Executive Spotlight: Kirk Tobias
Our Executive Spotlight series brings Carlton Technologies executives front and center to explore industry trends, discuss best practices and new products, and provide perspective on where the industry is headed. Today, we shine our spotlight on Kirk J. Tobias, Carlton’s President & COO.
Q: How do you see the mobile equipment market and Carlton Technologies Inc’s business evolving in the next three to five years?
KIRK TOBIAS: We’re seeing new mobile computing devices coming to market faster than ever before. The influx of new devices has shortened product lifecycles and placed companies under greater pressure to deploy the right technology and find partners to help them manage and maintain their equipment.
We’re evolving to better meet this need. Today, we offer net new mobile equipment through Honeywell, but we’re also expanding our OEM relationships so we can source across several OEMs to find the right net new or certified pre-owned equipment for our customers.
We’re also adding capabilities to provide managed services to customers throughout the mobile equipment lifecycle. We’re helping companies more effectively source, procure, provision, and deploy that equipment. Once it’s in the field, we’re helping them maintain it by managing their spare pools and providing warranty management services on new equipment. In those instances where we don’t service their equipment, we can still manage the device repair supply chain so it’s as efficient as possible.
Q: What types of companies would benefit from Carlton Technologies’ managed services offerings?
TOBIAS: Companies across every industry have to do more with less. There’s more pressure for companies to reduce costs, but there’s still that high expectation to effectively procure, manage, and maintain equipment.
Our procurement services provides clients with the right mix of new and certified pre-owned hardware, which helps them save on mobile equipment costs without sacrificing performance.
Companies also need to think about the mobile equipment lifecycle beyond procurement. There’s provisioning, staging & kitting, and deployment, and then companies still have to manage those devices once they’re in the field. Those responsibilities increase exponentially the more locations a company has. Our services help organizations add both expertise and bandwidth in managing warranties, asset tracking and reporting.
For Carlton, there is no “perfect customer profile.” It comes down to whether the company has the infrastructure, the time, and the resources to effectively execute these processes without sacrificing performance in other areas of their business.
Q: What do you see on the horizon for mobile equipment? What are the trends customers can expect to see?
TOBIAS: Up until now, most mobile equipment used Windows Mobile or CE platforms, but now we’re seeing more equipment using the Android OS. Android devices provide more flexibility and customization opportunities for customers. For example, if a customer can’t find an application to meet their specific need, they can engage a third-party developer to create it.
Another trend we’re seeing with mixed success is companies using consumer devices in their business environments. This has been a trend in the retail space where retailers are using iPods and sleds/scanner on the sales floor to look up items in inventory, find product information for customers, and for on-the-spot sales. This might work in some environments, but there is increased risk in using consumer devices in more rugged environments.
Customers should expect to see more cost-effective, ruggedized, Android-based “hybrid” devices coming to market to satisfy this need.
Q: How is Carlton Technologies helping its customers grapple with new technologies?
TOBIAS: It starts with understanding a customer’s functional requirements and ensuring they get the right solution to meet their needs, whether we sell that equipment or not. If we don’t sell it, we’ll leverage our OEM relationships to help them get the right equipment at the right price.
From there, it’s about going deeper to understand our customers’ pain points and then exploring new ways to overcome these challenges. For Carlton, that means taking a consultative approach—listening to our customers and then leveraging our relationships with hardware manufacturers, software developers, and ancillary partners to create a strategic technology solution.
Q: What is the one thing you wish customers knew about Carlton that they might not know?
TOBIAS: Carlton Technologies can provide the most value to customers when they engage us early in the procurement process. Oftentimes, customers come to us after they’ve already procured their mobile equipment. While we can certainly provide them with managed services and warranty management services to support them after the purchase, we can provide much more value if we’re part of the process from the beginning.
By engaging us early in the process, we can help them with new and used product sourcing, purchasing, contract negotiation, and so much more so they get the right equipment at the best cost.
Vice President, Operations
Andy joined Carlton in 2000, bringing with him significant technical experience in POS and handheld equipment, most notably at R2 Corporation. He is responsible for managing all aspects of Carlton’s Technical Operations, including Logistical Operations, Technical Services, and Support and Service.