Industry Insights

THE ROLE OF RUGGED DEVICES IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN INDUSTRY

THE ROLE OF RUGGED DEVICES IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN INDUSTRY

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The Importance of Rugged Devices in the Supply Chain

Rugged devices have become essential tools across various industries. This is because mobile connectivity has become a crucial factor in manufacturing, storing, and transporting goods. With rugged tablets and handhelds, companies can ensure that deliveries are on time and inventories are accurate. In the supply chain, rugged devices are becoming a necessity as the operational landscape continues to evolve. Managers and owners must consider the tools that every employee uses.

Workers require devices that can assist in monitoring goods and products, which must be durable and equipped with the right features that will exceed typical consumer products.

Supply Chain During the Pandemic

The pandemic caused by COVID-19 has resulted in unprecedented changes in the supply chain industry. As the world experiences significant human and economic changes, supply chains are facing unique challenges such as supply and demand shocks, closures, lockdowns, and more. To overcome these challenges, supply chain companies are relying on mobile devices to stay connected.

During the pandemic, mobile devices have become even more essential in the supply chain. With social distancing measures in place, many companies have had to reduce in-person interactions, making mobile devices a critical tool for staying connected. Whether it’s through video conferencing, instant messaging, or other means, these devices have allowed logistics companies to continue their operations and serve their customers despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Devices In The Supply Chain

In the past, managing the supply chain was a challenging task due to the lack of reliable and efficient means of communication. However, with the rise of mobile devices, the exchange of data and information has become much easier and faster.

Today, from sourcing raw materials to delivering items to homes, the supply chain relies heavily on mobile devices. These devices play a critical role in providing real-time data on inventory levels, shipment status, and more. With this information, logistics companies can better track and coordinate the movement of goods, improving efficiency and reducing costs.

Moreover, mobile devices enable better communication and collaboration between different stakeholders in the supply chain. For example, manufacturers can easily share production schedules and delivery timelines with their suppliers, while retailers can receive real-time updates on the status of their shipments. In this way, mobile devices help to facilitate a more streamlined and connected supply chain.

Radio Frequency (RF) Devices

Radio Frequency (RF) devices have been a staple in the supply chain industry for quite some time. These rugged devices are particularly well-suited for use in manufacturing, warehousing, and delivery environments, where they play a crucial role in tracking inventory and goods.

RF devices use wireless technology to transmit and receive data, making them ideal for scanning barcodes and tracking products throughout their journey from raw materials to the customer’s doorstep. They provide real-time visibility and accurate tracking of goods, ensuring that inventory is accurately accounted for and that deliveries are made on time.

Moreover, RF devices can operate in challenging environments and withstand rough handling, thanks to their rugged construction. They are built to last and can withstand drops, bumps, and other physical shocks that are common in industrial settings.

In conclusion, RF devices have revolutionised the supply chain industry, enabling companies to manage inventory, track goods, and deliver products to customers more efficiently and accurately than ever before. As the industry continues to evolve, these devices are likely to play an even more important role in driving productivity and efficiency in the sector.

Rugged Devices

Rugged devices have become an increasingly popular option in the supply chain industry due to their durability and versatility. These devices are built to withstand harsh environments, ensuring they can keep up with the demands of the supply chain. Conker SX50 Android Rugged devices are a great example of rugged devices that are designed for use in the supply chain industry, with its barcode scanner providing a better way for employees to collect data, stay connected, and reduce errors.

Rugged devices are a total mobile solution that can greatly benefit supply chain operations. In addition to their durability, these devices are designed with specific features to help workers perform their tasks more efficiently. For example, some rugged devices come equipped with GPS, allowing workers to easily track products and shipments in real time. These devices are also equipped with powerful batteries to ensure long-lasting use and fast charging capabilities to minimise downtime.

In contrast to commercial-grade smartphones and tablets, rugged devices are specifically built to withstand the tough conditions of the supply chain industry. They are drop-resistant, dust-resistant, and water-resistant, which means they can handle the knocks and bumps of daily use. They also offer longer product life cycles, which is important in an industry where equipment needs to be replaced frequently due to wear and tear.

Digital Transformation in the supply chain

In the supply chain sector, digital transformation has become a key factor in improving operations and meeting the demands of consumers. By digitising their manufacturing, warehousing, and delivery processes, companies can achieve numerous benefits that contribute to their success.

One of the primary benefits of digital transformation is enabling a demand-driven operation. By utilising digital systems, companies can adjust their products and services based on current demand, helping to speed up the manufacturing of bestsellers and to cut losses. This flexibility allows companies to stay ahead of the competition and meet the needs of their customers.

Another benefit of digital transformation is the optimization of supply chain lead times. Through digital systems, companies can improve the lead times for raw materials, ensuring factory and warehouse availability, and reserving their capacities. This leads to efficient production and delivery processes, ultimately resulting in cost savings and increased customer satisfaction.

