Mobile computers can be an extremely useful tool for warehouse management and stock control.
Specially designed mobile computers with built in barcode imagers can be used to scan and track inventory items during receiving, picking, packing, and stock taking. As simple to use as a standard smartphone, these devices provide additional form and functionality specifically designed to assist with warehouse management. This can greatly improve the accuracy of many tasks across the warehouse and make general warehouse processes faster and easier.
To find a mobile computer that is the right fit for your warehouse there are several key factors to consider.
What type of connectivity does the device need?
This will depend on whether you want to only use the device within the warehouse to track the movement of stock while it is on premises, or if you have a broader requirement, such as capturing electronic proof of delivery. For on premises uses a WiFi enabled device will generally suffice, whereas mobile data enabled devices can also be used in the field or on deliveries.
What Operating System does it run?
The software you need to run through the device will often inform what operating system you need, so consider what ERP or warehouse management system these devices need to work with. It is also important to consider the long-term projected lifespan for the operating system, for example the Windows OS for mobile devices is approaching end of life, making Android a better long term option.
What form factor do you need from the device?
There are several form factor options across different mobile computers. How you plan to use the device will affect which form is best suited to your warehouse needs. For example, a pistol grip provides better ergonomics for high volume scanning, whereas a physical keyboard is useful in environments where workers are wearing gloves, as most touch screens cannot track gloved fingers. The type and volume of information you need to capture might also inform whether you need a numeric keypad or a full alphanumeric keyboard on the device. Many devices also come with programable hotkeys or buttons that can be set up to optimize certain workflows.
What are your scanning requirements?
Scanning requirements can vary according to the type of barcode, frequency, and range. Different devices have different level of scanning functionality such as 1D vs 2D barcode scanning. You might also need a device that is able to scan a high volume of barcodes very quickly, or one with long range scanning capabilities for scanning items on high shelves.
What accessories and additional services do you need?
How you plan to use the device will affect the types of accessories you need. Extra batteries can enable continuous usage from shift to shift, while docks, grips, and other accessories can make the devices easier to use. It is also important to factor in the cost of service contracts and software needs when looking at different device options.
What Environment is the device being used in?
Many mobile devices for the warehouse have some degree of ruggedness built into their design. If your device will be exposed to extreme temperatures, moisture, dust, or the risk of being dropped from a height, it is advisable to opt for a rugged device. There are also specialized devices for more unique circumstances, such as devices built for freezer or cold storage environments, or field devices that provide connectivity even in the most remote areas.
These are just some of the key questions you need to consider when selecting a mobile computer for your warehouse. At Cradle Technology Services our experienced solution specialists can give you expert advice on the mobile computer that is right for your warehouse needs. Contact us to find out more.