5 Ways Rugged Tablets Support Connected Supply Chains

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Rugged tablets have become one of the fastest growing markets, becoming widely used in many businesses. The integration of mobile technology has improved performance in both manufacturing and retail, and they’ve filled a niche but vital role for many companies. With Windows operating systems, fully integrated data capture options, and the latest networking capabilities, they’ve become the most reliable form of mobile technology on the market.

Fully operable both on the move and in stationary, mounted positions, mobile tablets are easier to use than laptops, smartphones, and desktop computers combined. Without the bloatware and planned obsolescence of consumer-grade products, they’re becoming the best investment a company can make, no matter the industry.

Rugged tablets can be used to track merchandise every step of the way, from the manufacturing site to the retail floor.

  • Manufacturing:Rugged tablets can track the status of projects, access schematics and schedules, and keep management updated. Once the work is done, workers can pass tablets off to the next shift, or leave them mounted for easy access.
  • Warehouse:RFID and barcode scanning, wireless communication, and other management applications can be accessed with a fingertip. Both fixed-location computers and forklift monitors can be replaced by rugged tablets, all without disrupting the flow of the workplace.
  • Tracking:GPS can be used to track shipments every step of the way, from the second they leave the warehouse to the moment they are delivered. Customers can receive updates on where their merchandise is, who has it, and how long their delivery will take.
  • Transportation & Delivery:With rugged tablets, companies can eliminate paper-based systems and establish a more organized business record. Real-time weather, traffic, and emergency updates can be used to immediately map the best possible delivery route, saving time, gas, and money.
  • Retail:Whether they’re being used for shelf management, to check inventory delivery, or in the hands of sales clerks, rugged tablets can be invaluable in retail. RFID and barcode scanning can streamline inventory management, and add-ons can allow for credit card scanning and other uses on the retail floor.

While consumer-grade products may seem like a viable option for professional use, they fall short in many ways necessary for a business environment. In situations where consumer-grade tablets may be rendered useless, rugged tablets can resist damage and are easily updated. Waterproof, drop-proof, and protected against a number of other physical dangers, they are designed for long-term, real-use scenarios.

Rugged Tablets Increase Collaboration and Integrate Technology in Logistics

Tablet-used-when-packing-boxes-onto-truck3-tNo matter how efficient supply chains become, there will always be industry-specific challenges for logistics workers. Because of the nature of their work, workers need to be mobile at all times, and they need a device that can keep up. Ruggedized tablets have filled a niche but vital role in logistics, providing real-time data, constant communication, and other necessary tools.

While tablet PCs are designed to adapt to many situations, many companies will find that their own systems can be improved by incorporating mobile technology. Some things will always remain the same, but tablet systems can make certain processes faster, easier, and more efficient. Tablets have become an integral part of the way supply chains operate on a day-to-day basis.

Here are a few of the ways tablets are working overtime to improve the logistics industry.

Compatibility with Rail Traffic

As truck and driver shortages arise, trains are becoming the more reliable transport option. With better infrastructure and service, they are quickly becoming the primary method of transportation. With rugged tablets, the switch to rail traffic can be easy and painless. Built-in RFID scanners can help track inventory at all times, giving you real-time updates on where shipments are, where they’re going, and how long until delivery.

In-House Freight Billing 

Freight bill payment firms are quickly becoming obsolete, thanks to mobile technology and DIY payment software. With rugged tablets, companies can eliminate the middleman and focus on their own profits.

Coordination with LSPs

LSPs (Logistics Service Providers) can become a vital third-party for cost-conscious companies. Rugged tablets can help companies stay connected and informed when it comes to their LSPs, and better coordination can improve business transactions and deliveries.

Better Training and Productivity

With tablet computers, managers can collect data and communicate with employees seamlessly, establishing a system to monitor productivity. With the information they collect, they can improve their training and boost productivity across all platforms.

Service-Based Pricing Options

With electronic signatures, payment capture, and real-time routing, rugged tablets can help companies established a more enhanced delivery system. Customers can pay for services based on a tiered pricing. Faster delivery costs more, but they can get their products overnight, whereas other customers can settle for regular deliveries.

Domestic and international shipping companies need to keep up with rising demands for mobile technology, reliable tracking, and real-time updates. Rugged tablets are exactly what workers need to keep up with shipments, wherever they are in the world.

4 Ways Rugged Tablets Support Real Time Positioning for Streamlined Logistics

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Streamlined logistics is a top-of-the-list goal for many companies, but practical solutions have been difficult to realize and implement. Logistics presents multi-faceted challenges ranging from packaging and labeling through warehousing inventory and picking, to transportation and delivery.

Rugged tablets can provide accuracy, flexibility, functionality, and real time access to information and updates at every point in the supply chain. The ability of a tablet to be earmarked for a specific shipment or assigned to a loading dock or even a transport vehicle can help streamline operations and enable tracking of every item throughout the entire logistics process.

Former tablet solutions for logistics fell short of expectations, with software that didn’t integrate smoothly with inventory solutions, or hardware that couldn’t stand up to the harsh conditions of warehouse and transport use. Consumer grade devices quickly gave way to a new level of tablet – the rugged tablet for logistics. Rugged tablets can provide both purpose-built functionality and higher levels of durability required for continual use in warehouses, loading bays, trucks, and freighters.

