According to a recent survey, 71 percent of distributors, building service contractors and in-house custodial/facility managers indicated that they use a smartphone while at work. The survey also found that 67 percent use a flat screen tablet computer. The survey, conducted by Tornado Industries, went on to specify the exact type of information accessed using the mobile devices.

Mobile devices were mainly used for the following reasons:
• Read articles from a variety of sources (33 percent)
• Check e-mail (29 percent)
• Keep in touch with current news (24 percent)
• Watch videos, play games, or "other" (14 percent)

"As to 'other,' some respondents say they use their devices as a [bar code] scanner," adds Jolynn Kennedy, marketing director for Tornado.

When asked if an app from a jan/san manufacturer could prove helpful, more than half (57 percent) responded yes, and most of the rest, about 40 percent, said they were simply "not sure."

When questioned as to what type of functionality they would like to see on a manufacturer's app, the respondents answered:
• Access to operating manuals and technical bulletins (28 percent)
• Find pricing information (22 percent)
• Locate product catalogs, brochures, case studies, etc. (17 percent)
• Ability to e-mail product information (17 percent)
• Online ordering capability (11 percent)
• Information about product inventory levels (5 percent).

"Finally, we simply asked if using a mobile device is improving their productivity," says Kennedy. "About 29 percent responded "somewhat;" half answered yes and that it was "considerable;" and the rest indicated mobile devices had significantly improved their productivity."