22 May 2018

Handheld computers are helping warehouse and logistics managers across the country to achieve greater operational efficiency. Better data accuracy, real-time visibility and greatly improved job processes are making many wonder how they ever managed with just pen and paper.

If you’re not already, you’ll no doubt want to capitalise on these same benefits - but it’d be unwise to jump straight in with any old hardware. It’s important that you consider your investment carefully, and we’re here to help. Below are a few of the main factors to think about.

Your working environment

Consider the environment in which your equipment will be used. If it’s a cold, harsh warehouse, you’ll need something tough enough to cope with lower temperatures and the odd knock or drop. This is where rugged handhelds come into their own – built with thick casing from scratch-resistant materials, they’ll take pretty much anything your staff are likely to throw at them in day-to-day use.

Try using a standard smartphone or something else without the necessary protection in this kind of workplace and it’s unlikely to last. That said, if you’re looking for something to use in more of an office kind of environment, a lighter machine may be more appropriate.

Software application

What are you looking to achieve by implementing handheld computers in your business? The answer to this question will determine what software you should use, and that could in turn influence which hardware you go for.

Some of our handhelds run on a version of Windows, while others, like the Honeywell Dolphin CT50, can be fuelled by Android instead. There will be different applications available for both operating systems, so be sure to look into what’s available before committing. The TouchStar team can help with this, so get in touch if you have any questions.

Physical design

Handheld computers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with different physical features designed to make using them comfortable and easy in a range of situations. The rugged TS8000, for example, has a full handle, making it ideal for fast picking in a warehouse environment where scanning is the primary function. The aforementioned Honeywell Dolphin CT50, on the other hand, is lighter and more discreet – perfect for highly mobile frontline employees.

Once again, ruggedness will come into it too, so think about how much your equipment will need to put up with.

Scanning range

Most handhelds have scanners built in these days, with obvious reason, but not all have the same capabilities. Ask yourself what kind of distance staff will be scanning barcodes and QR codes from – if they’re expected to regularly scan items on the top shelf, a short-range device won’t be much use. A scanner with long-range capabilities, however, could remove the need for moveable steps, saving time and valuable warehouse space.

Pricing

Lastly, consider your budget as these kinds of tools do vary in price. Whatever you go for, it’ll likely help you save money in the long run, but you need to be able to justify the cost to begin with.

If this is your first foray into handheld computing for your business, consider focusing on getting the right models rather than trying to kit out your whole team at once – there’s little point to everyone having a computer to hand if it doesn’t help them work more effectively.

As mentioned, we’re here to help. Our expert team is ready to discuss the handhelds we have available and explain how they could be used to improve your operations. Get in touch to find out more.