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The Barcode Warehouse deploys ServiceNow to streamline managed services

Customisation of cloud-based tool has enabled ruggedised mobile devices company to streamline its business processes

The Barcode Warehouse, which provides barcode readers, radio-frequency identification (RFID) scanners and asset tags for tracking shipments, has used ServiceNow to improve its managed services.

Overall, the company manages 160,000 mobile devices and 600,000 asset tags. It provides courier and delivery driver fleets with preconfigured, ruggedised handheld or in-cab devices for parcel tracking.

Speaking to Computer Weekly following his talk at the Service Desk Show at Olympia in London, Martin Broadhead, sales and marketing director at The Barcode Warehouse (TBW), said the company needed to optimise two of its business processes.

“If a courier company wants to roll out 20,000 mobile devices, we create a gold build on each device, package the software and the mobile device management layer, test it, build it, and the devices are then shipped out to the customer as part of a kit,” he said.

The second target for improvement is how the company handles breakages and fixes. “If a driver has a problem, we will try to fix the issue using remote administration,” said Broadhead. “If we can’t fix it, we do a next-day exchange.”

This involves taking devices out of The Barcode Warehouse’s stock supply and installing a new software build, which is then shipped out. “Once it arrives, the end-user only needs to log in,” said Broadhead.

The company’s legacy IT for managing these business processes and service desk run across different systems, which are heavily customised, he said.

“We were trying to manage this through heavily bespoke legacy systems. What we really wanted was one single platform.”

However, The Barcode Warehouse discovered that all of the ITSM (IT service management) products it looked at as a replacement would not work out of the box. “None had asset build processes and we even considered warehouse management systems, but they didn’t have the other pieces we needed,” he said.

Only viable option

The company realised that the only viable option was to deploy an IT service management tool that could easily be extended, said Broadhead. “We thought ServiceNow was highly configurable.”

The company selected TeamUltra, a ServiceNow specialist, for the implementation. As Computer Weekly’s sister title MicroScope has previously reported, TeamUltra was recently acquired by Computacenter. At the time, Computacenter’s CEO, Mike Norris, said the acquisition would help customers on their digital journey, an area ServiceNow has been expanding with its Intelligent Automation Engine, which uses machine learning technology to automate and route work.

Broadhead said: “The first thing we did was buy a 3m x 1m whiteboard and got everyone from TeamUltra and Barcode to map out our business processes, working out how to take the good legacy processes and put them into ServiceNow, and where we had to build new processes.”

According to Broadhead, the implementation team did “an awful lot of upfront work” by walking through the business processes on paper. He estimated the project should have taken more than 30 weeks to complete, but thanks to the planning, phase one of the ServiceNow project was implemented in just 13 weeks.

The result has been a fast, more streamlined and efficient business process. In his presentation, Broadhead said: “By enabling our operators to handle incoming support calls while automatically creating ‘information complete’ swap-out requests at the same time, they could increase efficiencies of the device swap-out service.”

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