Innserve, specialists in the supply, installation and maintenance of beer and soft drinks dispense systems, has rolled out Panasonic TOUGHBOOK L1 Android tablets to its 400 dispense technicians across the UK, powered by the SOTI ONE Platform. The rollout has improved productivity and reduced the cost and complexity of mobile computing for Innserve, which services 75,000 licensed premises across Great Britain.
The company chose the devices for their rugged and ergonomic design, alongside Panasonic’s commitment to supporting the latest Android operating systems and its comprehensive service and maintenance offering. It chose SOTI to secure, manage and support their mobile operations after seeing the close working relationship between Panasonic and SOTI partners and how intuitively the SOTI ONE Platform worked with Panasonic devices.
Innserve is the leading independent national drinks dispense business in the UK, with more than £100M of assets maintained and serviced each year, supported by 700 employees. The company has used Panasonic TOUGHBOOK devices for many years and was impressed with the latest TOUGHBOOK L1 Android tablet.
“We require rugged Android devices that are functional, reliable and competitively priced,” said Kieran Delaney, Innserve’s Director of IT. “But it is not just the device, it’s the service and maintenance that comes with it that is critical to the running of our operations. In addition, because we develop our own desktop and mobile applications, ongoing support for future versions of Android is incredibly important to us to ensure we can continue to take advantage of future innovations.”
“One thing we really value is that Panasonic has an Android specialist available that is always on hand to help us with any issues. It has really helped us improve the way our Android application works on the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK. We see it as a partnership, rather than a vendor relationship, and this has extended to our work with SOTI.”
“Our success story, as a business and an IT department, has been our ability to be flexible and pivot to meet the needs of our customers and the technicians, and that is such a powerful attribute in our business. Our relationship with Panasonic and SOTI helps us to achieve this flexibility.”
A hands-on device
Innserve technicians receive their daily schedule of appointments, plan their journeys and record information about each job using the device. Each device is automatically synchronised with the central systems every 15 minutes. In addition, the TOUGHBOOK L1 tablet is used to place orders for and to return parts, as well as for email communications, to provide access to HR systems and payment information, and also to show customers the latest information and training videos.
The rollout went very well with the Panasonic devices delivered pre-configured, asset tagged and registered into SOTI MobiControl for staging and ongoing Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM). Once the devices are in the hands of the technicians, they simply supply the serial number of the device and it is activated for operation. The technicians then have access to all their applications through the use of a single username and password.
The technicians receive a welcome pack that explains the benefits of the new Panasonic device and how to operate it effectively. They also receive a telephone support call to answer any questions. The IT team uses SOTI Assist, the industry’s first diagnostic help desk solution that is ‘purpose-built’ and designed for the mobile-first era. It features SOTI’s award-winning remote control technology, making it easy and efficient for technicians to analyze, troubleshoot and resolve mobile device and app issues from anywhere, at anytime.
“Previously, we could have been on the phone to the technicians for up to one and a half hours to get a device up and running, but with the new staging and being able to take control of the device remotely, that time has been radically reduced,” explained Drew Wilcox, Systems Support Manager at Innserve.
Rolling out regular application updates to the new devices is also much more efficient using SOTI MobiControl. “We have quite an aggressive development schedule, rolling out updates with new features every two to three weeks,” explained Kieran. “This is really important for the business in staying ahead of the competition and driving efficiencies – which ultimately leads to significant increases in profit and an improved level of customer service and satisfaction.”
Innserve no longer has to chase its technicians to update their devices because it can be scheduled and managed remotely via SOTI by the IT team, and delivered, for example, overnight. “We have found updating our applications happens much more quickly using SOTI MobiControl than with our old mobile device management solution,” added Kieran.
The Innserve technicians have taken to the new Panasonic devices well. “This is very much a hands-on device for our technicians,” explained Drew. “Technicians have to input a lot of data, often in wet and difficult environments. The TOUGHBOOK L1 tablet is easy to use and read, and there is a big uplift in battery life. Technicians appreciate the finer design details like the hand strap and stylus and the device is lightweight and easy to carry. The new micro USB charger is also a good design choice because it means the technicians can charge the device with the same equipment as their Android mobile phones.”
Innserve used to have a barcode module attached to their older devices, but are using the flexibility of the camera on the new TOUGHBOOK L1 devices. Using different applications, the camera can be used to scan a variety of QR and barcodes for managing equipment returns.
To add another layer of safety for technicians, Innserve is using the speed control application within SOTI MobiControl so that the devices will only show Google maps when travelling at more than 10 mph.
Next day replacement
To ensure the workforce always has the right tools for the job, Panasonic also maintains a Rapid Replacement stock for Innserve at its configuration and service centre in Cardiff, and provides a 24 hour replacement service for devices that are damaged or stolen. However, not a single device has failed or required replacement as of today.
Specialist Android support
Panasonic offers its Android customers specialist Android support through Panasonic COMPASS, its market-leading suite of enterprise management tools for Panasonic TOUGHBOOK rugged tablets and handheld devices running the Android operating system (OS). The latest additions to the Complete Android Services and Security package include a new proprietary rapid configuration tool “PARC”, which offers enhanced security support for up to three years after product end-of-life and can be extended for up to five years. This includes support through OS transition where applicable, as well as a Mobile Enterprise Application Platform and an application submission portal to certify new applications for devices.
Darren Munday, Corporate Account Manager for Panasonic TOUGHBOOK, said: “Innserve technicians rely on their mobile computing devices to help keep business flowing for their customers. This means that the Android devices they use have to be rugged, functional, reliable and future-proof. As Europe’s leading rugged tablet and notebook provider, we have a long track record of delivering mobile computing devices that businesses can trust. Alongside our COMPASS suite of enterprise management tools for Android devices and our comprehensive service, repair and warranty offering, Panasonic is the ideal solution partner.”
A rugged Android device
The Panasonic TOUGHBOOK L1 tablet is a lightweight rugged Android tablet ideal for edge-computing and customer-facing mobile workers that need a versatile and cost-effective device. With its 7-inch display and optional barcode reader, it is suitable for a wide range of roles in industries such as retail and hospitality, manufacturing, transportation and logistics.