Could Android be the answer?
The world of logistics has seen significant changes in a short period of time. 83% of managers believing they’ll be shipping more by 2020 and 60% saying the number of SKUs will rise. Introducing new technology such as Android OS, cloud WMS and new processes are key in adjusting to the new way of working – which increasingly is ensuring next-day and even local same day delivery options.
Businesses are now looking to warehouses to create a competitive edge by improving the quality of customer service, and the speed and accuracy of deliveries. What’s more, innovation is necessary as the sheer volume and challenge of warehousing work is changing.
As Microsoft prepares to end support for its Windows Mobile operating system, DCs are looking to the Android OS for a new generation of rugged handheld devices and ways of working.
Android is now the most popular mobile operating system in both the consumer and enterprise sectors across the globe (in Europe’s top markets Android accounts for 76.5% of smartphones sold.)
The ease of use of Android – not to mention people’s familiarity with it – mean it’s a logical choice when it comes to selecting a mobile operating system for your business. That said, there have been some concerns that Android has some vulnerabilities that could expose enterprises to security issues. However key hardware suppliers within the industry have taken measures to create a secure Android architecture that ensures their devices are fully enterprise-ready.
The Android platform on rugged devices now has robust security features built-in that include:
- Data security – business data is private by default with enforced security between applications, full disk encryption and always-on VPN options
- App security – with work apps authorised so IT can control which apps are installed and who uses them
- Device security – is protected and maintained by a series of features, such as hardware root of trust
Customer expectations are transforming warehouse operations, as speed is now more critical than ever. Inventory needs to turn around quickly as retailers and manufacturers try to keep up with our modern ‘need it now’ culture. Accuracy is also paramount. Nothing less than complete order accuracy with fully visible tracking will do, if you want to retain your customers and reputation.
Mobile computing devices are a staple in the modern warehouse, allowing workers to perform picking, packing, and putaway tasks far faster than they could with clipboards and paper checklists. From barcode scanners to touchscreen tablets and voice-directed picking headsets, mobile devices provide the speed and accuracy that DCs need to meet the demands of rising e-commerce orders and expectations for overnight shipping.
SaaS and Android are ringing the changes in WMS which is signalling the end of an era previously dominated by ageing, clunky and costly legacy WMS systems
Of course, there will always be the traditional challenges, too. Peak times such as Black Friday and Christmas require seasonal workers who need to be trained up and on the job in very short timescales.
At the same time, with the end in sight for Windows Mobile and Windows C/E and the growing popularity of the Android operating system, a new breed of mobile-first WMS systems is emerging.
E-commerce retail warehouses are leading the way, combining SaaS flexibility and Android mobility to transform the efficiency of their warehouse fulfilment operations by finally allowing access in real time to inventory, while more effectively addressing day to day operational pressures such as Goods Receipt, Picking, Packing and Shipping accuracy, Next and Same Day deliveries, and Returns management.
Android can help you tackle these issues simply, from day one. Firstly, because Android and other touch-screen operating systems dominate modern phones, your workers already know how to use its intuitive touch screen interface. Secondly, rugged Android devices includes the option of Mobility DNA All Touch Terminal Emulation, which converts your existing green screen applications into Android touch screen experiences, so workers at all levels can adopt them quickly.
With the increase in use of android devices in conjunction with the fast pace and the high expectations of e-commerce clients and their end customers means you need a WMS that is simple, scalable, responsive and totally geared up to the e-commerce World without compromising on features.
Despite the initial cost of upgrading to a modernised operating system, the transition will leave warehouses with smarter, faster handhelds that can both improve security and enable a more connected work force – resulting in improved efficiencies and turnaround times through some impressive innovations.
Key Benefits of Android Rugged Mobile Devices:
Ruggedised Devices – Android is the operating system powering many specialised rugged devices. If you need your devices to survive the day-to-day environment and the drops, tumbles and spills that come with that – choosing an operating system that is compatible with toughened devices could be a sensible move.
Data Capture – Android devices have the capability to capture the barcode data required as part of most operations. Rugged devices are perfectly optimised to make barcode capture faster and more accurate, with inbuilt scanning hardware, and the ability to capture even damaged and distorted barcodes, as well as images and form capture, making it easier than ever to capture accurate data.
Battery Power – With users using their device continuously throughout the day, battery power is an important consideration when choosing an operating system and device. These devices offer high-capacity, replaceable batteries, and in-cab chargers. Combine this with Android’s power management capabilities which enable longer battery life with fewer charges, and you’ve got a device you can rely on.
Training and Ease of Use – Android operating systems will undoubtedly be familiar to most of your workforce. Users will be able to locate and use the functionality they need quickly and easily, with little-to-no specialist training required meaning that, when introducing new devices, you’ll experience very little downtime and few usability issues.
Security – It is easy to protect your data and ensure devices are secure, by supplementing Android’s consumer operating system with the latest secure Android architecture that ensures their devices are fully enterprise-ready.
Quality Connectivity –When workers need to be able to access job-related data or backend systems on the move, robust WWAN/WLAN connections and seamless roaming can make all the difference. Android devices have robust WWAN/WLAN connections and seamless roaming, minimising the likelihood of your users being offline, and ensuring that the data is always available in real-time.
Simple to Manage and Control – Android is the most widely used operating system on mobile devices, making integration with existing systems simple and eliminating compatibility issues
Lifecycle Management – Enterprise Android devices provide devices built to last a minimum of 18 months, removing those compatibility issues and future-proofing your devices.
Whether a warehouse is looking to increase security, boost efficiency, or deploy the latest peripherals, change is in the wind for handheld computers and WMS in the DC.
With Microsoft planning to withdraw its support for the mobile operating systems that companies have used for decades, players throughout the supply chain will face decisions about choosing a new OS, finding a handheld device to support it, and migrating their apps over to the upgraded platform.
Speak to one of our team to understand how Clarus’ WMS system can cost effectively support best practice warehouse management processes, better customer service and highly efficient working for a range of warehouse operations with pay per month options and no IT infrastructure needed.
Our platform can scale from a one user, small depot system to a 100’s of user distribution centre operation. The ClarusWMS platform will cost effectively scale with your business based on demand.
ClarusWMS is a UK based supplier of warehouse management solutions with a wealth of industry experience in third party logistics, wholesale / retail distribution, online fulfillment and manufacturing warehousing.