When IT managers purchase new devices for the enterprise it’s human nature to choose familiar consumer products. While this may not seem like a big deal, the reality is, consumer products are not designed for processing intensive enterprise applications or built to withstand the assault of harsh industry environments. Selecting the wrong tablet for the job can result in increased hardware cost over time, and a decrease in team productivity. So, if you’re considering adding tablets to your supply chain team’s tool box, take note — rugged tablets pose significant advantages over consumer tablets.
Features of Rugged Tablets vs. Consumer Devices
When considering the right tools for warehouse or field use, it’s important to start by researching manufacturing specifications. All tablets are not created equal. In short, a tablet that’s intended for surfing the web cannot withstand the demands of ERP or logistics programs and environments.
Enterprise tablets are built to withstand everything from being dropped on a cement floor, mounted on a fork truck, and operating in less-than-clean settings – in short, being available when you need it. While consumer tablets are fine for home use, when it comes to mission-critical applications, the tablet you use should seamlessly integrate with your existing networks and systems. For your consideration, here are a few additional reasons why rugged tablets designed for commercial applications trump made-for-consumer devices.
They Can Withstand Indoor and Outdoor Use
If you’ve ever spilled a drink on an iPad, chances are the device stopped working shortly thereafter. Whether they’re dropped, spilled on, or used outdoors, rugged tablets are designed to withstand a variety of human errors and will withstand many of the everyday scenarios that logistics teams endure. Your teams will spend less time managing RMA’s and spare devices and more time doing your real job.
Their Batteries are Designed to Eliminate Downtime
Daily use of consumer tablets greatly decreases their life expectancy. Rugged tablets have removable batteries that can be charged and replaced with ease, keeping downtime to a minimum. Some products, like the Zebra ET50/55, have the option to add an expansion pack battery for optimal run time. This option can provide even greater efficiency gains as their batteries are hot- swappable. This means that your team can change batteries mid-task without having to power down mission critical applications.
You Can Customize Their Operating System(s)
Whether you prefer using an Android OS or Windows, rugged tablets can be custom configured to your business specifications. They typically have higher-power processors, allowing warehouse managers to run even the most demanding applications and dashboards simultaneously. This flexibility enables IT staff to deploy hardware and software solutions more efficiently.
There Are a Variety of Accessories to Choose From
Whether you require docking and charging stations, or need more scanning options, rugged enterprise tablets allow you to customize your entire configuration. Zebra provides two enterprise scanning systems in their ET50/55 models, which makes them ideal for delivery drivers or warehouse employees who are responsible for taking inventory.
Additional Benefits of Using Enterprise Rugged Tablets
Consumer-based tablets can be distracting to employees, as they include Google mobile services and applications out of the box. Even if your team is trustworthy, they may find it hard to resist the temptation to look up the nearest sandwich shop or a place where they can get their oil changed while they’re on the clock. Multiply this by the number of employees you have on your payroll, and you can be looking at hours of lost time week over week.
Last but certainly not least, warranty and service options for rugged tablets far surpass the options that are available for consumer-based devices. Your enterprise-level infrastructure should include hardware that’s built to last, but sometimes even the best devices need fixing. A credible supplier will provide you with everything from maintenance plans and troubleshooting, to repair and replacement services. This will help take the burden off of your IT team. No longer will they be forced to drop their other responsibilities in an effort to get team members back online.
Companies such as Bar Code Direct help IT and Logistics teams select and purchase the best hardware and software solutions. With more than twenty years of experience under their belt, the Bar Code team helps their transportation and logistics customers manage inventory, strengthen security, and increase production and labor efficiencies. They also provide businesses with a free barcode systems health check. If you’re looking for guidance, or upgrading your facility’s equipment, schedule a health check with Bar Code Direct today.