For independent grocers and the wholesalers that serve them
The last time I posted a question about tablets, they were pretty new -- that is, only the iPad existed. Now there are a ton on the market with different operating systems, and they have made tremendous inroads into the corporate world. At this year's NRF show this past January in NY, I saw many attendees -- both retailers and suppliers -- carrying them around.
What kind of tablet do you use, and how do you use it for business?
My Wife bought a Kindle Fire, which I will use in Vegas this year, to check up on my ads, and other business E-mails.
It is lightweight, and does what I need it to do.
Here I am, claiming once again that "I'm not a techie". Might have to re-evaluate... I have two Motorola Zoom tablets. I use one here at the store and my wife uses one at her fine food shop. To be honest, she still hasn't mastered the table thing, so her's also doubles as a virtual guitar for our 5 and 6 year old boys who have no fear of these devices. Watching them go at the tablets reminds me of myself, hooking up my parent's first computer at the age of 10 (It had just been delivered and my Grandmother was babysitting). I was told not to touch it as "the man is coming from Montreal tomorrow to hook it up". By the time my parents returned from dinner it was running and my Dad called to cancel the service visit as his 10 year old had taken care of things. But I digress!
I have found my tablet to be quite useful. One of the first things I did was ask a number of my suppliers to provide me with excel files of all the SKUs that I had ordered over the last 12 months. The one company, Ontario Natural Food Co-Op supplies me with over 4oo SKUs, but their catalogue is over 100 pages. Taking the list I then arranged the products by department to enable separate PO's for each department. Now, rather than flipping through page after page of a catalogue to write an order I can scroll through a condensed spreadsheet, input my quantities and email the file directly from the tablet. We have great WiFi here in the store so there's no data costs.
I've also used my tablet as a video camera recording the waxless floor treatment here at the store that I uploaded to YouTube and shared on Independent Grocer Network, and I've also used it to manage my social media. When I'm on the road, it also replaces my need for a laptop and gives me more functionality than my smartphone. However, all that taken into consideration, my new Blackberry Bold is still my preferred mobile device.
I have an Android 10 inch driven tablet. I check my personal and business e-mail and sync my calendar to it. At our last wholesaler food show I had the entire show loaded on my tablet with all of the deals and allowances. I used it to scan QR codes of products while I was at the show as well. I tether it to my android phone for internet access wherever I am at. (No additional data costs) I can access any of our company computers from wherever I am at as well for trouble shooting or to look up information. I use Dropbox to transfer files all over the company with it. I manage the companies social media from it as well. I am finding new ways to utilize it all of the time. It has replaced my laptop.
In my store and restaurant, I use two iPads. One I carry around with me. It and my iPhone are both loaded with a VNC viewer with which I can connect to my store's various POS, money services and other systems for remote control and problem-solving when I'm away from the store. It can view and control my store's security cameras, and I keep a sort of reminder list of items I notice that need to reorder as I walk through the store, by scanning barcodes with the camera.
The other iPad is mounted in the kitchen. It usually displays a PDF with pages containing food safety information such as holding temperatures, heating/cooling guidelines, etc. It also displays incoming food orders to the cooks, who can mark each order "Done" as they're completed.