We surveyed our customers in the retail, manufacturing, distribution, and transportation industries in the hopes we’d learn where we could improve. What we discovered was truly interesting. We learned customers certainly want to continue to receive their mobile devices in a timely, well-working manner, but we also learned they wanted to be empowered with insights.
One respondent noted, “I want a partner who understands changes in the industry, its impact on equipment, and choices that are available.”
We wanted to share the key themes from our survey because they directly relate to industry challenges, challenges you might be struggling with as well.
1) Evaluate data when planning a device refresh.
It can be a difficult and costly decision to transition from one technology to another. This decision is often based on a variety of factors including equipment obsolescence, the inability to source the device from the OEM, or a sweeping organizational shift in processes that requires a new platform or application.
Other top reasons cited for a refresh include:
- Change in operating system
- Need for more memory
- Additional hardware needs
- New features needed
- Discounts or sales
No matter the reason for your device refresh, it’s critical that you understand the data and specifications and how they relate to your unique business needs. Don’t be misled to believe you need to upgrade. Be sure to research all options, as alternatives might exist that offer significant cost savings over purchasing new devices. Talk to trusted industry resources and research all your options to ensure you’re getting the right equipment to meet your business needs.
2) Asset management is a complex challenge.
There’s no argument about the importance of understanding where devices are in the field, but the act of tracking assets to ensure they remain in working order is a complex and time-consuming endeavor.
Survey respondents cited establishing a go-to resource and/or assigning the task of managing RF/AIDC assets is a chief concern given the complexity of the task.
Asset management can be difficult, and these efforts take time and resources away from more strategic business needs, such as evaluating future equipment options and developing long-term equipment plans. By transitioning device logistics management to an external partner, or using the right technology to manage it in-house, you can remain focused on running your business, not tracking your devices.
3) There is a demand for unbiased expertise and support.
Our survey indicated 86% of customers were open to learning more about using new equipment, as long as they understood the benefits of the investment. We have more than twenty years’ experience and a strong network in a variety of areas, such as data capture, so we can consult with customers on the best equipment to purchase, even if they procure it elsewhere.
Your mobile equipment partner should have your best interests in mind. They should be well connected, experienced, and able to offer insights based on your needs, even if those needs are outside of your vendor’s core competency. The next time you engage with your mobile equipment vendor ask for their thoughts on a product or service that is outside of their “catalog” and ensure they’re willing to provide a thoughtful and thorough perspective.
4) Data reporting can help you evaluate and understand equipment problems.
Our survey also revealed that having actionable mobile equipment insights is also a key concern of respondents. Consider this survey response:
“I want to better understand equipment problems. I want better reporting around which equipment has multiple problems or which facilities have a higher instance of repairs.”
Mobile equipment data can help you determine which products are performing well and which equipment should be replaced. Companies should capture and analyze mobile equipment performance data such as:
- Failure rate
- Total number of failures per facility
- Total number of repairs per facility/warehouse
- Turn time
- Shipping costs
- Cost of reverse logistics
Use regular business reviews with your mobile equipment partners as opportunities to discuss bottlenecks and other operational challenges that could be improved. Be sure to invite them in to see your operation firsthand and discuss what data would offer the most significant operational impact.
Avoid Simply Checking the Box
Instead of simply “checking the box” when it comes to mobile device procurement, ensure your mobile equipment partners can provide you with industry expertise and guidance so you can make knowledgeable equipment decisions.
By thinking critically about your operation, asking the right questions, and by partnering with equipment vendors that combine data, insights, and equipment solutions, you’ll be better able to meet your current and future challenges.
Also, never hesitate to communicate questions and concerns to your mobile equipment partner when looking to refresh, upgrade, or improve how your mobile device assets are sought out, implemented, and tracked.