Mobile computing devices are what keep your inventory in line, your shipments on time, and your warehouse humming. They come in all shapes and sizes, from rugged mobile computers to enterprise tablets. But when is it time to replace them? Below are the top drivers of change, in order of urgency.
Your employees on the floor aren’t happy with their mobile computing devices.
These people are in the trenches everyday so they’re most familiar with both how the technology works and its pitfalls. Think about it this way: if your team doesn’t have the tools they need to succeed, how do you expect them to get the job done right and on time?
More often than not, you already have the technology in place, but it’s not physically working or meeting your team’s needs anymore. If this is the case, you should consider upgrading not only your mobile computing devices, but also your asset management software. Strive to implement a solution that can grow with your business, not just a solution that meets your needs at the point of implementation.
Here are some common problems your warehouse workers may run into:
- The software on the device is too slow and causing inefficiencies.
- The rugged barcode scanner has been dropped one too many times and doesn’t work.
- The device isn’t user-friendly, perhaps due to its interface or ergonomics.
Someone upstairs is making a change to your current system.
While these team members may not be on the floor, they oversee the logistics and daily operations of your company. Consider them to be the brains behind the operation. Warehouse workers are more concerned with the performance of the mobile computing devices, while logistics managers look at a bigger picture. Sure, they’re still concerned about common wear and tear problems. But they also are interested in maintaining a secure environment, new features, and compatibility with software.
A new host system can cause a whole host of issues. Barcode scanners and printers do not speak a universal language. Each system requires compatible software to function. That’s why many warehouses run into problems when they open up a box of barcoding equipment and hope to get to work right away. It takes careful consideration to purchase the right equipment, as well as taking the time to set it up properly.
Technology is always changing, and it’s important for your team to stay current. Not only does it increase your efficiency, but also keeps your organization’s information secure. Many times manufacturers discontinue products, and they no longer support their old equipment. That means no more software upgrades and having quite a hard time to find replacement parts. Replacing the equipment may be an investment, but you’ll save yourself headaches down the road.
You don’t have to wait until your technology is discontinued to consider an upgrade. Many logistic managers want to empower their team with features that their old equipment is lacking. For example, many new mobile computers have cameras built in. This feature could come in handy to document any damaged incoming shipments.
You need to follow new regulations for your supply chain.
Once in a blue moon, a governmental or international organization introduces a new mandate that everyone in your industry must follow. Their goal isn’t to disrupt your process but rather to encourage your team’s safety and efficiency. These regulations aren’t typically the strongest drivers of change simply because you have years of leeway. For example, the ELD Mandate was announced in December 2015 and won’t be fully enforced until December 2019.