26 July 2019

Rugged mobile devices in the warehouse

More and more commercial organisations are discovering the many benefits of rugged handheld devices. A recent report from Technavio predicts a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) within the global rugged device market of nearly eight per cent before 2023.

Rugged mobile devices enable the access and capture of operational data on the move, even in harsh working environments, but this isn’t the only factor behind their increasing popularity. Rugged technology isn’t going anywhere, so let’s take a closer look at some of the emerging applications of rugged handheld devices that are fuelling its uptake.

The move to centralised data and decentralised control

Market saturation is forcing businesses from all sectors to diversify; to enter new verticals in order to continue to grow. Offering a wider range of products and/or services often means adding new points to a supply chain in the form of multiple factories or warehouses - expanding the geographic spread of a business’s operations.

While in most cases there will still be a central point of organisational control, businesses with several secondary sites need a way to connect them and ensure optimum efficiency without overburdening HQ. This is where decentralisation comes in – a move away from a single source of operational management to an infrastructure in which each site has its own level of autonomy. Within the manufacturing industry, for example, this would involve each factory or warehouse having access to relevant data and information systems without having to go through HQ.

Rugged handhelds make this possible, enabling factory or warehouse teams to record working progress, solve problems and map workflows as they go about their duties, all with the assurance that their mobile device is built to survive drops, knocks, moisture and extremes of temperature. Decentralised control is a logical and effective management approach for many types of business, and rugged handhelds are helping them achieve it.

New sectors and use cases

Many industries make use of mobile technology, but even those that have traditionally relied on non-rugged consumer devices are starting to realise the benefits of their rugged counterparts. Thanks to reduced failure rates and extended use, rugged mobile devices offer better return on investment over time than standard devices, and a lower total cost of ownership (TCO).  

As a result, the range of sectors adopting rugged handhelds is growing to include industries such as retail, hospitality and public transportation. Businesses within these areas are capitalising on the longer life and improved reliability of rugged technology on an operational level, as well as the better value for money that it represents. 

Supply chain efficiencies and streamlining

As technology advances, the list of things rugged handheld devices can do is only getting more comprehensive. As mobile computers, rugged devices connect staff in all areas of an operation to the information they need, and this is turn boosts the efficiency of the supply chain in almost every way imaginable.

Devices such as rugged tablets, rugged handhelds and rugged wearables are capable of streamlining the various steps of supply chain management, from barcode scanning to inventory tracking, shipping and receiving to quality control. With wireless LAN, Bluetooth, RFID, Wi-Fi connectivity and extended battery life, those in charge of maintaining a supply chain can afford to rely on the constant uptime offered by rugged handheld devices, which ensures that each action in the chain is supported and recorded.

What could rugged handheld devices do for your business?

Rugged technology is becoming truly versatile, capable of fulfilling a wide range of applications within a growing number of sectors. If you think rugged handheld devices could help your business achieve more, get in touch with our friendly team to find out more.



Peter Marsh, Sales Director Rugged Mobile Computing

Peter joined TouchStar (formally Belgravium) in a sales manager role in 2001. Prior to joining the company, Peter held Partner and National Sales Manager roles within the parcel and logistics industries.  

In 2011 Peter was promoted to Sales Director and is now actively involved in promoting the value of TouchStar’s Rugged Mobile Computing solutions to the warehouse, logistics, manufacturing and field service industries. When not involved in the business, Peter is a keen and enthusiastic football and cricket fan.

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