Today's guest blog comes from John Holleran, President and COO of Xplore Technologies.  John explores 5 factors that should be considered when purchasing vehicle mounted mobile computers.

John makes great points to which we would add another critical consideration: implementing the most reliable and efficient solution connecting these warehouse devices to server-based Warehouse Management Systems (WMS).

Click here to find out why server-side terminal emulation is the best choice for the efficient warehouse

5 Criteria for Selecting Warehouse Devices and Gaining Efficiency

Implementing new handheld devices in your warehouse is a daunting and costly endeavor. Equipping each vehicle with the necessary devices can put a dent in your budget, and managing thousands of pallets and accessing their locations on demand requires optimum efficiency. Harsh environmental conditions can slash your tech’s life span.

But maintaining a high level of productivity — and keeping your sanity intact — starts with smooth and efficient operations in your warehouse.

Fortunately, warehouse devices technology is evolving to help you gain efficiency and maintain a competitive edge. To make a wise investment and maximize warehouse efficiency, make sure your device system meets these five criteria: 

An Ingress Protection rating of 65 or higher to protect against harsh conditions

For tablets and computers to survive and function properly in harsh conditions, they need to have an IP65 rating or higher. The first number following the IP represents how well solids, such as sand or dust, can penetrate its enclosures, while the second number suggests how easily liquids can seep in. If your tech experiences extreme temperature swings, condensation can build up and cause electrical shorts. Clouds of dust, pools of water and constant vibrations can also wreak havoc on consumer products. 

Sufficient backlighting to reduce glare

Seeing device screens in normal lighting conditions isn’t a problem, but what about when you’re in direct sunlight? The glare off the screen of a typical consumer product will render it useless and severely undermine the efficiency of your processes. However, technology that uses a sunlight readable display will defeat the glare and make your screen easy to see, despite the lighting situation. 

Interchangeable mounting systems to combat mobility issues

Your handheld solution is only valuable if you can access devices when you need to. If they’re permanently mounted on a forklift or vehicle that breaks down, then the technology becomes useless. However, adding interchangeable mounting systems to your vehicles allows you to easily detach devices whenever you need to transport them or perform tasks away from the vehicle. This also means you can purchase fewer units and simply distribute them where and when they’re needed. 

RFID and bar code-scanning capabilities to improve visibility

Bar code readers, RFID scanners and other smart tools can help you keep track of inventory as it shifts in, out and around your warehouse. Digitizing your inventory can take the stress out of locating pallets and maximize efficiency.

Efficient antennas to ensure accurate communication

Environments with large metal machinery can potentially disrupt communication between devices. Most warehouses store thousands of pallets on steel racks. However, you can maintain the integrity of your communications network by using devices with heavy-duty antennas. They might not look as sleek as you’d like, but they will facilitate uninterrupted communication where consumer devices can’t.

Taking the plunge with new device technology can be intimidating, especially considering the factors that can impede or destroy your devices. But implementing the right solution can allow you to dramatically improve warehouse efficiency, work smarter and experience productivity gains.

Mark Holleran is president and COO of Xplore Technologies.


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