Arizona Iced Tea uses 200 iPads in sales process

When standing in front of the cold drinks section of the local convenience store, many people look for the tall can of Arizona Iced Tea or one of its other flavors. What those consumers may not know is the old-school sales approach previously used by company had been abandoned.

According to a recent CITEWorld article, up until 2011, the 200 sales people in New York and Florida were using paper and pencils to take down and submit orders. They had not changed the approach in the 20-year history of the company. The owners preferred the simplicity of paper and pen, refusing to upgrade. However things started to change in 2008 when a new CIO was appointed.

Andrew Knapp, the company's IT administrator, told the news source that, immediately, new systems like an ERP for inventory control was implemented and plans for updating the sales process were discussed. There was reluctance because of a failed Palm OS experiment in the mid-2000s that started losing money.

The new plan gained support when it was revealed that it would be based around the Apple iPad. They started testing the program with 13 iPads in the summer of 2011, a process that included a custom-built Web application.

"We told the sales people that from now on they weren't going to use paper and pencils and would now use the iPads," said Knapp. "Most of the sales people had already used an iOS device already, so we did quick training for those who hadn't and sent them on their way."

Currently 200 salespeople are apart of the iPad deployment and the company has added new backend systems to improve the integration. With the help of an IT consulting firm that is familiar with these systems, any business can take advantage.