Vehicle manufacturer Honda is rolling out handheld mobile devices to its staff across Europe in a move that is expected to save £63,000 for every 100 users in productivity gains in the first year.
The Onebridge mobility system from Sybase iAnywhere has gone live with 160 senior managers and sales staff in the UK and will be extended to another thousand in more than 20 European countries over the next three years.
"Many employees were losing productivity each week as a result of 'dead time' such as waiting for meetings to start when they were unable to check their email," said Mervyn Eyles, customer support manager at Honda.
He said that mobile devices allow employees to make use of this "dead time" to keep in touch with the rest of the business and increase productivity during working hours to improve work-life balance.
"Accessing e-mail using Palm Treo mobile devices is faster and easier than booting up a laptop and downloading e-mail using 3G cards, yet retains the familiar Microsoft operating environment," said Eyles. "The Onebridge system enables employees to check emails almost twice as often as before."
Employees using the system are mainly home based, but spend most of their time meeting with Honda UK's 1,000 dealerships.
"Members of the sales team are seldom in the office, so it is essential to have a secure and reliable communications platform linking them to the company network," said Eyles.
Honda chose the Onebridge system because of its scalability its ability to create, view and share attachments using multiple applications and its support for multi-byte character sets.
"It was also considered more enterprise ready because of the built in monitoring facilities and its ability to support a geographically dispersed Lotus Notes or MS Exchange infrastructure," said Eyles.
Honda plans to use the system for providing more applications such as customer relationship management in future.
"The aim is to add applications to turn the Treos into complete corporate devices," said Eyles.