zebra logo

The Visible Value Blog

How Whirlpool Enhances Performance with Proactive Mobile Device Management

Posted by Nick Sawyer

March 31, 2017 at 8:00 AM


In my previous blogs I showed how a lack of visibility over mobile devices can lead to incidents of loss and theft, reduced lifecycles, longer service desk calls and an increase in total cost of ownership. I also explained that while Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions can help, many of our customers find it hard going to extract the data from them to improve device performance. In fact, 79%[1] of companies want their asset management solutions to give them proactive recommendations to enhance device performance. 

One of our Visibility Services is Operational Visibility Service (OVS). OVS comes with an integrated MDM and collects data from a multitude of sources to present current  status of every mobile computer and networked Zebra printer  in your estate – against a range of thresholds. And critically, it interprets that data for you to suggest proactive changes that will enhance device health.

Whirlpool moves to OVS

Whirlpool in the U.S. has recently deployed OVS to manage its device of Zebra XT15 handheld computers and VH10 vehicle mounted computers used in its distribution centres (DCs). Its reasons for doing so are fairly typical with three standing out;

  1. Data accuracy: Whirlpool was using an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of devices – something many customers do. This was time-consuming and open to error especially during stock counts when equipment could be shared between distribution centres (DCs).
  2. Increased costs: Whirlpool couldn’t see if requests for new equipment from its distribution centres were reasonable. This created scope for overspend.
  3. Productivity: It was not possible to see how devices were being used, or, their status. This could impact productivity – for example, with some sites over half a mile long if an associate’s device ran out of battery this would damage productivity.

ROI of 63% in three months

Since deploying OVS Whirlpool reports a range of benefits. These include:

  • Right sizing: Whirlpool was able to ‘right-size’ its inventory of equipment to make sure that each site has the equipment it needs – and no more.
  • Reduced installation costs: A major project to roll out new devices across 20 plus sites was pretty much all centrally and remotely managed with significant cost and time savings.
  • Best practice: The IT team is able to track how each device is used (e.g. number of scans) – per user, and, across every site. It can also check device status – such as battery life. Steps can be taken that encourage depots to look after computers while best-practice can be built into user training to optimize productivity, efficiency and performance.

The benefits were felt instantly. In fact, Scott Baiers, Director, Supply & Demand Planning at Whirlpool Corporation says that within three months, “We had already recovered 63% of ROI on the deployment.”

Meanwhile, Alison Jones, Whirlpool’s Senior Director, NAR Logistics at Whirlpool says: “One of things that I really emphasise with my logistics teams is to educate with data; the ability to do that means we can provide good information to all of our leadership team so we can make timely decisions that control our costs and make sure performance is up to par.”


Mobile devices are essential to run the lean, accurate, and efficient operations that are needed in today’s supply chain environments. But the value of this investment can be eroded if you can’t remotely, track, see and measure devices. As Whirlpool shows, OVS provides these capabilities delivering proactive, data-driven recommendations that will ensure you control costs, enhance the user’s experience of their technology and achieve the projected benefits from your mobile solutions.

To learn more on how you can enhance performance with mobile devie management, click here.


[1] Research conducted among 309 decision-makers directly responsible for their organization’s device management and/or asset tracking services within NA, Asia Pacific, and EMEA.

Topics: mobile devices, MDM, Asset Visibility Service, OVS, Services