The logistics and supply chain industries have been at the forefront of the e-commerce boom, which has only accelerated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. To meet the rapidly increasing demand, businesses have had to make strategic changes to their operations, with 93% of supply chain companies intending to make their processes more agile, flexible, and resilient, according to a 2020 survey by Mckinsey.
One of the key tools that logistics and supply chain companies have turned to in this endeavour is rugged devices. Rugged devices are mobile devices designed for use in harsh environments, such as extreme temperatures or dusty conditions. They are designed to withstand drops and impacts, and to provide extra protection against damage that standard mobile devices may not be able to withstand.
Rugged devices come in various forms, including rugged smartphones, tablets, and handheld mobile computers. They often use the Android operating system, which is popular for its flexibility and compatibility with a wide range of applications.
In this article, we will explore the importance of rugged devices in logistics and supply chain industries, including their durability, data collection and communication capabilities, and resistance to environmental factors. We will also discuss the types of rugged devices commonly used in these industries, as well as the challenges and considerations that businesses must take into account when implementing them. Finally, we will examine some case studies and examples of companies successfully using rugged devices, as well as the future of rugged devices in logistics and supply chain industries.
Problems that the logistics and supply chain industries are facing
According to an article by Clarus in 2021, 49% of companies agree that their current technology is outdated. Outdated technology leads to loss in profits, productivity, and overall efficiency in their processes. Moreover, it also heavily affects last-mile delivery, which logistics and supply chain industries are heavily involved in.
Moreover, in a survey conducted by Compuware, 52% (more than half!) of their respondents state that technology is a critical factor in supply chain and logistics processes. Thus, companies and businesses need to keep up with the best of today’s technology.
However, regular consumer devices struggle to keep up with the environmental demands of these industries. That is where rugged devices come in.
What is a rugged device?
A rugged device is not your regular, run-of-the-mill device. Rugged devices are made to support and enhance the work of your entire workforce. In addition, a rugged device can help streamline operations in demanding environments such as logistics and supply chain industries. It promises mobility while also being resilient against different conditions, be it dust, moisture, extreme temperature, or falls.
A rugged device offers various features that are not available in regular consumer devices. These sleek but fully protected durable hardware can stand harsh conditions. These are drop tested to ensure that your team stays productive all day.
Interested? Click here to read more about Conker’s rugged devices, specifications. Conker offers an excellent rugged range from tablets to wearables. Now that those are covered, what are the benefits of implementing rugged devices in logistics and supply chain industries?
Types of Rugged Devices That Are Perfect For The Logistics And Supply Chain Industry
Logistics and supply chain industries rely heavily on mobile devices to stay productive and keep their customers satisfied. However, standard mobile devices may not be suitable for use in the harshest environments. This is where rugged devices come in.
Rugged devices come in various types, including handheld mobile computers, wearable devices, vehicle-mounted terminals, tablets and laptops, and scanners and barcode readers. Let’s take a closer look at each type:
- Handheld mobile computers – These are compact devices that can withstand extreme temperatures, dust resistance, and harsh environments. They are designed for field use and feature ingress protection to protect against water and other environmental factors. Testing methods such as drop tests and MIL-STD ensure rugged design that can withstand tough conditions. Make sure to check out the Conker NS6 here.
- Wearable devices – These devices can be worn by employees and are hands-free, allowing workers to stay productive while keeping their hands free. They are designed to withstand extreme conditions and are tested to meet military-grade standards, including IP ratings for dust and water resistance.
- Vehicle-mounted terminals – These devices are designed for use in transportation vehicles and are mounted directly onto the vehicle. They feature rugged design and are tested to withstand extreme conditions.
- Tablets and laptops – Rugged tablets and laptops are designed for use in harsh environments and feature ingress protection and MIL-STD testing designed to ensure ruggedness. They are built to withstand drops, dust, and other environmental factors, while providing access to company hardware and software.
