Shash Anand, senior vice president of product strategy at SOTI, and John Vos, senior solution consultant and product owner mobile application integration at PostNL, discussed how post and parcel companies can optimize device downtime at this week’s free-to-attend Parcel+Post Expo Innovation Forum, in Amsterdam, October 24-26, 2023.
What was your presentation about?
SOTI and PostNL have been working together for over six years through key strategic partner Diebold Nixdorf (DN). PostNL is on a digital transformation journey and is working in partnership with SOTI and DN to enable a more agile and scalable way to achieve its 100% uptime targets, while expanding its mobile fleet. PostNL faces a significant challenge in managing the high volume of shared devices among its staff. They need to ensure uninterrupted device functionality, even as usage patterns and user profiles change throughout the workday, all while considering various other cloud-related factors, which will be discussed in the presentation.
Moreover, it is important for businesses to understand how to effectively manage a device fleet. For example, postal and parcel companies like PostNL must prioritize innovation to maximize ROI, increase employee productivity and secure the corporate network. Innovation can take different forms and is crucial for optimal device management. During the presentation, we will highlight how SOTI contributes to innovation in the logistics sector.
SOTI MobiControl manages all of PostNL’s postal service and delivery devices, helping them track and locate over 1.2 billion parcels annually across the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium; understand IT strategic objectives; and maintain deployment to devices to further digitalization. This speeds up the process through full automation, allowing PostNL to handle deployments in less time.
What did the audience learn?
How SOTI works with its customers in a partnership model alongside the MSP and IT partner (DN), which manages the customer account. The audience learned how we triage the solutions and projects to ensure a long-term model that supports their digitalization goals. In the case of PostNL, how to achieve the automation goals set within by the business and IT team. SOTI will share insights into some of these goals and challenges and discuss the solution for this together on stage.
The audience also heard about the challenges of maintaining mobile device uptime while migrating from one EMM or MDM provider to SOTI – all while facing rapid growth and increased device deployments at the same time. There are of course key considerations when researching an EMM or MDM provider and we want to share the key learnings between SOTI, PostNL and DN with the audience, as each case is unique and complex.
How do you expect automation to affect the future of the parcel and postal delivery industry?
PostNL will be discussing the importance of automation as part of its mobile device deployment and the need to consistently collect real-time data from devices 24/7 to be a reliable parcel delivery service in 2023 and beyond.
Automation has many meanings and in the case of most companies, we tend to realize that their understanding of automation in the broadest sense is that they need to trust their devices, the network and the data they collect without having to think about it. This is the pinnacle of automation, where companies do not have to think about the process – it simply functions seamlessly. This enables a business to leverage its team, resources and IT infrastructure for planning other intelligent solutions as part of its digital journey.
What impact can device downtime have on posts and parcel companies? How can this issue be addressed?
Device downtime can be caused by many factors – both internal and external. It can range from cyberattacks and data breaches impacting the usability of devices to gaps in real-time data collection and operational intelligence resulting in undercharged device batteries, inefficient equipment at the start of a shift, and inaccurate and outdated software and firmware on handset devices. In addition, lost or stolen devices can lead to in-house employee errors and external access to sensitive data.
An effective EMM can lock down devices, wipe them remotely if stolen or lost and constantly push out security updates and software en masse. It does this quickly and at an optimal time, like during a user’s off-shift hours. This intelligence and ease of use enhance the efficiency of IT resources and business operations, all of which are overseen through a robust and comprehensive EMM.
What advice would you give other posts or parcel companies thinking about optimizing their devices?
SOTI encourages companies to think about what defines optimization. Is it related to device efficiency? If so, ensure that an EMM is capable of recognizing device issues, such as apps consuming excessive memory, and allowing users to manage specific account deletions and access rights. All of these updates should be implemented across the company and are essential in keeping mobile devices running smoothly and efficiently.
Companies should also consider how its employees’ roles might evolve over time. Is the device they were using four years ago still relevant? Does it give them the tools and capabilities they need to perform at their best? Nor should companies overlook industrial printers – who is responsible for managing and maintaining them?
An effective EMM can address all these issues and simplify management. As a result, companies should take a broad approach and consider different departments. By taking a comprehensive view of its device optimization needs, organizations can determine how an appropriate EMM solution can improve device performance and streamline business operations.
Can you give us an example of the challenges and opportunities your company has experienced?
Over the past few years, we have seen mobility challenges that span multiple industries and extend well beyond the mail and parcel sector. Factors such as rapid digitisation, changing consumer preferences and business expansion have increased the importance of efficient and effective mobile device fleet management. At the same time, in a world where IT security is increasingly critical, companies need to secure and manage their devices while maintaining seamless business operations.
One notable challenge we have faced is the need to be able to adapt to rapidly evolving client and industry needs. We are constantly aligned with our clients to understand their demands and needs in the industry. We understand that companies need to be able to run their diagnostics remotely and securely, have insight into the location of their devices, and want to be able to collect the data necessary to not only improve their processes but also identify and solve any device issues promptly.
In order to meet their requirements, we continuously engage in development and reinvestment in innovation to create solutions that can help our clients. For example, we recently upgraded our SOTI XSight solution to include new features such as SOTI XSight Live View, which enables companies to visualise their operations in real time so they can make intelligent, data-driven decisions and easily identify and resolve problems before they occur.
Our proactive approach has led to great opportunities for our business. By staying ahead of the curve and truly listening to the feedback of our clients, we have positioned ourselves as a leading provider of mobile device management solutions. Our ability to innovate, navigate and capitalize on these challenges has been instrumental in SOTI’s growth and impact in the technology industry.
How have these affected your plans for the future?
The impact of device and mobility challenges has led SOTI to further align our business plans with the evolving device and mobility landscape. We remain committed to working closely with our customers and partners, to tailor our solutions to meet their specific business needs while remaining attuned to future industry requirements. Our goal is to shape our solutions in a way that not only provides optimal responses to the industry’s most formidable challenges but also seamlessly aligns with digitalization goals.
Anand and Vos’s presentation, ‘Device downtime: the biggest problem facing post and parcel companies’, which was part of the ‘Improving efficiency – solutions for cost and revenue management’ track, took place on Tuesday (Day 1), October 24.
See the full conference program, here.