18 May 2022
Like many technologies, rugged devices in all forms have
continued to develop and grow. Not just with the processing speeds and
capabilities, but also with the different types of devices now available. With so
many more alternatives on the market, it can be difficult to understand which
device will fulfil your company’s needs.
Two options you might choose between are rugged handhelds
and rugged wearables. Both have their advantages, but which is the best for you?
What is a rugged handheld?
A rugged handheld device is an ergonomically-designed,
portable, compact mobile computer. It’s created to be easy to use and
hardwearing and is usually available in two forms: either with or without a
pistol grip or similar to a smartphone. No matter the shape, a handheld is
designed to either be operated with just a touchscreen that is toughened and
protected, or both a keypad and touchscreen. The idea is that a rugged handheld
device can be used in tough working conditions including the cold or being
dropped, without significant damage.
What is a rugged wearable?
A rugged wearable is a smaller device that is lightweight
and comfortable to wear and use. They’re designed to offer a hands-free solution
that can be worn on the wrist or belt of the user. Although small in size, a
rugged wearable can incorporate touchscreens, barcode scanners and voice
activation features. They’re also designed to be durable and able to withstand
drops, dust and extreme temperatures.
What impacts the
suitability of a device within a warehouse?
When looking at the
potential of each device, there are various factors which affect their
suitability for certain warehouse processes which need to be considered, such
The types and size of goods being handled
How the goods are packaged, such as single items
or on pallets
The environment, such as cold storage
What a business hopes to achieve by introducing
How many devices a business will need
- Warehouse worker preference
Which device is best?
Within warehouses and logistics, there are many tasks that
can be completed with rugged devices. These devices are often deployed to help
speed up existing operational processes and improve efficiencies. Although
tasks vary per business, there are some general tasks which have to be
completed such as picking products and dispatch. Some rugged devices are better
than others depending on the activity, and we’ll explore this now.
Bringing goods into the warehouse environment is a key part of
operations, and often the first stage of a product’s life within this setting. For this task, you can use either a handheld or wearable rugged device, as
they offer similar capabilities. With both options being lightweight and versatile, either of the two devices
can be used to check-in new stock and ensure it’s sent to the right warehouse
section for future use. For
example, if your products are arriving in roll cages and boxes, both wearable
or handhelds would work, suitability will however be dependent on the various factors we have previously mentioned.
However, if you’re expecting pallets, a truck-mounted device would be a better
option as goods will be moved via a forklift truck.
When picking products, the kind of device that is more
advantageous will depend on the kind of products that are being picked. For
smaller items, there may be less need for being hands-free and so handheld
devices may be the better option. For larger items, workers still need to
maintain an efficient picking process, hands free offer the ability for free
and quick movement to support productivity. In this scenario, a rugged wearable
may be the favoured device for such a task. It allows those in the warehouse to
move through the space and select the items they require, without having to
pick up and put down a device.
Similar to goods coming into the warehouse, goods leaving
the space can also benefit from a rugged device. The choice will depend on the
dispatch operation in place, the common benefit is that both devices can be
used to increase productivity and ensure dispatch information is collected in
real-time, allowing for greater business visibility. Rugged handhelds and
wearables are more often used in despatch operations that involve roll cages
that contain smaller boxes rather than shrink-wrapped pallets. Device
preference again could come down to the type of environment, size of goods,
business objectives or just personal preference.
Within this part of the operation, handhelds are more
common within the stock check process as there is less manual handling of goods
meaning there is no need for hands-free. A handheld device will allow the
operator to collect stock levels without the need for paperwork and reduces the
manual data collection needed, increasing accuracy and speeding up operations.[
Transform your business operations today
Here at TouchStar, we’re pleased to offer a variety of
rugged mobile devices, including handheld and wearables which can be highly
effective in a wide range of industries, such as logistics and manufacturing. With
our years of industry experience and our in-depth knowledge about products,
we’re on hand to advise you in finding the right rugged device.