Shredding Paper, and Inefficiency, with Mobile Tech

The following post first appeared on Field Technologies Online, and is excerpted here with permission.

The Shredders is a Southern California document shredding/destruction company that offers highly secure document services to its clients. In addition to shredding paper down to confetti, the company employs background-checked, state-licensed security guards in the field to pick up and shred materials. That level of security is often critical for the company’s clients, which include large banks and government offices.

Ironically, although The Shredders specializes in destroying paper, the company itself generated large amounts of paper in the field until recently. Drivers carried multiple copies of their paper pickup sheets, which were used to track each work assignment and provide documentation to customers. Not only did filling out those forms in the field slow down the drivers, but key-entering the data into the company’s invoicing solution required office staff to spend multiple days each week performing data entry tasks.

“We generated a lot of paper, and processing the forms manually took a lot of time, not to mention it created some errors,” says Angel Sanchez, operations manager at The Shredders. “We needed to run the operation more efficiently.”

With a growing demand for its services, The Shredders faced having to hire extra staff just to keep up with the increasing paperwork volume. To handle the growth without having to bring on additional staff, the company decided to deploy a mobile computing and wireless communication solution. The goal of the solution was to eliminate paperwork while making it easier for drivers to collect route data, electronically capture customer signatures, and reduce the burden on the office staff.

Drivers Embrace Mobility

The Shredders was already using an invoice/pickup management solution (called ASSRI) developed by an internal IT staffer, so the company asked that same employee to develop a mobile extension for the application that would allow drivers to manage their routes, update pickup data, and capture customer signatures.

For the hardware, the company chose the Casio IT-3100M53/E mobile computer after evaluating several other units. “We chose that device because it was rugged, it was rated for multiple drops, and they are very durable,” Sanchez says. “We put these devices through a lot, and they’ve proven their ruggedness — they are still holding up well.”

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Field Technologies Online provides is a resource for the optimization of field workers, service and assets. The publication's goal is to provide companies in the field service, transportation/distribution, government, public works and utilities industries with information on mobile technologies that can be used to improve productivity and drive efficiency.