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Transport and Logistics – the business case for rugged devices

09 May 2022

Transport and Logistics (T&L) is a highly digitised industry, using mobile computing devices for day-to-day operations across the board. Rarely will you find anyone with a clipboard and pen and, if you do, it’s likely that it’s because the operative has been let down by their digital technology.

For a while, and largely to keep costs down and digitise a business quickly, there was a trend for the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model with workers using their own smartphone to perform their daily tasks. While that is a ‘quick and dirty’ means of moving your workforce onto digital workflows, it comes with inherent problems.

Firstly, while it’s assumed that most people these days own a smartphone, that’s not always the case. Secondly, it relies upon a worker having sufficient data in order to operate the required apps or access their internet browser. Thirdly, device security is solely the responsibility of the device owner who may use weak or obvious passwords, unwittingly giving third parties access to the device. And finally, these devices typically have a very low Ingress Protection (IP) rating which means they are prone to breakage. So, while it may seem a great idea, there are many reasons why employing a BYOD strategy is risky.

We’re going to focus on the last point, and discover why rugged devices really are worth the investment for T&L enterprises.

Cost of failure

Cost of failure is a significant risk to a T&L operation. Not only does device failure immediately stop a worker in their tracks, but it also results in unhappy customers, reputational damage, and costly operational downtime. As we touched on before, consumer devices simply aren’t made to last in an enterprise environment where they can be repeatedly dropped, lose connectivity, have a shorter battery life and typically do not have toughened screens. And, adding a ‘rugged’ case to an enterprise device simply is not enough to prevent issues. A device with a high IP rating can withstand multiple drops to concrete, has a toughened and recessed screen and is built to prevent ingress from water, dust and dirt so it can survive even the toughest conditions.

While this may sound expensive, rugged devices last up to twice as long as their enterprise counterparts and so their Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is typically much lower than that of repeatedly replacing or repairing consumer devices.

Supply Chain Visibility

With a fit-for-purpose estate of devices, the digital supply chain is connected to each and every device and live data is shared throughout. This ensures that real-time information is available to managers, operatives and customers which means the status of goods is known at all times, providing full visibility to all stakeholders.

Data capture capability is vital to providing this live information so integral scanners, NFC payment capability and signature capture are common features of rugged mobile devices, enabling your workers to operate a single device for all their needs.

Accessories

There is a wide range of enterprise-specific accessories available on the market, all designed to make a worker more productive. Whether it’s a dash-mounted charging cradle, a hand strap, a stylus, a belt holster or an RFID-enabled sled, each performs a specific purpose specific to enterprises such as T&L and are designed to maximise worker productivity.

Efficiency

Rugged devices are designed to multi-task, connecting with different information points at once and performing multiple operations at the same time.  They are built to perform every function a worker will need, all from one device. This not only streamlines workflow processes, but means operatives spend less time juggling multiple devices and have everything they need to perform their job at their fingertips throughout their entire shift.

At the individual level you can see how this would make a single worker more efficient, for an entire workforce this translates to substantial time and cost savings across your fleet.

And finally…

If you are still operating a BYOD policy or have equipped your T&L workforce with enterprise-level devices, you are no doubt experiencing high failure rates and breakages which cost more in the long run. With worker downtime and staff underutilisation as a result, your costs are likely to be significantly higher than if you invested in an estate of fit-for-purpose rugged mobile computing devices and whether you realise it or not, this will also be negatively impacting on your customer service and satisfaction levels.

Why not give our specialist team a call to discuss your current devices and get free and impartial advice on how to upgrade your estate. Call us on  03333 660 842 or contact us here for an informal chat and find out how you could benefit from our services.

 
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