Are tablets and laptops interchangeable logistics technologies?

If you're like many business owners and managers, you're noticing that some of your staff seems to prefer mobile devices over computers laptops. As Baby Boomers retire, manufacturing and logistics companies especially, want to attract younger talent. An important way to attract younger workers in 2015 is to give them access to up-to-date logistics technology and systems whenever possible.

Tablets are light and many perform the same functions as traditional laptops. Some of them even offer quicker processing than most laptops, for less money.

In addition, many new tablets,

  • Have large, netbook-sized screens of 10" or more 
  • Feature 4 quad processing
  • Run Windows or Windows compatible operating systems
  • Make communication quicker and easier
  • Offer greater flexibility and mobility

However, in a logistics environment, you have to select rugged devices carefully. You want to invest in equipment that will perform well for many years to come. Using tablets to replace rugged computers like vehicle mounted computers isn't advisable. Though rugged tablets definitely have their strengths in that they quickly allow workers to look up repair instructions, view schematics, perform inventory checks, and manage mobile shipping and receiving tasks.

Tablets use different operating systems than computers do and communicate with USB's and other external hardware differently. Therefore, you might have compatibility issues if you try to replace rugged forklift and other vehicle mounted computers with tablets. Computers can better perform actions like barcode scanning to receive picking and put-away instructions, transaction confirmation, and new instructions.

Though rugged tablets offer many of the same strengths and are improving every day, vehicle mounted computers are also resistant to:

  • Harsh weather
  • Dust
  • Extreme vibration
  • Food and liquid spillage
  • Temperature extremes like freezing or major heat
  • Shock

Rugged tablets still aren't this durable. In addition, tablets power up differently and aren't compatible with all scanners, RFID, printers and warehouse software systems.

Things might change in the future as technology advances. However, though modern consumer and modern rugged tablets offer some exciting new features, they still aren't the right tool for every job.

Contact us. We offer a wide variety of products that perform above and beyond consumer merchandise in manufacturing and logistics environments.

Yes! I want to track and move materials more efficiently

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