Gates Corp. is a manufacturer of belt and hose products for the industrial and automotive markets. The company became a wholly owned subsidiary of Tomkins, a global engineering and manufacturing group, in 1996. Gates operates 43 manufacturing facilities and 27 distribution centers in 20 countries. With 13,000 employees, Gates is continuously evaluating the effectiveness of its technology services on employee productivity. In preparation for a strategic company-wide technology initiative, the corporation’s worldwide IT group identified several issues related to mobile communications, including:
- a lack of a cohesive mobile strategy
- employees with individual wireless carrier agreements
- no coordinated plan for supporting the growing number of advanced mobile devices for access to mobile e-mail, appointments, and contacts.
In 2005, the worldwide IT group received approval to implement a 3-year strategic services plan named the Strategic Collaboration Initiative, or Project SCI, to leverage technology to improve worker productivity. Under project SCI, Gates began standardizing on an approved set of mobile devices from Cingular Wireless including the 2125 smartphone, the 8125 PocketPC, and the Palm Treo 650. In addition, the IT group started standardizing on Good Mobile Messaging, a mobile platform from Good Technology. A driving factor for standardizing on Good Mobile Messaging was being able to reduce user support time. “It literally takes seconds to administer a new user,” says Paul Wise, global mobility specialist for Gates Corp. Deploying the original solution or a new device did not require users to part with their devices. The IT team simply performs a secure over-the-air (OTA) setup of the mobile platform with the user and provides a hands-on tutorial. When devices need to be updated, the OTA feature allows the support staff to send updates remotely.
Gates is considering extending its mobile computing upgrade beyond its executives and mobile employees. The company is looking into providing its sales force mobile access to the company’s CRM (customer relationship management) application with Good Mobile Intranet.