Stock outs and markdowns can significantly impact a company’s bottom line. Digital transformation can help reduce the occurrence of stock outs and markdowns by optimising lead times and responding quickly to consumer demands. This allows companies to maximise their profits while minimising the impact of markdowns and stock outs.

Finally, digital transformation can improve cost management and cash flow. By streamlining processes and utilising digital systems, companies can reduce costs associated with manual processes and paperwork. This leads to increased efficiency, lower costs, and improved cash flow.

Overall, digital transformation has become a critical factor in the success of companies in the supply chain sector. It allows companies to remain competitive, meet the demands of their customers, and improve their bottom line.

How rugged devices in the supply chain sector achieve digital transformation

Rugged devices play a vital role in achieving digital transformation in the supply chain sector. These devices are designed to withstand harsh environments and function seamlessly even in challenging conditions. By adopting rugged devices, companies can access various digital functions that allow them to stay connected and engage in digital transactions.

One of the key advantages of rugged devices is their ability to remain operational despite exposure to demanding environments. This ensures that the multiple networks involved in the supply chain can stay connected at all times, thereby enhancing productivity and reducing downtime.

According to a report by the Peerless Research Group, at least two-thirds of companies across various industries are expected to invest in mobile devices. Tablets and handhelds are among the most common devices that companies are investing in. Although the upfront investment in rugged devices may be higher than that of commercial-grade smartphones, the cost savings and improved productivity that these devices provide can offset the initial investment over time.

Moreover, a survey titled “Improving Supply Chain Efficiencies” revealed that mobile devices are widely used in supply chains. Among the most common types of mobile devices used are handhelds and tablets. These devices are user-friendly and familiar to workers, making it easy for them to learn new software or apps. In addition, the larger screens of tablets provide more visual options, enabling better visibility and improving efficiency. Some of the most common ways rugged devices achieve this are:

  • Barcode scanning for inventory tracking and management – 59% 
  • Packing, picking, and sorting – 56%
  • Inventory management and tracking  – 56%
  • Shipping and receiving – 56%
  • Restocking and put-away – 39% 
  • Item, box or pallet, and container-level tagging – 37% 
  • Quality control – 28% 
  • Asset management – 27% 

Common Challenges in The Supply Chain

The supply chain network is a complex system that involves various sectors, including manufacturing, warehousing, delivery, retail, and more. With multiple industries involved, it’s no surprise that the supply chain faces numerous challenges. One of the most common challenges is handling errors, particularly in warehouses and during the delivery process. With thousands of raw materials and finished products to handle, it’s crucial for the workforce to always keep track of orders and reduce the number of errors made.

Another challenge is maintaining accurate records. Keeping track of all activities in a warehouse and during delivery can be made easier through digital transformation. Reliable software and robust hardware can enhance data visibility and maximise services, allowing companies to keep track of all the necessary information accurately.

Finally, keeping costs low is a major challenge for many supply chain companies. Using advanced digital technology such as rugged devices and reliable software can improve warehouse operational efficiency, allowing companies to save time and money in the long run. By addressing these challenges and finding solutions that work, companies can ensure that their supply chain operations run smoothly and efficiently.

What Makes Rugged Devices Perfect for The Supply Chain Sector?

A Rugged Device is ideal for the supply chain sector for several reasons. Firstly, executives and employees require mobility in challenging locations like warehouses, retail stores, and shipyards. In these environments, devices are exposed to harsh conditions, such as extreme temperatures, water, and dust. Rugged devices are designed to withstand the harshest environments and can operate continuously without downtime.

Secondly, supply chain operations require the exchange of data between various parties, including manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. Rugged devices facilitate this by providing real-time data access and seamless communication.

Thirdly, the rugged construction of these devices ensures longevity and durability, making them an excellent investment for businesses. The use of consumer-grade mobile devices in challenging environments can result in frequent breakdowns, leading to downtime and loss of productivity.

Finally, rugged devices are designed with features like barcode scanners, which help workers quickly and accurately collect data, reducing errors and increasing efficiency. This capability makes it easier to manage inventories, collaborate with partners, and monitor the delivery process in real time.

The unique features of rugged devices make them perfect for the supply chain sector. They provide mobility, real-time data access, durability, and enhanced efficiency. These benefits enable businesses to operate more efficiently, save time, and reduce costs, resulting in better services for customers.

Mobility in the supply chain

Mobility is essential in the supply chain industry, and rugged devices are a key component of achieving this mobility. By providing real-time visibility of operations, a rugged device can improve decision-making, speed up order processing, and enhance customer service from the warehouse to delivery. Most of the activity in this industry occurs on the “edge” of the central network, in environments such as warehouses, shipyards, retail stores, and over the road. Therefore, instant and secure access to data is crucial.

However, these environments can be demanding, requiring tools with extra performance. Rugged devices are built to withstand these unique conditions and provide critical data for manufacturing employees, truck drivers, warehouse staff, and store clerks. They must be robust enough to withstand extreme temperatures, drops, and other challenges faced in the field.

