Organisations that have high touch points and require data accuracy are no strangers to mobility hardware, but many are being held back by inefficiencies in either their device hardware or the software being run on their devices.

These challenges are compounded when organisations have large numbers of devices, and businesses with 50-1000 devices are finding it harder and harder to manage and maintain them cost-effectively. 

But with hardware being so vital to maintaining operations, giving visibility to stakeholders, and data accuracy, how can organisations ensure that they’re getting the most out of their hardware and lifting their productivity?

3 common mistakes that reduce hardware reliability 

There’s a huge variety of mobility devices on the market – ranging from rugged devices to smartphones and scanners – made by different brands like Zebra Technologies and Honeywell.  

The software that runs on the devices has just as much variety, and can interface with a business’s existing ERPs – not to mention hardware support management systems (often transport management systems). 

Despite the massive variety in products, in our over 30 years of experience in the freight industry we’ve come across three very common inefficiencies that businesses run into:

1. Unreliable hardware 

Many businesses are still using older hardware that’s no longer working like it did on day one – but this is often disguised as drivers only unplug their devices from their chargers for short periods of time. But as devices age and suffer from drops, heat damage, and dying batteries, they may one day not turn on again and leave businesses and staff in the lurch.

2. Poor maintenance schedule

Not having a proper maintenance schedule is the most common cause of device unreliability. The lifespan of mobility hardware is around 6 years – but the batteries need to be replaced every 2 years. We see many organisations working with 4-year-old batteries that have swelled and gone on to damage the entire device, rendering it useless. 

3. Bad-fit software

In today’s fast-paced world, business models are prone to change, and many businesses are no longer using the right software for their needs. But due to perceived difficulties or costs involved with upgrading or replacing it, businesses end up running inefficient programs and their people are having to find complicated workarounds to do their jobs. 

All three of these factors lead to unreliable hardware that’s prone to breaking, crashing, or taking far too long to configure. And this means that employees can’t maintain their efficiency and productivity, and the business finds that costs quickly rise as their hardware needs to be replaced before its lifespan ends. 

So how can organisations prevent these challenges and find ways to boost their hardware? 

3 key preventative measures to improve hardware efficiency

Organisations need to become proactive about maintaining and reviewing their hardware. Having these measures in place will ensure that problems are picked up on quickly, software is adjusted to new business models, and your people can continue to work quickly and efficiently. 

We recommend doing the following three activities regularly: 

1. Start a battery program to refresh batteries every two years  

With hardware and batteries having different lifespans, you can keep your devices in better shape by refreshing the batteries every two years. Having a program or system in place to do this will streamline this process and will prevent hardware loss due to battery swelling or leaking.  

2. Undertake a regular gap analysis on how well the hardware and software are serving your business 

While hardware or software may be expensive for businesses to refresh, undertaking a gap analysis can help keep costs low and enable you to find a better fit solution. Looking at what your system has and hasn’t got, what you need it to do (after all, your business may look completely different to what it did 3 or 5 years ago), and whether your needs can be supplemented with an add-on rather than an entirely new system.  

And part of the gap analysis also involves a… 

3. Workshop with employees across the entire business to understand how they’re using their devices  

Businesses that utilise mobility hardware don’t just have one department using or managing it, they have multiple. From delivery drivers to warehouse fulfilment and back office, each user has a different perspective on what they do with it or what they need from the device or software.  

Regularly workshopping with your people to understand their needs will ensure that you’re able to have the right-fit hardware and software, and thus enable productivity and efficiency across the business. 

The smarter way to maintain your mobility hardware

Organisations are often being pulled in every direction and it may be hard to prioritise maintenance and reviews of your hardware – especially in the last few years. 

But with regular maintenance being vital to extending the lifespan of your devices, it’s important to find a solution for time-poor and busy organisations. 

We’ve found that the smart solution is mobile device management (MDM). This service can: 

  • Monitor your device health 24/7  
  • Detect problems before you become aware of them 
  • Provide support and troubleshooting 
  • Analyse and report on fleet operations  

Utilising an MDM system takes most management and maintenance obligations out of your hands, saving you time and allowing you to put your entire focus on running your business. 

Find long-term benefits with prevention and maintenance

Whether organisations undertake prevention and maintenance programs themselves or utilise an MDM to do it for them, the results will be the same: highly reliable mobility hardware 

And with reliable hardware, organisations will find it much easier to: 

Get real-time visibility 

With proper management systems in place, visibility over your business’s operations is gained back. Being able to answer questions like how many devices are being used, how many are fully charged, and whether the batteries are operational maintains consistent operations and allows you to run your business more efficiently. 

Boost productivity 

With visibility over your devices and operations (especially when it comes to tracking stock and inventory across multiple sites), your people can do their jobs without distractions and ad-hoc workarounds. This also prevents loss of product and reduces the costs associated with them. 

These improvements add up across the year and can have a measurable impact on your end-of-year figures.  

Fulfil customer’s growing expectations 

With real-time visibility and updates on shipments now universally expected, rather than a nice-to-have, you need to maximise up-time on devices to ensure all data-points are being captured by staff to ensure you are meeting your customer expectations and maintaining their loyalty.  

Things like real-time communications with customers to arrange pick up or delivery times, as well as live tracking, can also optimise your processes and reduce missed or delayed deliveries – which has the benefit of improving your costs.  

Reduce long-term costs 

One of the greatest benefits of maintaining your hardware is that you create long-term cost savings by extending the lifespan of your devices and reducing the number of devices needing to be fixed or replaced prematurely. These cost savings can then be invested into other areas of your business such as expanding your service line.  

Get the most out of your hardware

If your business is finding it hard to maintain your hardware or understand where your gaps are, you might benefit from outsourcing this to LeopardCare Monitoring, our comprehensive and scalable MDM service.  

Our expert team understands the complexities of your business and can help you gain back visibility and reduce hardware unreliability with 24/7 monitoring and more. 

And if you think it’s time to look into newer mobility hardware that’s able to keep up with the high-demands of your business, you can learn more about Leopard Hardware or contact our team to discuss the right-fit solution for your business. 

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