Mobile computing is a recent and versatile technology that helps the management of a business make effective improvements in information quality and accessibility, operational efficiency, and staff productivity. Organizations are able to connect securely with field staff, increase sales and provide faster customer service with the use of various field mobility solutions.
Mobile computing involves the use of mobile computing devices that interact with a central information system when the user is away from the normal, fixed workplace. It is a combination of computer hardware, system and applications software, and some form of communications medium. Extremely powerful and small computing devices enable the mobile staff to create, access, process, and store information without being constrained to a single location. With the help of these devices, as well as specialized software, many customized field mobility solutions can be designed.
One of the major benefits of using mobile computing systems is that they eliminate paperwork, as data is collected and transferred electronically. Freeing mobile employees from burdensome paperwork adds many hours of productive work. Data transfer through mobile computers is fast, accurate, and evades repetitive data entry, which is prone to transcription and interpretation errors.
To demonstrate how mobile computing improves the operational efficiency of an organization, here are some examples from a few fields in the real world.
Retail and sales: The use of mobile computers in a retail arena is an effective way to stay competitive in the field. Especially in retail stores, the best way to complete inventory management is by utilizing mobile computers. They ease the work of store managers by performing inventory functions such as replenishment, shelf stocking, item labeling, stock management, shelf price audits, and so on. These tasks can be completed with increased speed and accuracy, while aiding in the exchange of data in real-time with in-store servers.
Mobile computing also increases the operational efficiency of the sales personnel by allowing them to access and update customer information on the spot. Updated information is sent immediately to the companys central computer. In addition, a sales person can also print invoices or other information to give to the customer.
Transportation and shipping: Implementation of mobility solutions in the transportation and shipping industries improves overall performance by helping companies in fleet management and operations, yard and asset management and driver communication. Using mobile computers in conjunction with GPS and VIS enables users to manage operations of an entire transportation fleet from a central location. This significantly improves performance, as well as reduces operational costs.
Field mobility components such as mobile computers, RFID readers, barcode scanners and mobile printers are well-suited for the needs of transportation and logistics companies. They assist in various logistical and inventory operations such as tracing, tracking, scanning, obtaining proof of delivery and cross-docking various products and operations. They also improve operational efficiency of various dispatch operations with enhanced customer satisfaction.
Healthcare: Mobile computing is very popular within the healthcare industry. Hospitals, in particular, use mobile computing devices to track patients and emergency supplies. Mobile computing devices assist the nurses in receiving quick inputs from doctors who are away from the hospital.
Mobile medical care units such as ambulances and emergency units use these solutions to access patient records for reference and to update records with current diagnosis and treatment information. Moreover, in emergency situations like accidents, they capture crucial information, such as the type of injury, the patient’s condition, treatments accomplished, and other data. These devices then transmit this information to the hospital. They also receive valuable input from the doctors at hospitals to treat the patient appropriately. This helps in saving lives that otherwise could be lost.
Field service and sales workers: Mobile computing devices ease the jobs of sales workers through effective data collection and transfer facilities. For instance, an insurance agent can compare, estimate and do necessary calculations on his mobile computer after collecting data from the customer to provide the customer with the required policy and benefits information. This helps customers make decisions about the policy instantly. Upon customer agreement, the necessary information can be transmitted immediately to the central computer, automatically enrolling the customer in the insurance or financial planning program. In the absence of these computing devices, this process would take days instead of minutes.
In case of field services, such as HVAC or plumbing, these devices are found to be effective in providing timely services with enhanced customer satisfaction by offering instant invoices and payment receipts using mobile printers.
Law Enforcement: Mobile computing devices and field mobility solutions help law enforcement officials to accurately collect and report traffic data to local and state agencies, which leads to safer communities.
Devices such as barcode scanners and mobile printers help officers by scanning the drivers license of the person who violates traffic rules, take his/her signature using a signature capture pad, and use a mobile printer to hand out a printed ticket. They can also check the violation history of the driver using the data in their mobile computer, and can take immediate action, if necessary.
Warehousing, asset tracking, and inventory control: On the warehousing floor, rapid and accurate data collection is essential for effective functioning and reducing operational costs. Mobile computing is a cost-effective solution that addresses the requirements of warehousing by offering a quick and convenient method of replenishment by using RFID devices for inventory management and hand-held devices for efficient data collection and wireless communication.
Field mobility solutions also include effective devices for asset tracking and inventory control. Inventory management systems help in balancing stock levels, preventing both situations of overstock and out-of-stock. These solutions integrate easily with other business systems, which provides the ability to make better business decisions and increases productivity and profitability.
In addition to the above-mentioned industries, many other fields are effectively reaping the benefits of mobile computing devices, including the hotel industry, media, car rental agencies and more. If your workforce is geographically dispersed, you can boost your productivity by effectively managing critical information using mobile computing devices. Nowadays, many companies even offer customized products to suit your business requirements.