Your mobile computers and barcode scanners play a huge part in enabling efficient warehouse operations. With a rugged mobile computer in hand, your workers can accurately fulfil orders in real time by scanning barcodes on inventory bins and packages. This instant connectivity of your mobile devices allows workers to generate shipping labels and confirm order accuracy, maximising their productivity.
It is understandable that following such significant investment, businesses want to sweat technology assets and extract maximum value from them as possible. There are many ways to get the most out of your current estate, however, there comes a point where older devices start to cost your business more than new devices in lost productivity, staff frustration and missed revenue opportunities.
Considering the total cost of ownership, including these hidden costs, is key to determining the optimal time to upgrade your hardware estate. Pushing outdated technology beyond its limits may initially seem cost-conscious, but the ROI (return on investment) calculation changes when you weigh up performance lags, functionality gaps, and rising maintenance costs.
So, when is it time to invest in the latest devices to stay competitive?
Several clear signs indicate it is time for your business to upgrade your mobile devices. Recognising these warning signs early allows you to plan a timely and cost-effective mobile device upgrade to ensure your workforce remains productive.
One telltale sign that it is time for an upgrade is slow, lagging device performance even for basic tasks. Long load times, choppy responses, and frequent freezing will frustrate your workers, hold back operations, and negatively impact productivity.
Every minute spent waiting for an old, overloaded device wastes time that could have been spent on value-adding work. Multiply these lost minutes by the number of employees, and it’s easy to see how legacy hardware drags down output and revenue.
Outdated processing power and limited memory equate to more time required for every task – from accessing inventory data to scanning pallet labels. Your team gets fewer shipments processed per hour, while you pay employees for time wasted waiting by your technology. The financial impact becomes twofold: the cost of unproductive workers, coupled with the cost of lost opportunities such as unfulfilled orders.
Manufacturers typically provide software updates and security patches for a limited time, usually 3-5 years from a device’s initial launch. Once a model is discontinued and reaches end-of-life (EOL), it will no longer receive vital updates to address bugs, add features, or patch vulnerabilities. While manufacturers may offer extended support for 1-2 years after EOL, eventually software and security assistance get discontinued. This device lifecycle provides IT managers with a timeline to carefully plan and budget for device refreshes.
When devices reach this unsupported state, you can no longer protect them with manufacturer service contracts or buy replacement units. Using devices beyond their supported lifecycle leaves holes in security that can put sensitive company data at risk of bugs and exploitation.
As your mobile computers and barcode scanners reach end-of-life and become unsupported, repairing damage or failures becomes increasingly difficult. Replacement parts and technicians who understand older devices are harder to come by once they are out of warranty and service contract.
Continuing to bandage old, cracked screens, malfunctioning scan engines, and other hardware issues leads to more downtime from unexpected failures on the warehouse floor. Your fleet of available, functional mobile devices dwindles as more are pulled out of commission for lengthy repairs. Eventually, the cost to repair obsolete, unsupported devices outweighs the expense of new units.
New apps and software revisions often require updated hardware with improved specifications to run properly. Being stuck on outdated or legacy versions due to compatibility issues can hinder your business’s ability to deploy and use critical solutions that support effective working and help boost competitiveness.
When your batteries drain faster than normal even after proper recalibration, it can indicate it’s time to upgrade your devices. Battery capacity decreases over time with frequent charging which means a degraded battery may not last a full shift and requires more frequent charging.
Workers may not be able to complete tasks without recharging their devices which affects productivity. The costs add up, from reduced worker output, investment in swappable batteries, increased electricity usage, and lost time from workflow interruptions.
If your mobile computers constantly show maxed-out storage, there may not be enough onboard capacity for the latest inventory management, order processing, and other warehouse apps required for your fulfilment team’s roles. As these apps become more robust and feature-rich over time, they take up more storage space and the baseline storage that older devices came with is now insufficient. Constantly needing to delete apps or data to free up space can impair worker productivity and fulfilment speed
Have you noticed how frustrated your employees get when their mobile devices are slow or glitchy? Out-of-date technology is a major contributor to low morale and productivity. Working with laggy, ageing mobile devices day after day takes a toll on your worker’s satisfaction. Their jobs become more difficult and workflows inefficient, leaving them feeling frustrated.
Employees are usually drawn to companies that prioritise providing effective tools to enable them so allowing technology to stagnate can actively work against retention and recruitment, sending the message that your business is behind the times.
Older devices weren’t designed with the demands of today’s warehouse in mind. Workers forced to use heavy old scanners and mobile computers experience more hand and wrist discomfort compared to those using new, ergonomic models designed for comfort. Upgrading your devices ensures performance remains high and reduces the risk of strain and injury.
It is important to consider the potential opportunities your business is missing by using outdated devices. Technological advancements can infuse new efficiency and innovation into warehouse operations. For example, advanced data analytics in new devices empower informed, data-driven decisions on the floor. Features like artificial intelligence and machine learning optimise workflows and real-time inventory visibility and tracking prevent costly stockouts.
While your competitors are adopting modern solutions that allow them to get ahead of the curve and boost productivity, your outdated devices are restricting your business capabilities.
When upgrading your warehouse devices, it’s critical to have the right technology partner supporting deployment, integration, and ongoing management. The ideal partner will ensure a smooth transition and maximise the long-term value of your mobility investment. Here’s what to look for:
Extensive experience with full lifecycle implementations for organisations of your size and industry. You want a partner with a proven methodology and best practices.
Seamless integration services to connect new devices to your existing warehouse management, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), security, and other systems. This avoids disruption and improves adoption.
Ongoing support via consulting, troubleshooting, training, and optimisation to keep devices running efficiently long after deployment. · In-house development capabilities to build custom mobile apps tailored to your unique warehouse workflows and needs.
Adoption coaching and training for both IT administrators and warehouse employees on utilising the new tools.
With an experienced implementation partner, you can make the most of your device upgrade and ensure your warehouse runs at peak efficiency by leveraging the latest mobile technology.
Choosing new devices is a big decision - but upgrading to the latest technology can vastly improve your operations. Our team of experts can conduct a full assessment of your workflows and pain points to determine the ideal equipment for your specific needs. We'll demo the newest mobile computers and scanners so you can see the advanced features and durability first-hand.