As mobile computing technology advances, getting information in “real time” is no longer an option, it’s an imperative. If your company has not made a significant investment in real-time data collection and reporting technologies for your mobile workers, you’ll undoubtedly face missed opportunities—and missed profits. Once you have decided to invest your organization’s hard-earned capital into a system that will provide the instantaneous information you need, what factors should you consider? These are the questions the MobileDemand team is asked every day, so we’ve developed this quick checklist to assist you.
1. Elements – What type of conditions will your field personnel be subjected to? Will they be outside facing the weather? What happens if the system gets wet? Will it be regularly exposed to dirt, dust and other grime? Does the screen accommodate sunlight, glare and potential visibility problems?
2. Mounting – Will your system require vehicle mounting, where it’s exposed to constant bumps, potholes and road vibration? It may seem trivial, but road vibration in vehicle mounted systems can negatively impact most standard PCs.
3. Accessories – In addition to the core system, what add-ons could users incorporate to make their job easier? For example, does your xTablet have a barcode scanner that enables field reps to quickly read SKUs? Or perhaps you have field sales reps who sell in the field—where a credit card reader can enable Mobile Wireless POS and signature capture at the point of transaction.
4. Connectivity – Do your users need to be connected to an internal system for real-time reporting, GPS, or other internet-based applications?
5. Access to power – How long will the user be in the field, on average, without access to AC power for recharging? Does the current battery system in their portable device provide them with the power they require?
For most organizations, paying less upfront for a cheap laptop is not worth the hassle and cost of maintaining a system that’s forced to do a job it wasn’t designed for. When it comes to Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), ruggedized tablets are worth their weight in gold—and are proven to increase productivity and improve job satisfaction.
Finally, remember that customer experience in today’s world is VITAL to your brand image. If your sales or field representative is able to quickly and expeditiously handle a customer’s needs, you’re increasing the likelihood that they’ll return—and they’ll spread the word about your company. On the other hand, if the representative cannot handle the transaction due to inoperable equipment, the impact could be both detrimental and costly. It opens the representative to scrutiny and decreases client confidence when your team cannot complete a transaction due to inoperable equipment.
Research has shown that ruggedized devices designed for durability have average annual failure rates are 3.5 times lower than non-ruggedized models (11 percent compared to 38 percent). These numbers have a real correlation to many areas of your business:
- Customer Experience/Satisfaction – easier, smoother transactions make for better relationships.
- Increased Employee Satisfaction–something that’s tough to quantify; however, making the job easier is proven to increase employee satisfaction and lower turnover.
- Management Reporting – less downtime means instant access to information, which leads to better decisions and shortens time to payment.