Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Bell Nursery uses Apple app to boost supply chain management to Home Depot stores

Steve Rogerson
May 12, 2015
 
Bell Nursery, the primary supplier to 178 Home Depot stores in seven states and the District of Columbia, claims to have improved profitability and halved waste by using an Apple-based mobile app development platform to create an enterprise mobility system for supply chain and inventory management.
 
The system was jointly developed by Illionois-based Infinite Peripherals, a provider of enterprise mobility devices, and California mobile app company Webalo.
 
“This versatile software has delivered on our mission to dramatically increase business productivity,” said Joe Perret, vice president at Bell. “The new solution has helped us save $7m in inventory waste while significantly increasing our overall efficiency.”
 
Replacing a paper process, the inventory system brings together iPhones and Infinite Peripherals’ Linea Pro 4 or 5 with Webalo’s supply chain and inventory management secure mobile apps. Now Bell Nursery employees – as many as 1700 in the busy season – manage inventory more quickly and accurately using the barcode scanner on the Linea Pro to track products via UPC codes, providing real-time access to accurate inventory data for 400 to 600 stock keeping units across 200 inventory locations.
 
The automated system enables Bell Nursery to manage shipments and placements of the 100 million annuals, perennials and poinsettias that it provides to Home Depot each year, from grower to check-out. Bell now has immediate awareness of and flexibility in identifying and moving perishable plants from where they are not selling to stores where they are in demand. This is critical for the largest nursery grower in the mid-Atlantic region that does 80 per cent of its business in a ten-week period.
 
“We are thrilled to have helped Bell Nursery overhaul its systems, providing the company with real-time holistic intelligence on its entire supply chain,” said Webalo CEO Peter Price. “This also benefits Home Depot customers who now have better access to the exact products they want at their local stores.”
 
The lightweight, durable Linea Pro adds a barcode scanner, capable of reading 1D or 2D barcodes, and a magnetic stripe reader to the iPhone and iPod Touch to facilitate a variety of mobile enterprise functions, including inventory management, point-of-sale, healthcare data access and labelling, ticketing and entry access, lead tracking, inspection and work flow, dispatch and time and labour.
 
“The Linea Pro is an easy-to-use, mobile system that provides fast, accurate scanning and long-lasting performance in demanding warehouse environments,” said Andrew Graham, president of Infinite Peripherals. “With Webalo’s platform, this versatile tool has truly been a game changer for Bell Nursery.”
 
Secured with AirWatch by VMware, the mobile devices are provisioned with more than 36 Webalo applications that are automatically updated through the AirWatch enterprise mobility management platform, equipping employees with the latest versions of each application.
 
Claimed to be the first company to mobilise iOS for enterprise, Infinite Peripherals’ enterprise mobility devices include the Linea Pro and Infinea Tab, which multiple major retailers in the USA have adopted to enhance customer engagement, increase customer conversion rates and build business. The NFC-enabled products simplify adoption of contactless payments, such as Apple Pay.
 
Webalo’s mobile app development platform combines rapid access to back-end systems with the automatic generation of mobile applications for corporations to deliver more apps, more quickly, at a lower cost, while ensuring the highest degrees of enterprise security and governance. It runs on all major platforms, including Android, Apple, Blackberry and Windows smartphones, tablets and desktop devices.