To BYOD or Not to BYOD: Choose the right device strategy for your retail operations
We all bear witness to the immense impact COVID-19 has had on retail logistics with the rapid and immediacy of demand for contactless shopping and delivery. In fact, even beyond the pandemic, McKinsey & Company sees this pattern of accelerating digital as the new normal. Where once businesses mapped digital strategies in phases of one to three years, in our COVID-centric world, we’re seeing scaling initiatives in a matter of days or weeks.
A key element of digital acceleration in the retail environment is the replacement of dedicated hardware scanners with multi-functioning mobile devices and applications. Certainly with Scandit’s smartphone-based scanning efficiencies are up to 40% greater compared to dedicated devices – whether through BYOD (bring your own device), COBO (corporate-owned, business only) or a hybrid approach.
However, while the benefits of smartphone scanning solutions in retail logistics are clear, the question remains – what is the right device strategy for your retail logistic operations? Each enterprise will have its own criteria to fill. To help you make the right choice, here are some of the main considerations:
Fast & Familiar
BYOD – Bring Your Own Device solutions enable employees to use their own smartphones to download and run corporate scanning software.
A major benefit of a BYOD strategy is that a familiar smartphone allows swift navigation through the device. Little training is required and onboarding is rapid.
This is particularly advantageous during peak periods where temporary staff need to hit the ground (or shop floor) running. It also means no requirement to source new hardware, so short-term commitments are more feasible, as we have recently seen with the gig economy. With staff using their own devices, the costs to the retailer of hardware and service costs are lowered.
While a BYOD strategy seems like an ideal choice, it might not appeal to all employees, high-performing software needs to support a wide spectrum of makes and models plus a clear policy is needed around device types, usage and security.
COBO – Corporate Owned, Business Only requires the retailer to purchase devices used by its employees, who return them at the end of each shift. The enterprise-wide use of the same make and model means that each user has the same experience and management will find reliable performance due to device control.
Economies of scale can be found in bulk purchasing and training, as well as Master Data Management tools for updates and security protocols. At the end of a shift, staff members can ‘step away’ from work when they return the scanning-enabled smartphone, allowing a good work/life balance.
In many cases, employees may be using an unfamiliar device, taking a while for them to learn to navigate a new smartphone. This can lead to slow or erroneous usage of the enterprise-enabled device. And with no sense of ownership, staff may be less conscientious in their use of a COBO smartphone, leading to breakage or loss, and increased maintenance costs.
Best of Both Worlds?
COPE – Corporate-Owned, Personally Enabled and CYOD – Choose Your Own Device are both hybrid device strategies where employees have use of an enterprise-owned smartphone outside of work as well as during their operational duties. This promotes better care of the device and supports HR brand building, as staff receive a smartphone from a pre-approved list as a perk of the job. The enterprise gains control over a limited range of devices and also ensures a good adoption rate as employees have had input in selecting the smartphone they must use.
Often, premium models are selected for use in both hybrid alternatives. In the case of COPE, personal use can be enabled via a dual SIM, while CYOD users can contribute to the cost of their usage outside of working hours.
As with all smartphone adoption policies, these hybrid device strategies have a few challenges, in that the limited number of approved smartphones will not appeal to all staff. The fact that the purchase of top-of-the-range smart devices can be costly to the employer could also be seen as a disadvantage of hybrid strategies. However, with COPE and CYOD, these costs can be offset by the user contributing towards the cost of the smartphone and/or costs accrued during personal use.
Whichever device strategy you choose for your retail operations, Scandit’s computer vision software brings high-performance scanning to over 20,000 different device models, with the advantage of providing a familiar interface for users. Enterprises deploying mobile barcode scanning and augmented reality (AR) onto smartphones experience high rates of uptake, immediate improvements in efficiency, long-term reduced costs and retain the potential for future innovation.
Check out how you can Add Simplicity & Speed to Retail Store Operations with Smartphone Scanning. Scandit’s optimizing retail operations guide walks you through the best practice on how to successfully deploy smartphone scanning for retail logistics.