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RedPrairie CTO discusses Vortex Connect acquisition

Software provider to embed mobility across its solution footprint
By Josh Bond, Contributing Editor
August 20, 2012

Editor’s note: This item originally appeared on the Web site of Modern Materials Handling, LM’s sister publication.

On Aug. 13, RedPrairie announced the purchase of Vortex Connect, a pioneer in best-of-breed mobile workforce management solutions that strengthen business-to-employee (B2E) communications and operations. According to John Kopcke, RedPrairie’s chief technology officer, the acquisition will allow RedPrairie to embed mobility across its solution footprint, enhancing its already robust workforce management offerings. Josh Bond, associate editor of LM’s sister publication Modern Materials Handling, recently had an opportunity to ask Kopcke some questions about the impact of the acquired technology, and this is what he had to say.

Modern: What do the Vortex features allow RP end-users to do now that they couldn’t do before?
Kopcke: The Vortex acquisition will initially enhance RedPrairie Enterprise Workforce Management (EWFM) with new capabilities such as mobile shift management and bidding, mobile communications and operations management, and employee self-service. This ability to communicate with employees in real-time and through multiple touch points is a powerful method in improving the effectiveness of business-to-employee interactions. Additionally, RedPrairie will leverage this acquisition to embed mobility across our solution footprint, ahead of others in the market and to the benefit of our customers.

Modern: Inside the four walls, who is the end-user? Is this a management tool, or is it to be used by every employee?
Kopcke: Mobile-enabled workforce management solutions can be used to drive efficiencies and improve performance with both managers and employees, based on the organization’s needs. For example, an employee might use the mobile tool for self-service functions such as clocking in and viewing/selecting upcoming shifts, in addition to task management, or even communicating with management or colleagues. A manager might leverage mobile-enabled WFM for visibility into task management execution, KPIs, and labor spend, as well as real-time communication with employees. Additionally, it frees them from being tied to their PC and allows them to better engage with stakeholders/employees, ultimately increasing productivity.

Modern: What application do Vortex’s features currently have for warehouse management and what we think of as traditional labor management?
Kopcke: Mobile-enabled workforce management solutions transcend industry and operational discipline in the ability to maximize employee productivity, reduce costs, and foster team collaboration.  Whether you are located in a warehouse or a retail store, mobile-enabled solutions can help ensure employees are focused on the right tasks, at the right time, and if exceptions take place, managers and employees can communicate quickly to make sure business needs are met and execution gets back on track.

Modern: Is there any thought of adapting labor management, task assignments, productivity tracking, etc, to a mobile device?
Kopcke: Yes, absolutely. With the consumerization of IT and increasing acceptance of “BYOD” (bring your own device), a growing percentage of the workforce is very comfortable communicating and getting information via a mobile device, whether those devices are provided by their employer or it’s their own personal device.  Communicating with employees the way they want to be communicated with, such as through mobile devices, is yet another method in promoting the efficiencies and employee-empowerment that can be achieved through the right workforce management solution.

About the Author

Josh Bond
Contributing Editor

Josh Bond is a contributing editor to Modern. In addition to working on Modern’s annual Casebook and being a member of the Show Daily team, Josh covers lift trucks for the magazine.


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