Five things to consider when using tablet computers in forklift applications

Tablet computing is one of the fastest-growing electronics categories. Many businesses are exploring new tablet uses, including evaluation trials for forklift and vehicle applications in distribution centers.

A large screen and a Windows® operating system can make a tablet seem similar to popular forklift-mounted terminals, plus some DCs are curious about removing tablets for use on the floor. Nonetheless, tablets are not drop-in equivalents to purpose-built forklift computers: They have a number of major differences. 

If you are considering tablets for forklift use, it is important to know the tradeoffs. This white paper reviews some of these, presenting five key issues to consider when assessing tablets for forklift operators:

  1. Is the design and mounting appropriate for a warehouse or DC environment?
  2. How will the tablet be powered?
  3. Is the tablet compatible with data collection equipment (scanners, printers, RFID), legacy warehouse management systems (WMS), fleet management solutions and other critical enterprise systems?
  4. How will tablets impact user processes and productivity?
  5. How much will tablets really cost?

This white paper is for readers interested in automating warehouses and industrial environments, and focuses specifically on enterprise-grade tablets. Consumer tablets such as the Apple iPad® lack the ruggedness and features that a forklift requires, and are not addressed here.