Located near Weston-super-Mare in North Somerset, Pen Mobile Solutions offer tailored end-to-end solutions in enterprise mobility, mobile printing and mobile data capture, backed by the full range of support services, to some of the UK and Europe’s largest retailers, distributors and public sector organisations.
Pen supply premium products from world leading manufacturers and have longstanding partnerships with companies like Zebra, Datalogic, Honeywell and Extreme Networks, enabling them to offer customers competitive pricing and swift lead times.
Les Morley, Managing Director of Pen Mobile Solutions spoke to Warehouse & Logistics News.
Warehouse & Logistics News – First of all, Les, when was Pen Mobile Solutions founded and by whom?
After a long career managing major transformation projects and program managing large scale IT developments, I started Pen some twelve years ago.
WLN – What does your role as Managing Director involve?
As MD, the buck stops here. Of course I deal with the day to day issues of running a company, and medium to long term strategy/plans and so on, but the real bonus to my role is that I can see what is emerging as new and better solutions and pass that knowledge on to my customers.
WLN – What different devices do you supply?
Mobility solutions are like links in a chain. Each one is only as strong as the links around it. We address the whole chain from the end point hardware like scanners, hand held terminals, rugged tablets, RFID and printers, the associated accessories and consumables through to the network that supports them.
The range of devices and products is huge – the expertise is in combining the right products with the right solution. We have to support the hardware we supply to keep them operational. We do this with the provision of services such as repair, configuration and on boarding. We also supply and develop the software that drives business processes along with networks and wireless systems to connect it all together.
WLN – What is different about Pen Mobile Solutions, compared to other suppliers?
Pen Mobile Solutions has a wealth of experience, and a mission to deliver real improvements to our customers with excellent service and solutions. These core principles have guided our business since our inception and have enabled us to deliver our customers value and outstanding ROI.
As an independent supplier, our advice is impartial and totally predicated on providing the right solution for the customer, according to where they are in their IT transition. There is a wide spectrum as to the level of technological innovation and where individual customers are in relation to their IT, mobility, and data automation transition. Technology moves extremely quickly. Major global corporates can afford to trial and innovate at the cutting edge. Others do not have that luxury and need help to understand and move towards the appropriate solutions. We have that expertise and we see our mission being to understand where you are starting from, short and long term goals, and be your trusted partner on this journey. If you have a problem or challenge, a vision – or a nightmare, speak to us.
WLN – Are all your devices supplied on sale or do you offer contract rentals?
We offer our devices for sale, contract rental or a mixture of both. Optionally we can provide devices with our own software packages if required. Or if you want help with loading your own software so that the device is plug and play, we will onboard and configure prior to dispatch.
WLN – What about short-term rental?
Rentals start from a minimum one week. Many clients look for a short term rental to cover a particular requirement, for example stock taking or a corporate event.
WLN – Do you have a pool of readily available kit for rental and what is your minimum rental period?
Our rental contracts are flexible and bespoke. We hold a core stock of mobility devices, which can be supplemented to meet additional demand. For large rentals or long term equipment sourcing, there are also various other options to turn CapEx into OpEx.
WLN – Are you tied to the manufacturers you have supplier partnerships with, or are you impartial, depending on the customer’s requirement?
We are totally impartial but have partner status with all the main manufacturers, allowing us to leverage competitive pricing, which we pass on to clients.
WLN – Do you sell refurbished equipment as well as new equipment?
Yes, we supply refurbished, fully working mobility devices. They all come with a 90 days warranty or an extended warranty that suits your budget. Our engineers replace or repair components and test devices to industry standards. Purchasing refurbished devices, at a significant discount to the cost of new equipment, is an attractive option if businesses are looking to make savings around their technology budgets. It is also attractive tactically. Many companies are currently revisiting their software development plans in the light of the rise of Android in the enterprise market and the planned end of life of current Windows WEH7 and Win CE OS’s, both of which have implications for legacy client side applications. Others are attracted to maintaining conformity in their estate pending a major upgrade.
WLN – Which part of your business – new equipment sales, rentals and refurb sales – is growing fastest?
New equipment sales represent the largest element of our turnover. The UK market in particular is very competitive, more so than Europe. Our focus remains on added value services requiring skills and expertise that is not widely available, specifically solutions architecture and integration, software packages, wireless and networks.
WLN – Do you offer software as well?
We have a suite of tailored software solutions for enterprise mobile devices and barcode scanning. Our software covers stock control and stock inventory management suitable for applications across a variety of industries. Most notably, our stock control and stock management software is used in warehousing and distribution, retail and manufacturing.
WLN – Do you help with setting up wireless networks?
Yes we do. Pen Mobile Solutions, in partnership with Extreme Networks, provide high performance commercial and industrial wireless solutions that are scalable, intelligent, simple to manage, very secure and tailored to your business demands.
WLN – Do you offer maintenance and support?
Yes, we can provide hardware maintenance in house or offer a manufacturer’s extended warranty. Preventive maintenance and on-site support is provided according to what the customer requires.
WLN – What kinds of business, of what size, ie numbers of operatives and devices, are you geared to help?
We support global multinationals with mobility budgets from upwards of £500k per annum, as well as SME’s with more modest aspirations. The biggest differences we are seeing are with the technologies adopted. Global leaders always look to pioneer the latest technology; sometimes a SME just wants to get their foot on the ladder and move on from a pen and paper solution.
WLN – Which industry sectors are you involved with?
Predominantly our customers are warehouse and logistics, retail – food and non food, manufacturing, automotive, and the public sector.
WLN – What experience have you had working with the warehousing & logistics market? Do you have a dedicated sales team to service this sector?
All of our senior account managers are very experienced in the auto ID arena, working with a range of customers. Since there is a significant crossover between sectors, we tend not to dedicate the account managers to specific verticals. Instead our sales people are backed by our in-house specialists, who are product, technology and solution-specific ‘champions’.
WLN – What kind of business improvements do your customers see from working with you?
Our software helps customers make considerable improvements in productivity and task accuracy, providing excellent return on investment. We don’t sell, we solve problems. Tell us your problems or needs and we will give you our best independent advice. Our focus is on delivering benefit through technology, not delivering technology for its own sake.
WLN – How should people contact you with sales enquiries?
We are happy with either phone or email and are also contactable through our website www.penmobile.co.uk. Our account managers, senior managers, engineers and technicians are all on LinkedIn too and would love to hear from you. You can also scan the above barcode.
WLN – Where do you see Pen Mobile Solutions going from here?
We have some exciting service developments in 2018, including the official launch of our online event management package and an expansion of our wireless solutions through a new partnership with Extreme Networks. We are also excited about some bespoke solutions that we are working on with our customers, utilising new industry technology in combination with tailored software. We also look to our industry and the developments coming from our supplier partners. In 2018 we hope to see further developments in the Internet Of Things, RFID and Industrial Automation.