Enterprise mobility management has played an integral role in Bell Nursery’s ability to cultivate its inventory management systems.
Based in Elkridge, Md., Bell Nursery supplies flowers to 178 Home Depot stores in seven Mid-Atlantic states. Employees use more than 400 iPhones to update inventory data in real time, eliminating the need for staff to handwrite information about flower discards and other aspects of inventory and then enter it into spreadsheets, says Joe Perret, vice president of systems and technology. By improving the efficiency of inventory management, Bell Nursery reduced its scrap inventory from $20 million to $13 million, he says.
As the company’s mobile device count grew, it turned to VMware AirWatch for the product’s many enterprise mobility management features. “We didn’t want the nontechnical people updating the iOS systems,” Perret says. “We wanted to make it so they could spend less time on managing inventory and more time on caring for the plants.”
Perret says AirWatch lets him track all the iPhones, as well as remotely wipe a lost or stolen device. AirWatch also lets him push applications to users. “We needed to make it as easy as possible and do all the management on the back end,” he says. “Too often, people forget their credentials and any productivity gains get lost.”
Chris Silva, a research director who covers mobile and endpoint computing for Gartner, notes that many companies are moving past basic mobile device management to pushing apps and managing content.
“Mobile strategy started with basic device controls, but we’ve seen a lot more interest in pushing custom content to users’ devices,” Silva says. “This year, we’ll see a lot more activity in building custom mobile apps.”
Rosendin Electric, an employee-owned electrical contractor based in San Jose, Calif., opted for MobileIron to manage about 1,000 mobile devices for executives, fieldworkers and salespeople in its 14 branches. CIO Sam Lamonica says the company runs a mix of iOS, Android and Windows devices.
Rosendin deployed the MobileIron platform about two years ago, beginning with basic mobile device management features to set profiles and remotely wipe lost or stolen devices. Lamonica and his staff now use the enterprise mobility management solution to push out applications and even plan to use the product to develop an internal app store.
“We have a mix of construction applications, some that we’ve bought off the shelf and others that we’ve built in-house that we want to manage using MobileIron,” Lamonica says. The contractor also plans to use the tool to integrate its back-end databases with its mobile devices, but the CIO concedes that’s several months into the future.