The right match of software and hardware creates the ideal solution for real time positioning in logistics. 4 highlights of rugged tablet tech for this industry include the following features:

  • Multiple ways to capture real time data, including keyed input; touchscreen and digital pens; barcode and RFID scanning; instant image capture; signature capture; payment card reader; and shipment / package release or delivery acceptance fields.
  • Simplified digital mapping in-warehouse or on route during transit is simplified with rugged tablets. Handlers can quickly locate the right pallet, crate, or package, follow it step by step through the loading process, provide directions for shipment and delivery, and track each stop and transfer in real time until the cargo reaches its final destination.
  • Communication is rapid and real time, with seamless integration between systems and instant updates. Both information input and access are supported with hand-held tablet tech, and notifications can be sent from the tablet in case of weather issues or traffic problems during transit for real time adjustments.
  • Security and privacy can be ensured with encryption. Lost or stolen tablets can be tracked to locate them, or even wiped of data remotely in case of theft or accidental loss. With data transferred on the fly, backups can be scheduled, and information can be retrieved from multiple parties and collated for a full “big picture” view from central HQ.

Purpose built tablets can withstand rough working environments, be mounted to vehicle dashboards or static terminals, used in wet docks and ports thanks to weather and moisture resistant features, and read in almost any lighting condition from bright sunlight to complete darkness. For the logistics industry, there’s no innovation that has quite the same impact for real time positioning and information accessibility as the rugged tablet.

6 Problems Rugged Tablets Resolve for Supply Chains

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The ability to work and manage supply chains in real time depends on having access to the right data. As customer expectations for the industry have changed, delivery commitment windows continue to tighten. When next week turns into next day or even next hour, customers expect and demand full visibility into the status of their shipment at all times, from stop to stop in every phase of the supply chain.

This can make the various steps to complete the process run up behind one another with mere minutes or seconds to spare instead of hours. Speed, accuracy, and dependability are key when it comes to solving these 6 problems or pain points. Rugged tablet tech can meet the challenge:

  1. Barcode scanning for inventory management and tracking is fast and easy with tablets that have fully integrated 2D scanners and can update records in real time.
  2. Inventory tracking and management also benefits from instantaneous recording and information transmission in regard to warehouse stock and in transit goods.
  3. Picking, packing, and sorting in the warehouse speeds up with hand held tech, and rugged tablets can also be forklift mounted for ease of access.
  4. Shipping and receiving is exponentially faster with handheld tech – two staff with tablets can do the work of six or seven with clipboards during rush jobs or seasonal heavy shipments.
  5. Restocking can be smoothly integrated, rectifying inventory and noting any package damage or reclassification of items from new to open box.
  6. Item, pallet, and container-level tagging and management can be rapidly completed from a forklift or vehicle with a mounted rugged tablet, which can then be handed off to other personnel as needed.

Rugged tablets and other handheld, purpose-built devices have become necessary tools for moving goods through the supply chain while increasing efficiency and heightening productivity. Quality control becomes easier, tight delivery windows can be met, manufacturers and retailers can maintain accurate inventories. Mobile devices enable real-time operational visibility, lead to better informed decision-making, and improve order processing from the warehouse to the final destination.

On the consumer side, customer service and satisfaction are increased with real time information that informs them of their expected delivery’s status at every point along the supply chain, leading to better outcomes in regard to successful delivery to the right person at the right place at a time that can be planned for in advance.

Rugged tablets for the supply chain relieve these pressure points and provide for satisfaction at all junctures of the supply chain from warehouse through logistics to final delivery.

Logistics Operations Demand Mounted Rugged Tablets for Efficiency

the-6-top-mobile-transportation-applications-for-rugged-tablets-2From long haul truckdrivers to railway conductors to airline personnel and port authority workers, rugged tablets are driving improved efficiency across all logistics verticals. High powered, durable, commercial and industrial solutions that can remain viable long term are required, and mountability is swiftly becoming a major selling point for purpose-built devices. Logistics operations demand mobility, and tablet tech delivers.

Unlike consumer grade tablets, rugged tablets are built to withstand the rough environments which exist in the transportation and logistics industry. Consumer-level products may have a lower cost of acquisition, but must be replaced so often that any potential gain is eliminated over time. In contrast, rugged devices reduce the total cost of ownership with durable, obsolescence resistant hardware and software that can provide years of use, with updated software that can be supported for the life of the device.

Logistics fields such as transportation see mobile devices used more than ever, with the smartphone remaining the go to device for navigation purposes, but purpose-built tablets being the devices of choice for data-intensive tasks. Mounting a tablet inside a truck cab, in an airliner cabin, or on a forklift makes these larger devices more accessible and increases their usefulness to logistics workers.

Mounted rugged tablets can provide multimedia entertainment, food and beverage purchasing options, reservations, travel guides, and interactive informational dissemination on airliners, buses and trains. These potential uses increase passenger satisfaction and can also be used to generate independent revenue streams.

Mounted tablet tech can also benefit the trucking industry. These devices are ideal for maintaining electronic log books, receiving real time routing updates, and planning routes Small vibrations, speed bumps and weather extremes are regular occurrences n the trucking industry, and a mounted rugged tablet can withstand them all.

Finally, tablets mounted on forklifts and other machinery at docks, in warehouses, and along other key points of the supply line can track movements, reconcile inventories, and authenticate bills of lading. Purpose built, mountable rugged devices help maintain a workflow that leads to increased efficiency and productivity, cuts costs, and improves every aspect of the user’s experience.

Tablet tech comes with advanced features that can streamline tasks and keep personnel on every segment of the supply chain connected and mobile. Modern touchscreen technology, voice command enablement, and receiving capability make mounted tablets the perfect tool for logistics workers. As the world of transportation shifts towards more automation, these tablets become tools that can maximize safety and efficiency.