Despite the importance of rugged devices in the supply chain industry, almost half of all devices used by employees in this sector are consumer-grade. This limitation hinders the industry’s ability to provide quality services and achieve digital transformation. To fully leverage the benefits of mobility and digital transformation, companies must invest in rugged devices that are specifically designed for the supply chain industry.

Keeping Workers Connected With Rugged Devices

Here are the key capabilities of the most rugged devices in the market that make them a perfect choice for the supply chain industry.

  • Fast and stable 4G connectivity and modern SIM technology
  • Reliable wireless and GPS capabilities
  • Dependable connections in a range of networks in all types of environments
  • Capability to easily switch between communication modes
  • Multicarrier modems and vendor-neutral data service option
  • Low failure rates and high-performance standard
  • Back-end systems and seamless integration
  • A security that protects devices, data, and connectivity
  • Exceptional tech support and warranty plans
  • Future-proof options such as the potential to tap into developing technologies
  • Long battery life

Rugged Devices in the Supply Chain Ensure Reliable Connectivity

Reliable connectivity is essential for mobile workers in the supply chain industry. However, it’s not always possible to maintain a constant connection with regular consumer devices. The quality of the mobile device can play a significant role in connectivity, in addition to network quality. Choosing the right solution for your workforce requires the ability to establish and maintain strong, uninterrupted connections. A Rugged device like the Conker NS6 can help ensure that remote workers always have a reliable connection.

Security on the Edge

Ensuring security is of utmost importance when implementing digital transformation in the manufacturing, warehouse, and logistics sectors. While there are numerous advantages to using rugged devices to achieve this transformation, it also exposes businesses to potential security risks such as unauthorized access and data breaches. Therefore, it is essential to carefully assess these risks and prioritize security standards when planning mobility solutions.

Rugged devices are equipped with powerful and reliable operating systems that meet industry standards for security. These secure devices provide added layers of security to protect your data and ensure that your team can work with confidence. By prioritizing security, you can protect your business and customer information from potential threats while enjoying the benefits of digital transformation.

Rugged Devices in the Supply Chain are Future-proofing

Rugged mobile devices in the supply chain sector offer companies the opportunity to achieve long-term success by future-proofing their operations. These devices are built with the most advanced operating systems and optional features, such as RFID barcode scanners, to ensure they can withstand the challenges of demanding environments. As organisations continue to digitally transform their supply chain operations, rugged mobile devices will remain a critical component.

Low Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

Considering the total cost of ownership is important for businesses, both sellers and buyers. Good business owners and managers need to research their products so that they can effectively establish the total cost of ownership. While rugged tablets and handhelds may be more expensive upfront compared to regular consumer devices, they provide benefits such as less breakage, downtime, and constant repair needs, which is crucial in demanding operations like in the supply chain. Additionally, rugged devices have a longer lifecycle and require less repair and maintenance, making them the best choice for companies in the long run.

Choosing the Perfect Rugged Mobile Device

Real-time supply chain management is all about having access to the right data while ensuring security and reliability with uninterrupted connections. The ultimate objective is to keep your workers productive, goods moving quickly and accurately through the supply chain and achieving a future-proof operation.

Based on research, reliable wireless connectivity and minimal downtime are the two most significant factors for managers to consider when selecting a rugged device. Other important features that are usually considered include communication reliability, screen display, and scanning capability.

Get the Full Solution 

Conker is a leading provider of rugged mobile devices that are specifically designed to meet the needs of businesses operating in extreme conditions, such as the supply chain industry. Conker’s devices are built with the most advanced technology and feature-rich options to ensure that your workforce stays connected and productive.

One of the key features of Conker’s rugged tablets, handhelds, and wearables is their durability. These devices have an ingress protection of 55 and up and are designed to withstand the toughest conditions, such as drops, extreme temperatures, and water exposure. This makes them the ideal choice for workers in the supply chain industry who are always on the move and need a device that can keep up with their demanding workload.

Another important feature of Conker’s rugged devices is their reliable connectivity. These devices are equipped with the latest wireless technology, including Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity, to ensure that your team always stays connected to the network. This means that workers can access critical data in real time, allowing them to make informed decisions and improve efficiency.

Conker’s rugged devices also come with a range of optional features, such as vehicle mounting assembly, docking stations, and peripherals, that are tailored to meet the needs of businesses in the supply chain industry. These additional features ensure that workers have everything they need to complete their tasks efficiently and effectively.

In addition, Conker’s devices are built on the most reliable Windows and Android Operating Systems, ensuring that your team can add layers of security to your data. This is particularly important in the supply chain industry where security and data protection is of the utmost importance.

Furthermore, Conker offers a range of support services to help businesses get the most out of their rugged devices. From installation to training and technical support, Conker’s team of experts is on hand to help businesses optimise their operations and achieve their goals.

Conker’s rugged durable devices are the perfect choice for businesses operating in the supply chain industry. With their durability, reliable connectivity, and optional features, Conker’s devices provide a complete solution that can help businesses improve efficiency, reduce downtime, and achieve their goals. To find out more, get in touch today.

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Conal McGuirk

Conal McGuirk

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