With billions of boxes, packages, and shipments crisscrossing the globe each year, transportation and logistics (T&L) companies succeed or fail based on their ability to capture, process and share data.
That’s why T&L IT teams must take particular care when selecting a mobile data capture solution for their organizations. In the past, T&L organizations were limited to expensive, inflexible dedicated handheld barcode scanners. But advances in mobile technology and software mean you can now leverage easy-to-use, cost-effective smart devices, like phones and tablets, with scanning-enabled mobile applications to rapidly and accurately capture and access package and shipment data end-to-end – from the distribution center to the last mile.
To help you determine which mobile data capture solution might work best for your company, here are five questions to ask when comparing scanning-enabled smart devices versus dedicated scanners.
1. Can your data capture device keep up with the demands of the job?
With thousands of packages and shipments to be scanned every day in all kinds of challenging conditions, your scanning solution must perform with speed and accuracy.
Built to Deliver
You must make sure the devices your employees use won’t easily break on the job, either by rugged design or with durable accessories, and that they can scan labels in any situation.
Enterprise ready smartphones and cases are designed to withstand falls, water and extreme weather conditions, providing the day-to-day protection needed in a distribution center, delivery truck or during dropoff. A rugged smart device provides the right balance between operating effectively in challenging conditions, while still delivering a high-quality user experience and greater flexibility than a single function scanner.
Scandit’s enterprise-grade software ensures employees can reliably scan in tough conditions, such as fast-moving environments where speed is key, torn barcodes, awkward angles, obscured labels from sun glare or raindrops. Scandit’s technology means even lower-end smart device models deliver top performance. Can your data capture device keep up with the demands of the job?
- Camera: Built-in cameras, often with higher quality LEDs than consumer devices, make scanning barcodes fast and easy with the right software, even in low light conditions.
- Battery Life: Extended battery life allows devices to be used for longer periods without recharging.
- Ergonomic: Rugged designs give you extra grip to reduce the risk of dropping and damaging devices. Often, these devices also have additional hardware keys that can be used to quickly start certain activities, such as scanning.
- Waterproof: Certified to resist dust and water to keep you working in any environment.
- Shockproof: Designed to withstand drops and shocks in the workplace.
2. How will the solution help future-proof your organization?
Any technology purchase must be made with the future of your organization in mind. When it comes to mobile data capture, look for an open, flexible solution that can scale with the business and evolve as new technologies or use cases arise.
Built to Innovate
Using familiar platforms such as Android and iOS, scanning-enabled mobile apps and the devices they run on are continually evolving to better address the T&L industry’s demands. This allows for more flexibility in the future to strengthen the solution through updates or added capabilities such as deploying augmented reality (AR) technology to speed up last mile workflows, which dedicated hardware doesn’t offer.
With constant research and development under way for both software and hardware, you’re never limited to a single mobile solution manufacturer or software vendor, avoiding lock-in that can stifle your access to innovation.
Here are just a few examples of innovative things Scandit can help you do:
Our Barcode Scanner SDK for the Web lets you add enterprise-grade barcode scanning to your website with just a few lines of code, so users can scan via the browser rather than from a native app.
Our Keyboard Wedge application lets you add a scan button to the smart device keyboard, so users can scan barcode details into apps that can’t easily be changed, such as internal third-party apps like Salesforce One or Oracle XStore, websites, or web applications.
Our Enterprise Browser lets you add enterprise-grade barcode scanning capabilities to any new or existing browser-based application without the need for any integration.
Our software turns any smart device into a powerful OCR scanner that can read a variety of alphanumeric codes, regardless of text size, font or color.
Our high-performance ID scanning software enables smart devices with a camera to capture data from different types of identity documents.
Our software uses augmented reality overlays to display critical digital information from backend systems to the image of a physical object on the screen, so workers can easily see and act on essential package information when they scan barcodes.
A Future-proof Solution
Built on familiar platforms such as Android and iOS, mobile solutions and the devices they run on are continually evolving to better address the T&L industry’s demands.
3. How easy will it be to manage and secure your solution?
In the T&L industry, you can’t easily take scanners off the job to perform software updates. You must be able to roll out updates to devices quickly, at scale, and with minimal disruption to your operations.
Built to Scale
Unlike traditional scanners, mobile devices can be updated at any time without pulling the device out of circulation. Your organization can manage employees’ smart devices using a mobile device management (MDM) or mobile application management (MAM) provider to handle security, updates, and user management.
These solutions also help T&L organizations protect devices and applications no matter where they are by providing robust security features such as user management, remote wipe, and data encryption.
“We have been able to add new mobile handsets and retire old barcode scanners as they reach the end of their lifespan, ensuring there is no disruption to our operations and that we can continue to make the best use of our existing scanning infrastructure.”
Chris Ashworth, CIO, Hermes UK on their Scandit solution
4. Can the solution integrate with your other systems?
One of the toughest challenges facing T&L IT departments today is siloed systems. These information silos can hamper growth and efficiency in your business.
Beyond Data Capture
Digital transformation means that IT teams must be able to integrate their mobile data capture solution with backend systems like warehouse management systems, enterprise resource planning systems, and transportation management systems in order to effectively capture and manage the data your organization produces.
Built to Integrate
Your organization can develop Scandit-powered apps for smart devices including iOS and Android that incorporate a wide range of functionality, including voice, GPS, data, accelerometer, and more. Scandit can be easily added to any enterprise architecture, native app, or web app, with or without the need for integration. In addition, we offer specialist technical support for developers with a range of support and analytics options during live service. Can the solution integrate with your other systems?
Capture and Exploit Data Effectively
Effective digital transformation means that IT teams must be able to integrate their mobile data capture solution with backend systems.
5. What’s the total cost of ownership (TCO)?
Every IT leader knows you must look at both the initial capital expenditure and recurring costs when evaluating any technology solution.
Your mobile data capture solution is no different. When comparing options, tally up the initial costs of the hardware along with soft costs for things like training, operations, maintenance, replacement costs, and downtime.
Built to Provide Value
Smart devices using an app powered by Scandit software can deliver the same performance as dedicated barcode scanners at a fraction of the cost. Compared to the price of a typical dedicated barcode scanner, the average TCO of a Scandit-powered smartphone solution is up to three times less, while hardware costs can be further reduced or eliminated entirely via a bring your own device (BYOD) policy. Because employees are already comfortable using smartphones, you’ll reduce training time.
You can also reduce downtime thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones in the workplace, meaning replacements are cheap and easy to source, unlike dedicated scanners that require lengthy maintenance and support periods to repair.
Software-based Scanning is Typically x3 Lower Cost
Mobile data capture solutions can help T&L organizations reduce their capital expenditures and maintenance costs, compared to dedicated scanning devices.