information captured in total each day. Furthermore, as the information is collected straight into our custom-application, as well as verified at source, the information collected is usable by the client almost immediately.”
As a provider of field marketing, brand activation and market intelligence services to the fast moving consumer goods market, the Smollan Group in South Africa alone has over 18,000 field workers operating in stores country wide on behalf of its clients. Continues Rose; “To co-ordinate this mobile workforce, mobile technology in the form of smartphones has been invaluable up until now. Smartphones are great for getting simple instructions to our 18,000 strong mobile workforce and allowing those individuals to provide simple feedback in the form of confirmation that a task has been completed. However, when it comes to more complex tasks, such as collecting survey data and geocoding store locations, smartphones aren’t the ideal tool.”
By contrast, tablet computers with their larger screens, more accomplished web browsers and more data centric design are great for this kind of fieldwork. It is for this reason that when Smollan were asked by a large FMCG brand to visit rural, ‘off the beaten’ track retailers and perform a detailed survey, as well as to geotag and photograph the storefront, they were excited to trial tablet computers and gauge how much of a difference their use would make in practice.
Says Paulo Ferreira, Head of Mobile Product and Business Solutions at Samsung; “Smollan had very specific requirements when it came to a tablet that would deliver what the company required. Being chosen to deliver what they needed and as a result, working closely with the Smollan Group has been a great opportunity for Samsung, where we have had to opportunity to see first hand the benefits of mobility in action.”
The starting criteria was to find a tablet software development ecosystem that would allow for Smollan’s development team to rapidly build and deploy a custom application to a sizeable workforce. Continues Rose; “Here, we considered a number of different options, but ultimately settled on Android, since this offered us a more open architecture, a familiar software development environment and the ability to deploy the final application to a fleet of tablets without the need for a locally supported application store, as is the case with some of the tablet offerings available today.”
Next, Smollan had to choose a model of Android tablet that was extremely portable, equipped with GPS hardware (for geotagging purposes), capable of fast data transfers and more robust than its peers, since field workers can often be hard on their equipment. “We settled on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 7” as it ticked each of these boxes perfectly, and was available with an optional ruggedized casing, making it tough enough to endure the everyday knocks and bumps associated with field work of this kind;” she added.
The High Speed Uplink and Downlink Packet Access (HSUPA/HSDPA) of the Samsung Galaxy Tab device allowed for the effective synching of data remotely, which resulted in the fact that field workers did not need to spend valuable time coming into the office – ensuring the project was a complete success.
“This is just one of many examples where mobility and the use of mobile devices are changing the way industries conduct daily tasks – resulting in work being done more effectively and efficiently. Mobile devices have and continue to revolutionise many sectors and Samsung are proud to be at the forefront of this – meeting the needs of organisations and promoting a smarter working environment;” concludes Ferreira.