Rugged devices were once the domain of mine sites. Mine workers needed a device that could cope with the extreme temperatures, dust and rough treatment on site. Now, rugged devices are used across a range of different industries including logistics and transportation, after a surge in popularity in recent years.
In a Panasonic survey of warehouse and logistics managers, some of the greatest challenges identified as being associated with the work were:
Increasing process efficiencies (71% of respondents)
Meeting customer expectations of service levels (56% of respondents)
Providing workers with suitable and appropriate devices (55% of respondents)
Fulfilling service orders more quickly (47% of respondents)
Improving visibility across relevant supply chain activities (44% of respondents)
Most of these challenges can be overcome with rugged devices. The capabilities of rugged devices make them ideal for the logistics and transportation industry. Their key features and capabilities include:
Fast and stable 4G connectivity
Dependable connections to a range of networks in all types of environments
Ability to switch between communication modes
Reliable with low failure rates, high-performance
Seamless integration with back-end systems
Security that protects the device, corporate data and connectivity
Exceptional support and warranty plans
Peace of mind with future proofing available
Why the Logistics and Transport Industries Need Rugged Devices
Here are 6 reasons why rugged devices are the future of the logistics and transportation industry.
#1 Dash Mounted Devices
Consumer devices aren’t designed to cope with the high temperatures inside a vehicle, but a rugged device can be left in a vehicle and still work when the driver returns. Rugged devices also have the accessories required to mount a tablet or smartphone with high quality vehicle docks and car chargers available. The mounting systems allow the driver to safely use their device to see their next stop or directions.
The display of a rugged device is made to be readable in direct sunlight, helping make it suitable for indoor, outdoor and in vehicle use.
#2 Connected to Head Office
Gone are the days when field workers were cut off from the rest of the organisation. A rugged device might be pocket sized, but it can be powerful enough to run the most powerful software. It means workers on the road are able to access the same systems and update in real-time as their office-bound colleagues. Field workers no longer feel like they’re behind on what’s happening in the organisation.
#3 The Link in Logistics and Supply Chains
The pandemic has caused some of the biggest disruptions to supply chains than have ever been experienced. Supply and material shocks, demand shocks, lockdowns, shipping and trucking problems; more than ever, workers need to stay up to date with the latest developments.
Even with lockdowns and social distancing requirements, manufacturing companies, warehouses, retail, and delivery services are able to stay connected. Rugged devices are the link that allows everyone to stay in the loop, not just those sitting in front of a desktop computer. With supply chain issues tipped to continue until 2023 in some industries, organisations will continue to rely on information technology in supply chain management - and rugged devices are the tool they’ll rely on most heavily.
#4 Built-In Barcode Scanners
Drivers no longer need to carry around outdated, bulky barcode scanners. Using a smartphone or tablet, they have access to a built-in 2D barcode scanner. Drivers never need to worry about their device going flat if they aren’t charging it on the go. Most rugged devices have the capacity to deal with hot swapping batteries so there’s no need to power down the device.
Using barcode scanners helps keep track of all activities in the delivery process and warehousing. Rugged devices allow organisations to have more accurate record keeping than manual methods and greater data visibility.
#5 Demand Driven Operation
With rising costs and margins squeezed, organisations need to do what they can to preserve cash-flow. A rugged device with its connectivity capacities means a business can operate on a demand-driven operation. A digital system allows materials and goods to be ordered only as required reducing the costs associated with holding stock and markdowns.
#6 Low Total Cost of Ownership (TCOO)
While rugged devices look expensive, it’s important that organisations consider the total cost of ownership. Using consumer devices might look like the most economical option but once you factor in lifecycle, the cost of breakages, downtime, constant repairs and unproductive staff time, a rugged device often comes out as the most economical option. The lifecycle of a rugged device is at least twice the lifecycle of a consumer device.
SOTI for Managing Rugged Devices on the Go
Using rugged devices has plenty of upsides, but if the mobile worker rarely goes into the office, they don’t have access to IT help desk staff. That’s where SOTI MobiControl Solutions comes in. SOTI MobiControl makes it easy for in-house IT staff to manage the devices used by mobile workers.
The SOTI Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution was built using world-class technology. The powerful MobiControl offers the following capabilities for internal IT staff to manage the rugged devices held by colleagues who could be anywhere in the world:
Problem Diagnosis - IT staff can access diagnostic and imaging tools to create baseline diagnostics of a device and also identify an issue that may cause a problem in the future.
Help Desk - A help desk operator can use SOTI to gain control of a rugged device remotely using any network connection. The operator can then manage and view services, tasks, files and device registration.
Data Synchronisation - SOTI stops the frustration of mobile staff not having access to the latest files and data.
Asset Management - Use SOTI to keep track of hardware and software assets, as well as automatic reconfiguration according to location.
Software Development - IT staff use SOTI to deploy new software or updates to all devices over any network connection.
Reporting - SOTI helps with standard or custom reports to monitor mobile operations.
Future trends in logistics and transportation all point to the increased reliance on rugged devices. If your organisation is looking for a model of rugged device that can improve the efficiency of the business, contact Roaming Technologies online or and speak to one of the rugged experts on 1300 131 933.