To survive the current instant-satisfaction consumer landscape, your business depends on accurate data and inventory information at a moment's notice. That doesn't happen if your barcode scanners and mobile computers experience a failure. Do you have a plan in place for the day your critical hardware stops working?
If you answered no, that's completely normal. Who sits around thinking about barcode scanners, anyway?
The reality: AIDC equipment isn't top of mind for anyone, until something goes wrong. Sound familiar? Operations are only as good as the people and equipment involved. Things are skating along great, until they're not.
We highly recommend having a trusted partner in place before the day your entire fleet of devices goes down. Here are six must-have qualities your device partner should have.
1. Flexible, Customized Barcode Repair Service
You should be able to send your MC9190s, VM1s, and SR60s to a repair shop and see the repair progress in real time. You should expect your device partner to have loaner devices on hand that you can use in the interim. And the entire turnaround should last seven to ten days, maximum (ideally less than that). These standards aren't obnoxious. The effectiveness of your organization's data capture devices reflects back on you. So why not spring for a flexible, customized repair plan?
2. Obligation-Free Barcode Scanner Repairs
A competent repair shop won't bully you into a multi-year service contract. Any vendor who asks for an extended commitment in writing, without truly understanding your business inside and out isn't really a partner, are they? If you need your scanning equipment to actually scan, a good repair partner will quote you a fair, flat price based on the device model and quantity. They'll get the device repaired in a timely manner, charge a one-time fee, and only offer advice if necessary.
3. Reliable, Future-Proof Data Capture Devices
Staying ahead of the technology curve is incredibly difficult. Even staying current is no small feat (hello Windows 8 mandatory update...). Mobile computers rely on their very own operating systems, have entirely different form factors and use cases, and are outdated every 3-5 years. A device partner will not just provide repairs - they will also keep you in the loop regarding the best scanners available. Where you decide to buying new toys from is your business. A good partner makes sure it's on your radar before something catastrophic happens.
4. Competitive Pricing on New Mobility Hardware
Buying mobility hardware from a reseller is going to yield a wide variety of experiences and prices. No matter what, someone is going to be adding points to the OEM price. Google new device specs and prices with caution. Once you feel you've done your research, reach out to a person you trust. Chances are, they are using similar research methods as you, can leverage longstanding relationships with the manufacturers, and can help steer you in the right direction for your business needs.
5. Extensive, Niche Expertise
An ideal AIDC partner should be your "guy/gal strictly for mobility hardware". The truth is, there are a lot of self-proclaimed experts out there. But if you look around, only a few can say they've been in the business for 20 plus years. A great partner thinks about the solution beyond the scanners and brings a vast archive of expert solutions to the table. Whether it's on-site installation, mobile device management configuration, or a detailed hardware rollout to hundreds of RDCs, the best partners can clearly communicate scope, costs, and provide straight answers.
6. Responsive Communication
Back to the basics here, but responsive communication from IT vendors has been in short supply for a long time. A partner is responsive to emails and calls, and has several ideas how to move forward when challenges arise. It's not really service or a partnership if the person on the other end goes dark when your operation is in a bind.
That's just a few things to keep on your shortlist when selecting a new hardware partner. If any of this resonated with you, let's have a quick conversation.
Carlton lives and breathes barcode scanners, so you don't have to.