Device uptime keeps costs low. With demands from consumers to deliver faster, more efficiently and at a lower price point, it’s putting a lot of pressure on our technology. To stay ahead of the pack, organizations are working tirelessly to determine what changes can be made internally to optimize workflows and increase operational flexibility. When appropriately choosing to repair or refresh mission critical devices, businesses have shown massive growth through:
- Increasing worker productivity
- Dramatically reducing costs associated with data entry
- Eliminating picking and packing errors
- Reducing order and shipping errors
However, with barcoding mostly commonplace for manufacturing, distribution centers and warehousing in general, there’s still the struggle to keep up with technology to achieve continued growth in addition to maximizing uptime. The same is true in the data collection world. We are now doing much more than just scanning barcodes with our devices. We’re using them for Voice, Data (including messaging and texting), GPS, and various business applications.
For mobile workers, this has been a boon for their flexibility and productivity. Trouble is, the technology is moving so quickly that IT can’t keep up with device repairs and software upgrades, applications that need to be re-written, and the job of supporting a wide range of technologies that all work a bit differently and are often outsourced. Value-Added Resellers (VARS) are becoming nimbler by offering robust mobile device managed services such as advanced replacement, spare pool management and software loads (among others) to work toward minimized, device downtime in the field.
Manufacturers are also very in tune with the vast movement in the industry. Honeywell, for one, has developed a platform they call Mobility Edge, on which families of technology are built to make it simpler for IT to extend the life of their products and seamlessly integrate new ones when needed. Built with the Android™ operating system in mind, Mobility Edge™ devices will be able to support the next three generations of the OS – offering users a scalable growth path without having to compromise technology or resource to continue moving forward; reducing the need to constantly invest in new hardware simply to keep up with demand.
Keeping Familiarity in the Field
A core reason to have devices repaired rather than refreshing with new devices is familiarity and the mentality of ‘if it’s not broke don’t fix it”..But! When a device does break, the options to fix it and get it back in the field are many. A great way to alleviate device downtime is to work with a trusted VAR who offers mobile device lifecycle management or managed services to ensure you are maximizing efficiency. Here are a few of the most common managed services which offer an extension of IT departments and ensure devices are handled, repaired and deployed by experts:
Advanced Replacement including Spare Pool Management
Given the mission-critical nature of deployed devices, it’s unacceptable to be without for more than a few days. Within moments of a device breaking or failure, a simple process allows you to communicate its status and queue another device to be sent to your facility overnight. Devices are often stored in a spare pool and pre-configured to ensure there’s minimal time loss in the field. Advanced Replacement + Spare Pool management allows internal employees to focus elsewhere while a VAR takes care of the complex, expedient processing and deployment.
Provisioning and Deployment Services
When maintaining a number of mobile devices in different locations, complexities are countless. Utilizing Provisioning and Deployments Services allow you to lean on experts in the field to ensure your mobile equipment is exactly where you need it, when you need it. This service often saves time and hassle by ensuring your mobile devices meet company requirements, are kitted with accessories, labeled, packed, and shipped to your individual user facilities. Additionally, all mobile devices are fully tested, charged and prepared for immediate use.
Refreshing your Mobile Devices
With the rapid change of technology, it’s a good practice to stay on top of all latest and greatest devices trends and calculate the impact it could have on your business. Not only is there the potential of newer devices to have a potentially longer life, newer specifications could align with operational strategies while adhering to newly developed standards. Highlighted below are products on the scene that can help increase device uptime and provide the future-preparedness needed to keep total cost of ownership (TCO) low.
Dolphin CN75 Handheld Computer
This rugged, IP67 rated device has plenty to offer the mobile worker (particularly field service, DSD, and other on-the-go applications) and allows you to shift from Windows® to Android when your team is ready. By 2020, support for Windows Handheld and CE will cease, and the industry is moving in the Android direction. Taking advantage of a device that offers a dual operating system today means you’ll be poised and ready for tomorrow.
When looking for a mobile computer that performs with versatility and functionality, while maintaining industrial ruggedness the 9700A is worth considering. Fully protected with IP65 standards, 9700A’s 2D imager, extended range laser and near/far 2D imager give users a wide range of data collection options. Instant data transmission is made possible with IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual band pushes productivity even higher in WLAN environments. The new 9700A mobile computer operates on Android platform and Cortex A53 2 GHz CPU which enables fast and easy application development.
Bluebird EF500 Mobile Computer
Bluebird’s new flagship 5-inch mobile computer based on the latest touchscreen technology perfectly combines premium enterprise-class mobility and rugged industrial design. This device excels in the transportation industry as well as retail with the ability to handle rain, bright sunlight, and multiple drops and bumps. EF500 supports multiple operating systems, including Android 5.1, Android 6.X and Windows 10 IoT Mobile Enterprise.
Dolphin CN80 Handheld Computer
This Android-compatible device, built on the Mobility Edge platform, offers users even more flexibility with the options of both touchscreen and physical keypads. This allows workers who are more comfortable with a physical keypad continue to work the way they always have from a data entry standpoint, but without compromising any of the power and flexibility of newer technology.
Dolphin CT50 Handheld Computer
If you’re currently running on a Verizon 3G/non-LTE network, then this 4G/LTE device is perfect for your mobile workers. With Verizon announcing they will no longer activate new, non-LTE devices after June 2018, and will only commit to supporting 2G/3G through December 31, 2019, the time is now to start preparing your organization for the change. Although Verizon is currently the only carrier who has announced this change, there are possibly others to follow. For scan-intensive workflows, the CT50 will keep productivity high for your mobile employees; and with your choice of operating system, you decide when to migrate to Android.
What’s the next step?
Not sure how much life is left in your fleet of devices? We can help you determine your mobile device strategy to maximize current costs, reduce expenses and keep productivity levels high. Contact us today for an evaluation.