What’s New

Unilever deploys Unitech PA600 with Windows Mobile 5.0 sales automation solution to improve its distribution service across Spain

Unitech’s PA600 industrial mobile computer, equipped with a Windows Mobile 5.0 based sales automation solution, developed by Grupo Mediterraneo, has been deployed by Unilever, the English-Dutch multinational. In the first phase of the deployment, the PA600 mobile computer will replace over 800 existing mobile devices, where it will be used to optimize and unify the complete asset and distribution management and sales automation operations for the national distribution network of Frigo in Spain.

The deployment is part of Unilever’s wider strategic project to improve service and be more innovative in its distribution operations, using real time information to better manage and control the distribution process across all its distributors.

Unilever is market leader in a market where demand can fluctuate heavily and therefore its distribution network is subject to constant change. The company needed a mobile solution that allowed it to constantly manage these changing demands in real time, enabling it to react to the market dynamically and efficiently.

“Grupo Mediterraneo has worked with Unilever for many years and through the effort and dedication of the Grupo Mediterraneo team has earned the complete trust of this multinational company.” Commented Jose García, Managing Director of Grupo Mediterraneo. “With the release and development of the new Windows platforms CE.NET and Windows Mobile, we have been able to create a solution with a simple, intuitive interface that allows it Unilever to work very efficiently. The solution incorporates the latest wireless communication technologies, including Bluetooth and GPRS-Edge, which are ideal for managing the flow of data, from and to any given place. Based on its compact size, wireless communication capacity, design and autonomy, we selected the PA600 as the ideal device for our solution and our choice received complete agreement from the Frigo distributors.”

In an impressive roll-out programme lasting only 3 months, Grupo Mediterraneo will swap out more than 800 existing devices at 100 different Frigo distributor sites across Spain, including commissioning the new PA600 mobile computers and the complete integration of the Grupo Mediterraneo solution.

The first phase of the Grupo Mediterraneo solution enables Unilever to control the freezer equipment that it has installed in all points of sale in Spain. This allows information relating to the control of stock and supply management to be transmitted to the central host via GPRS. The solution also includes an innovative mobile printing solution development by MB Tècniques Industrials, and based on the Zebra TLP2844Z (direct thermal transfer) printer. MB Tècniques Industrials specializes in the manufacture and design of industrial printing systems, and it converted the Zebra desktop printer into a mobile printer by developing an innovative energy management system using a portable battery. The printer is carried in a holster with a neck strap for non-stop mobile label printing.

“We were confronted with a challenge as there are currently no mobile thermal transfer printers on the market, but it was an essential requirement of the project to have such a printer as part of the application. Our design team came up with the perfect solution that offered complete mobility and autonomy of an industrial printer that maintained the mobile users comfort at all times.” Indicates Assumpta Ballbé, Managing Director of MB Tècniques Industrials.

In less than 2 months, the company has “mobilised” more than 100 of the Zebra desktop printers, all within the tight timescale required by Unilever.

Supplied by Unitech’s Spanish distributor, Paresa Informática, the PA600 will be deployed, serviced and repaired by Grupo Mediterraneo through a comprehensive local repair service ensuring a quick response to service and repair requirements, minimising downtime for Unilever.

Commenting on its relationship with Grupo Mediterraneo, Joan Giménez, commercial director of Paresa Informática, said:

“We recognize the ability of Grupo Mediterraneo to develop flexible software solutions that are perfect for a major part of the industrial distribution market and we have developed a good relationship with them through many years working together. The success of this project is absolute proof of the adulthood of the PA600, and it’s a project that we are proud to be a part of. We believe it will be an important marker within the Spanish pre-sales sector and we are delighted to have worked with Grupo Mediterraneo on the development and co-management of this project.”

Unitech also recognises the value and expertise Grupo Mediterraneo adds to its products in this important market for its products.

“We have developed the PA600 to deliver a range of powerful industrial applications with an appealing compact design that’s small enough to fit into a shirt pocket.” comments Paula ten Bos, Marketing Communication Executive for Unitech Europe. “We are delighted that the power and performance of the PA600 will be delivering the Grupo Mediterraneo solution for Unilever. To have worked with Grupo Mediterraneo on this successful project is the very best result we could have wished for as a manufacturer of mobile devices”.