- Scanners and barcode – readers These devices are used for data collection and are designed to withstand harsh environments. They feature rugged design, with IP ratings for dust and water resistance and MIL-STD testing to ensure that they can withstand drops and impacts. Need a long range wearable barcode scanner? Check out the Conker BG2L today.
The use of rugged devices in logistics and supply chain industries is critical for maintaining productivity and protecting against damage from harsh environments. Handheld mobile computers, wearable devices, vehicle-mounted terminals, tablets and laptops, and scanners and barcode readers are all types of rugged devices that businesses can use to stay productive and protect their hardware, software, and data.
Three Benefits of Rugged Devices in the Logistics and Supply Chain Industries
Technology is growing faster than ever, but what can supply chain and logistics businesses earn from implementing rugged device systems into their systems?
Here, we list three benefits of adopting the modern technology of rugged devices into your business:
Rugged devices for logistics and supply chain bring mobility and flexibility
When it comes to logistics and supply chain industries, it is important for workers to be as mobile as they can. Unfortunately, many businesses today still rely on scanning in one place, then uploading their data to the workstation, which is in another place. This system becomes inefficient, as employees waste time and energy doing such a task.
Furthermore, this can lead to employees’ daily tasks to pile up one on top of another. Employees can feel overwhelmed and choked, leading to distractions and a slower process of finishing essential tasks. When this happens, it can lead to disrupted workflows for the whole organisation. Moreover, the entire workplace suffers from delays and profit loss.
However, with the use of rugged devices, this won’t be a problem. The use of rugged devices brings flexibility into the workplace. Employees won’t have to bring their own devices to keep up with communication or struggle to stay updated with information. Instead, they can do everything with just a simple tap or pressing the device.
It is Easier to Communicate and Connect with the Team
All workplaces rely heavily on communication and collaboration to hand out tasks and smoothen out the transition of going from one task to another. As said in the previous points, rugged devices allow employees to do everything they need to do at the tip of their fingers.
Furthermore, it is easier for managers to keep track of employees equipped with rugged devices. Since rugged devices for logistics and supply chain are equipped with good WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS systems, keeping track of individuals in the workplace is no longer a problem. Therefore, rugged devices allow managers to have an easier time properly assigning tasks to employees. This leads to a workplace having a smooth and efficient workflow.
Moreover, it will also be easier to track and keep up with orders and deliveries that a team is working on. Therefore, rugged devices also bring transparency into the workplace.
Better Inventory Management
Inventory management can be the most menial and time-consuming for many logistics and supply chain businesses. Moreover, inventory management tends to be one of the most prone to human error and one of the biggest challenges most organisations face. When it comes to inventory management, it is a difficult task.
Rugged devices ensure that inventory turnover is faster but also accurate. Moreover, rugged devices like wearables make such processes easier for employees to do. This is because rugged devices, especially wearables, allow employees to become more aware of their surroundings. Unlike regular devices, there is little to no room for mistakes to happen during their tasks.
Rugged Devices are Secure and Strong
In many businesses, device failure is a widespread challenge that they face. This is no exception for logistics and supply chain businesses. Of course, this happens especially to businesses that still invest in regular devices. According to the same study by Compuware, over 48% of companies agree that technology failures affect their workforce’s performance.
This can be a very difficult problem to face when it comes to device failure in the warehouse. It can bring setbacks to the workforce. Every day, devices are subjected to different temperatures, can suffer drops from high places, and even drops into tiny puddles are possible. This can lead to device failures, and companies experience high costs of repairing and replacing these devices.
Totally replacing a technological system can be difficult and costly when taken at face value. However, the common challenge of device failure affects a company’s Total Cost of Ownership– which you can read more about here.
Rugged devices for logistics and supply chain can help tremendously. While regular devices can end up as distractions and too heavy to lug around, rugged devices can support and endure. It is crucial to choose and equip your workforce with the right technology. Conker’s devices are not only durable, but they are also easy to learn and get used to in the workplace.