CoPilot Product Line Case Study
Andrew Bielecki was going nowhere fast. A field engineer, who sells about $3 million worth of high-tech communications testing equipment a year, was driving from his home office in Flemington, New Jersey, to a no-margin-for-error appointment at Princeton University, a trip that usually takes him about 40 minutes.
"They're all directors and professors down there so they're all on very tight schedules, and I had to be there at 9 o'clock sharp," Bielecki recalls. All seemed well until Bielecki hit an unexpected detour sign in the middle of the Jersey hinterlands. "These country roads weren't marked too clearly; there was no sign that said, "The highway is down this way," he explains. "I took the detour, and all of a sudden the detour signs ran out."
Even one of those time-conscious Princeton Ph.D.s would have been hard-pressed to figure this one out. But Bielecki stayed cool-because technology was his copilot.
Sitting in the passenger's seat was his notebook computer; and attached to it via serial cable was a plastic saucer the size of an ashtray. That small disk, a Global Positioning System antenna, would save Bielecki's bottom line this day. Using a beyond-state-of-the-art integrated GPS/mapping-software solution, he simply consulted the digital map on his screen, scanned the redirected route to Princeton that had been drawn for him, and asked, "Which way?"
His notebook responded, "Turn left on Meadow," and Bielecki went on about the business of selling, following his software's voice commands all the way to Princeton. "It got me there on time with five minutes to spare, time to put the quarter in the meter," Bielecki brags, as if talking about his precocious kid. And why not? He drives 400 miles a week in the northeastern United States, and the GPS system hasn't let him down yet.
From Sales and Field Force Automation