Honda Manufacturing Replaces Rugged Laptops with Rugged Windows Tablets
In the quaint Midwest town of Russell’s Point, Ohio, sits one of the largest manufacturers and employers in the entire state, Honda Transmission Manufacturing (HTM). With over 10,000 full-time employees, HTM produces automatic transmissions, gears and four-wheel drive components that are supplied to other Honda companies worldwide.
HTM has been and always will be a state-of-the-art facility pumping out high quality products in an environmentally friendly manner. And while their facilities and technology are top notch, the mobile workers within the manufacturing facility are constantly yearning to be more productive and efficient.
HTM’s process of collecting data included pen and paper, rugged laptops, and numerous desktop PCs. Pen and paper was used when performing quality checks and machine checks throughout the facility. These paper forms were held on to throughout the day and transferred into the electronic system at the end of shifts. This process was time consuming and often time results in transcribing errors.
In addition to the time-consuming procedure of transferring data, many of the non-touchscreen rugged laptops which were mounted on forklifts and tuggers kept breaking. The laptops were unable to withstand the constant vibration, and USB port usage and battery life failed to meet minimal expectations. Additionally, poor WiFi connectivity often resulted in lost data and unnecessary downtime.
These challenges faced by HTM led their IT team to search for a touchscreen device which can take a beating and withstand the normal wear and tear of the manufacturing, shipping, and receiving environment. Overall safety, productivity and efficiency is what they were looking to improve on.
Honda Transmission Manufacturing looked at 8 different mobile solutions and narrowed it down to 3 – one of them being MobileDemand. After a successful trial period of the xTablet T1200 ultra rugged Windows tablet, HTM determined that MobileDemand had the best solution for their use case.
HTM replaced all their tugger-mounted and forklift-mounted laptops across five departments with xTablet T1200 tablets equipped with long life batteries and power converters. The devices are used to track all forklift and tugger activity throughout the workday while receiving and delivering parts. In addition, T1200 tablets were purchased to track pallets of completed goods in the offload area of their shipping department.
As a result of the success HTM saw with the xTablet T1200 Windows tablets over the course of 2 years, they decided to add xTablet T1600, xTablet T1400, and xTablet Flex 10 devices, also from MobileDemand, to their lineup. These rugged tablets were also used across five departments but for different applications including supplier visits, fire suppressant checks, employee badge scanning, and more.
HTM couldn’t be happier with the results they’re seeing since implementing the MobileDemand rugged Windows tablets. The devices, including the forklift mounts and office docks, are saving time throughout the plant, which as a result, is increasing productivity of the mobile workers and saving money.
Additional positive results that HTM is seeing include:
- Less downtime and IT support since the rugged tablets are not breaking as frequently as the rugged laptops did
- Improved WiFi connectivity, resulting in less data lost
- High performance barcode scanning, which speeds up the process
- Utilizing power converters with the forklift battery, meaning less money spent on spare batteries
- Built-in numeric keypad of the T1200 for quicker, more accurate data entry
“Working with a manufacturer and vendor who were so knowledgeable about their product and our industry made a huge impact on our decision. Not only did the product work as we were told it would, but the solutions, testing, cost, delivery, and follow-up were priceless to us,” said an IT Project Manager at Honda Transmission Manufacturing.