Look Ma, No Paper

McKesson Corporation, a pharmaceutical distribution company with 29 distribution centers and more than 30,000 customers, had a paper-based delivery process that contributed to frequent inaccuracy and inefficiency. The company's more than 2,600 drivers had used paper schedules and invoices to navigate deliveries and obtain customer signatures. Delivery information was then submitted at the end of the day, in a process that hindered optimal auditing, package tracking, and driver performance monitoring. "What we lacked was visibility in what happened to our product after it left the facility," says Greg Stegman, transportation technology manager for McKesson. "You couldn't data mine to leverage analytics opportunity, and retrieval was time consuming." Luckily, iAnywhere's M-Business Anywhere solution was just what the doctor ordered, and has provided McKesson with a new automated system running on Symbol SPT1800's Palm OS. Now, drivers synchronize their mobile devices through the M-Business server to the back end, downloading their day's manifest as an electronic invoice. Upon arrival at a stop, they scan the barcode of each package associated with the delivery, and receive an electronic signature and timestamp as proof of delivery. This has helped to ensure a far higher standard of quality than the old-fashioned paper process. "The customer feels more confident when they see the technology," Stegman says, noting that clients are less likely to file shortage claims when the automation process is taking place in front of them. When the driver returns to a McKesson facility, his mobile device is synchronized once again, sending delivery information and customer confirmations to McKesson's back-end systems. Calls citing erroneous deliveries had been received every day prior to implementing iAnywhere; today these have been virtually eliminated, sending customer satisfaction levels skyrocketing. Now that management can track delivery performance and customers access same-day package tracking information, costs have gone down and productivity has increased--reducing legal claims by an estimated 50 percent, and delivery claims by roughly 30 percent. iAnywhere also enables the distributor to automate payment to its couriers. In addition, McKesson has used the M-Business Anywhere server to develop a customer application that allows customers to order and receive with the same device--meaning that clients can perform inventory integration within the customer-facing Web portal. "From a customer-facing perspective, I think the improvement in quality of delivery and providing the confidence to customers that we're meeting their obligations [has been the biggest benefit]," Stegman says. McKesson currently supports wireless connectivity, but finds same-day information downloads suitable given the costs of real-time connectivity. The company is presently rolling out GPS to obtain exact locations and timestamps to assist in managing the delivery network--an initiative that in conjunction with existing RFID efforts should keep McKesson moving ahead of the competition. Related articles: Vertical Focus: Pharmaceutical Firms Find a Spoonful of CRM Helps the Sales Pitch Go Down CRM in Action: Thinking Out of the (Shoe) Box: Olan Mills's Reps Switch From Index Cards to PDAs
New Product Spotlight: May 5, 2004
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