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Mobility: it’s more intelligent than we think

Mobility is one trend that is growing from strength to strength, with businesses looking to mobile solutions to help field workers operate at their peak efficiency. By empowering field workers with enterprise asset intelligence through the use of mobile computers, they can react to situations in any part of the value chain in real time.

Australian businesses have been keen to join the mobility trend and The Internet of Things (IoT) revolution – with a recent global study by Forester Consulting revealing Australian and New Zealand businesses ranked mobile computing, Wi-Fi tracking and GPS tracking as the top three most important elements of IoT solutions. 

Currently the uptake of mobility solutions in Australia has been targeted at crucial areas to concentrate investment and innovation with a particular focus on logistics in healthcare, agriculture, mining, and transport. 

Choosing the right technology 
Businesses are already seeing the benefit of a mobile workforce as it raises productivity and delivers better customer experiences.

However, in order to see these benefits businesses need three important tools to ensure their field service teams are doing their jobs efficiently and effectively – the right mobile devices, connectivity and business-grade application that help them work smart.

In choosing mobile devices for a field service workforce, the options typically are consumer-grade devices—such as smartphones and tablet computers—and ruggedised enterprise-grade handheld computers and peripherals. While consumer devices may offer lower initial costs, they often wind up increasing the total cost of ownership (TCO) over time. 

Mobile devices invariably take a beating in the field so consumer devices often have high failure rates. Ruggedised enterprise-grade mobile computers significantly outperform smartphones and tablets in terms of maximising reliability and uptime. 

They also provide superior data capture capabilities with purpose-built features like integrated barcode scanners, near field communications (NFC), industrial-grade battery life, touchscreen technology and RFID readers.

Real-Time Connectivity
To deliver the gold standard of first-visit fixes, field service workers must be connected to the resources they need exactly when they need them. They need real-time access to the best information, plus the ability to collaborate with their company’s product experts and to communicate with customers en route. To perform to the highest standards, they also need high-speed, always-on connectivity.

For example, delivery personnel using the right enterprise mobile computer will be able to communicate with the distribution centre, the destination and other delivery personnel to access corporate resources in real-time even when they are out in the field. This information can help increase efficiency, lower costs and reduce downtime. 

Good for customers and staff
If inbound products and resources can be tagged and monitored, and outbound products monitored in the same way, it’s much easier to track each product’s movement through the system analysing the time taken and the locations visited. When such data is run against things like shelf-lives for perishable goods, efficiency is maximised and wastage minimised. This way, customers can also receive exactly what they want, precisely when they want it.

There are safety implications too. A piece of equipment fitted with an RFID tag can be instructed only to work within a certain area or by authorised staff. It can also be programmed to lock out users who don’t have the required certification, protecting the individual and also protecting the health and safety standards of the organisation.

Good for the brand too
Mobile technology presents an exciting future for enterprise asset intelligence (EAI) where previously siloed departments can work together through integrated software to provide more visibility to business processes.

Every tool, device and process in your infrastructure is visible in a way like never before, enabling material handlers to supervise and coordinate everything upstream and downstream, streamlining and optimising, so that the values for which you stand by and for which you’re known aren’t only maintained, but enhanced.

The benefits are clear; there is more visibility in the materials handling environment, cost efficiency can be improved and your customers’ needs are kept at the heart of the operation, so they’ll notice the difference too. 


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