Nine out of ten To-Increase customers that use our mobile solutions for NAV are using it to optimize the processes in their warehouse by using scanning devices. We are often asked for our advice on hardware to be used in combination with our mobile software. We think it is an excellent question as choosing the right hardware is pivotal if you want to have a successful implementation of NAV Anywhere.
While I am going to talk about preferred brands, later in this blog, let me start by mentioning that our software can be used on any device with any operating system, the main requirement being a device with a browser! If you have recently made a significant investment in ordering handheld devices and are planning to use our software, there are huge chances that our software will run great and make your new investment worthwhile.
If you are in the process of choosing new hardware, the following considerations might benefit you:
To begin with, before you buy your device, test your device first. 6 things that you should keep in mind when you test:
- Involve a local reseller - Any local hardware dealer should have a couple of test devices that they could extend for you to test.
- Ensure optimal performance - Not all devices handle rendering of web pages well, degrading the performance.
- Adopt a convenient barcode peripheral - Some devices (consumer devices especially) have poor barcode decoding performance or do not offer a convenient barcode peripheral or key wedge interface.
- Ensure usability for your end-users - Hardware comes in many shapes and sizes, for different roles and processes. There are differences in ruggedness, ergonomics, legibility, keyboard layout and architecture. This can influence the usability of the device for the end users. For example, for processes that only have numeric manual input, you should not choose alphanumeric keyboards that require the users to press additional keys or use texting multi-taps to access numeric input.
- Involve end users during the testing phase for a widespread acceptance during and after implementation.
- Consider Service Level Agreements that are available for the hardware, as well as vendor guaranties on the (remaining) life cycle and spare part availability.
We have an extensive document on the topic where we have tested several different mobile scanners and label printers that can be made available upon request.
If I would need to pick one preferred device for warehouse scanning, I would advise a zebra device with a laser scanner, an Android OS, and the Zebra enterprise browser. Customers gave us feedback that this works excellent and provides users the most optimum experience if it comes to using quick buttons, get error message notification (e.g. red lights popping during faulty actions) and scan barcodes at a higher range. I would make it a must for the hardware vendor to use the requirements above. This will save frustration in the future.
Watch out for my next blog, where I will zoom into ‘setting up the wireless network in your warehouse’.