In certain industrial sectors, the growing importance and relevance of a rugged device is unmistakable. Given the kinds of operations and everyday tasks that are being carried out in the supply chain industry, employees need to work with company devices that are extremely durable, tough and powered with necessary features. Supply chain workers operate under some harsh, challenging and unpredictable environments wherein normal smartphones will definitely not serve the business purpose. This blog will explore the benefits of rugged devices in supply chain industry.
Rudded devices are turning out to be a major supply chain necessity. Your frontline workers and field force working in the supply chain industry are totally dependent on the usage of rugged devices as these devices play an irreplaceable role in helping them perform multiple tasks and operations under difficult terrains and tough weather conditions.
From helping supply chain executives to managing product inventories, collaborating with stakeholders and partners, scrutinizing accurate item delivery processes to communicating with the team in real-time – rugged devices’ use cases are immense. The importance of supply chain management cannot be fully realized without the inclusion of rugged devices. Let’s dig deeper to know how rugged devices are benefitting the supply chain industry in multiple ways.
What makes rugged devices perfect for the supply chain industry
There are multiple ways in which the rugged devices benefit the supply chain industry. Executives in the supply chain sector need to use mobile devices in difficult situations and inconvenient locations like warehouses, retail stores, over the road, on-the-move, shipyards, coal mines, construction sites, customers’ front doors and so on. Usage of rugged devices just allows the companies to reap the benefits of a strong supply chain management. In supply chain and logistics management, field executives need to instantly collect, feed, access, update and exchange data and information in the mobile-integrated enterprise software system in a most secure and accurate manner.
However, using conventional smartphones in these difficult terrains and tough operating conditions always come with a fear of device breakage, downtime or damage that can be caused by a number of unpredictable weather and working conditions. Hence, devices used in supply chain and similar industries are expected to be sufficiently tough and hardy to withstand sudden drops from a forklift or on the road while driving. They need to tolerate adverse conditions like rain, sandstorms, blizzards, extreme temperatures in places like mineral mines, construction sites, truck vibrations and so on. These devices must be waterproof to avoid damage even if they are dropped into a water-body in a shipyard. Hence, several companies can experience the benefits of rugged devices in the supply chain industry.
So, in short, frontline executives and field force involved in the supply chain industry are the ones who often indulge in multi-tasking and hence they depend on the durability of the rugged devices to ensure that all their business requirements from mobile devices are met without any extra hassle. The longevity of rugged devices makes them the perfect fit for this industry.
Rugged devices use cases in the supply chain industry
In the supply chain industry, workers mostly include company transportation staff, production line staff, delivery executives, warehouse staff and retail store clerks who need to keep up with the daily productivity and routine tasks of filling up critical data entries, which the supply chain operations depend heavily upon. According to the Panasonic report, in ideal cases, companies prefer using ruggedized devices with special features like reliability, connectivity, uptime, product design, screen display, and casings.
As per the same survey, rugged devices can be aptly leveraged in the supply chain industry for carrying out the following primary applications:
- Barcode scanning for tracking and inventory management
- Picking, sorting and packing
- Inventory tracking and management
- Shipping and receiving
- Restocking and waste management
- Quality control inspection
- Container level tagging and management
- Asset management
Rugged devices in the supply chain offer the required portability, flexibility, and convenience on top of other functionalities like larger screen sizes, integrated GPS, embedded broadband, extensive battery life, better processor performance, access to a wider suite of enterprise applications, barcode readers, and other functionalities. The new generation of rugged devices is expected to be used in an array of applications like tracking of goods in real-time, merchandise management, sipping, and storage.
Ruggedized handheld devices play a strong role in streamlining all the supply chain activities at different levels of the value chain, from start to end.
Manufacturing: Rugged devices are used by supervisors and engineers who can access and assess engineering schematics and track the work in process while keeping the management, customers, suppliers, and stakeholders updated and aware of the status of specific orders. These are also used to access applications, review data, issue detection, and problem escalation.
Warehouse: Factory staff can use rugged devices that can be considered as a low-cost alternative to forklift-mounted terminals and fixed-station computers. Rugged tablets integrated with RFID, barcode scanning and wireless LAN communications, can be used for activities like picking, packing, receiving, shipping and other quality/quantity measurement applications.
Transportation & Delivery: Rugged device usage makes it possible for the shippers and carriers to go paperless by keeping digital records and by automating hours of service tracking, pre-trip inspections and driver logs. The rugged device becomes a single digital source for providing onboard GPS, offering dispatch and scheduling information along with invoicing and inventory capabilities. Companies can also track their shipments with the help of GPS-enabled vehicle-mounted rugged devices that share details about vehicle/asset location and departure and arrival timings in real-time with the company and the customers.
Retail: In the retail part of the supply chain, rugged tablets are used for multiple use cases like RFID and barcode scanning, credit card processing, management of retail inventory, storage, exchange, line busting, mPOS, promotion tracking, NFC transactions, customer feedback gathering and so on.
Rugged devices when used with full purpose and proven results can simply enhance the benefits of a powerful supply chain management. As the importance of rugged devices keeps growing in the supply chain, so is the urgency for these companies to manage the rugged devices while securing the corporate data they carry within them. When it comes to securing, managing and monitoring your rugged devices, make sure to implement the right mobile device management solution for best business benefits.
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