From its upstairs office in Locust--population 2,955--Lee Pickler's company oversees hundreds of businesses' wireless systems in the United States and Canada for which mobility is vital and walls are irrelevant. Pickier is president of ScanOnline, a provider of network infrastructures, mobile workforce solutions, data collection technologies and support systems that make business enterprises a smooth-running sum of their movable parts.
An array of mobile handheld computers, tablets, bar code scanners, label printers and WLAN (wireless local area networks) capabilities allows ScanOnline to customize supervisory control and data acquisition systems (SCADA) and asset management to help employees work efficiently on the go, from anywhere. Most of the company's early clients were warehouse companies.
"The term 'mobile workforce solutions' refers to any place that there is point-of-use activity, anywhere people have to do inventory transactions, delivery transactions. Now we're able to take computers and move them out to the point of use," Pickier says. "They can scan bar codes, be directed to what to do and run the right applications to do their job. These are things that can happen outside the four walls. They have the computer with them so they can do their work."
Thus, ScanOnline manages the technical end, so companies can better manage their transactions. In 1999, Pickier and a co-worker at a bar code data collection manufacturer--Compsee, in Mount Gilead--stepped out to form their own business. "We wanted to add more software and professional services to what we were doing," says Pickier, who has a computer programming degree from Stanly Community College.
They started the business in Albemarle, but moved to commercial property he owned in downtown Locust when the city revitalized its town center. "Locust is close enough to Charlotte (25 miles) that it helps us in recruiting and pulling talent from the Charlotte market. We want to stay in Stanly County, because that's where our families are, but we have the four-lane highway to Charlotte."
The size of ScanOnline's office staff ranges between 10 and 15, with a management team, sales, operations management and the core technical team in technical support and engineering. The Managed Services group also is on-site, where it works 24/7.
"One of the things we've done in the last year and a half is add Managed Services. In the past, it's been Project...