"Mobile Solutions for Material Handling: Reliability Rules, Even as Uses and Devices Evolve"
In today’s supply chains and within the facilities responsible for moving goods and fulfilling customer orders, accuracy and uptime are everything. If a customer order is wrong, or falls behind on promised delivery dates because of a downtime issue with devices or systems, and customers will turn to other sellers and may never come back. That’s why characteristics like reliability, accuracy, and ruggedness top the list of qualities that supply chain professionals want to see in the mobile devices they rely on for order fulfillment.
A recent study conducted among manufacturing, distribution, logistics and warehouse managers by Peerless Research Group on behalf of Modern Materials Handling for Supply Chain Services and Honeywell Scanning and Mobility, reveals that rugged devices are most suitable for use in warehouses and distribution centers (DCs), as well as in manufacturing facilities and for most logistics operations. As usage and investments in mobile and wireless technology increase, and the labor force becomes accustomed to using smart phones and other consumer-grade mobile devices in their personal lives, there may some desire to adapt consumer devices to tasks within warehouses and DCs. But the recent survey shows that when it comes to mobile computing in industry, users want and need ruggedness and reliability, as well as scanning speed and accuracy. Consumer-grade mobile devices may have their place in customer-facing applications such as field sales, but when it comes to the full range of mobile devices for industry, rugged solutions are the most popular option. In fact, 81 percent of respondents to the recent study ranked ruggedness as an “extremely important” characteristic for a data collection device, matched only by scanning accuracy.
a “rugged” variant. The research also indicates mobile solutions for the supply chain will evolve and expand into new applications such as labor management and quality management—tasks that tend to involve more interaction with a graphical user interface and less scanning, but still call for device durability and scan capability. Overall, a significant finding is that the need for mobile computing devices is expected to increase, with 64 percent of respondents saying they plan to increase investment in data collection technologies over the next two years. So expect growth and evolution in mobile solutions for the supply chain, but with a continued preference for reliability so that operational tasks aren’t slowed down or compromised.