Finding the right mobile device for warehouse workers

Zebra Technologies
Friday, 09 April, 2021



Rugged Android mobility solutions are essential to effective workforce augmentation and workflow automation at the edge of the enterprise.

Warehouse workers need devices that are purpose-built for the type of work they do and the environments they work in every day, whether that be a cold storage facility, hot loading dock or climatised facility.

Workers need to feel confident that, no matter what role they play or the type of tasks they are assigned with, they will have the ‘intelligence’ they need to meet performance standards and customers’ standards.

That is why warehouse operators cannot afford to compromise when it comes to mobility technology. Workers need devices that are going to work as efficiently as possible, in order meet fulfilment demands without compromising on the quality of their actions in the process.

How to find the right solution

Finding a future-ready mobility solution that enables modernisation without becoming disruptive is no easy feat given how many consumer-grade devices are marketed for enterprise use.

However, if you consider the impact that mobile technology can have on your bottom line from a bigger picture perspective, rather than focusing only on the upfront cost, then it becomes easy to identify which solutions can increase the efficiency of your front-line workflows.

All warehouse operators should consider the ‘total benefits of ownership’ versus just the total cost of ownership (TCO).

There are many factors that need to be considered when selecting the right mobile computer for each worker and/or workflow considering the wide variance in use cases that may exist in a single warehouse.

Key questions all warehouse managers must ask

  1. How comfortable and easy to use will the device be for the worker and what features are needed to ensure their safety (consider their clothing and specific tasks they perform)?
  2. Is standardisation of hardware and software platforms across multiple use cases (ie, on the store floor, back of the store or in the warehouse) an important objective for your operations?
  3. How long will the device be used before recharging is possible, and is a swappable battery source or hot-swap option specifically required?
  4. What level of device ruggedness is required — and is this the same for all workers (eg, cold environment, proximity to hazardous materials)?
  5. What level of security is needed?
  6. What’s the intended life cycle of the deployment?
  7. What peripherals or additional accessories need to be connected to the mobile computer (head-mounted display, battery, hand straps, protective boots, screen protectors, etc)?
  8. What level of compatibility is needed with your core ‘intelligence’ systems, such as your IoT engine, RFID-based track-and-trace technologies and any platforms powered by machine learning, computer vision or artificial intelligence?
  9. How easy will it be to manage the device while deployed at the edge of the enterprise?

Whilst this list is not exhaustive, it will assist in defining which basic product specifications workers require and which operational requirements should be prioritised when evaluating device options.

Zebra can help warehouse managers identify the best device for each of their workers, based on their typical work environment and target work tempo.

Discover how Zebra’s Android devices minimise the risk of worker downtime and maintain operational stability as demands grow.

Visit Zebra’s Warehouse Hub here.

Image credit: Zebra Technologies

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