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Why Rugged Technology is the Way to Go

You’re under pressure to control costs wherever possible. If you’re looking at mobile technology for the workplace, it’s tempting to save money by purchasing consumer devices that cost less, especially if you’re buying a large quantity. After all, you figure each device is only good for a couple years anyway.

broken ipad rugged tablet pc Before you rush out to the store, though, think farther down the road. Consider your total cost of ownership for those light-duty devices compared to ruggedized equipment designed specifically for industrial use.

Mobile working environments give new meaning to “wear and tear.” Mobile devices have to withstand careless employees and inclement weather – drops onto hard surfaces, vibration, heat, cold, moisture, dust and dirt.

With that in mind, check out these findings from a study conducted by the Venture Development Corp. (VDC), an independent technology market research and consulting firm:

Industrial devices require fewer repairs.

The failure rate for commercial devices is about double that of industrial models. And commercial devices take longer to repair.

Downtime is synonymous with lost revenue. Equipment that doesn’t work is frustrating for employees, and lost productivity affects your entire organization. According to the VDC study, over a five-year period the average cost of lost productivity for commercial devices is $3460 more than for industrial models. That can easily swallow any initial savings you might have enjoyed.

Rugged devices last longer.

Nothing lasts forever, especially when it comes to evolving technology. But the VDC study showed 35% of commercial devices are replaced after just two years, 80% after three years. Only 2% of ruggedized devices were reportedly replaced after two years.

Typically the expected lifespan for commercial devices is at most three years. For industrial devices, it’s five years for mail/courier/freight applications and 4.5 years for warehouse and distribution center use.

Not only do rugged devices last longer, they cost less to support – as much as 47% less annually. Not surprisingly, commercial devices tend to have significantly shorter warranties.

Rugged devices have fewer “moving parts.”  

A rugged tablet PC and similar mobile devices are constructed the way you need them to be – they’re functionally powerful and physically tough. They incorporate all the tools you need to get your various jobs done most efficiently.

Trying to match that by attaching various plug-in peripherals to less-capable commercial devices doesn’t do the job. Add-ons make working with the device unwieldy, and that reduces efficiency. You’ll also have to buy and maintain more equipment, often from variety of manufacturers. There’s nothing streamlined about that.

Rugged technology = lower TCO.

Of course total cost of ownership (TCO) depends on exactly what you purchase and how many. But the VDC study indicates you’re likely to see average savings of $4062 for each device over five years. How does that compare to your projected savings at purchase?

Calculate the TCO of rugged vs. non-rugged devices now!

TCO includes initial cost of the device, any peripheral equipment, software, implementation, training and maintenance but also the costs of downtime and lost productivity, including IT support costs. You can save significantly with industrial-grade equipment, whether you use it in the field or within your supply chain.

Commercial devices just don’t hold up. So while you “only” expect a couple years use from each device, wouldn’t five years of top performance and vastly lower operational costs be better than two years of headaches? If your working environments call for rugged tablets, buying the toughest and most powerful you can get will undoubtedly be the least costly and the least annoying alternative in the long run. 

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