Supply chain operations are busy with a lot of moving parts, including goods, workers, and equipment. It can be easy for things to get misplaced or lost in the shuffle. One piece of equipment that is prone to going missing is rugged devices. When they do go missing, which is a daily occurrence for many businesses, it causes significant delays and disruptions in supply chain operations, costing time and money.

Productivity Pitfalls

Missing mobile computers are a top productivity killer that causes a range of problems including a slowdown in operations. Workers, and often operation managers, have to spend time searching for them, often totalling several hours each week in lost productivity. Workers may also have to wait for another rugged mobile computer to become available or find a less efficient way to complete their work. 

This can lead to delays in fulfilling orders, which can impact customer service level agreements and ultimately, business revenue. Our customers tell us that missing rugged devices cost them tens of thousands, through to millions of pounds per year, simply through lost productivity. In addition, the cost of replacing one, or sometimes several, can be significant, especially if it is a high-end model.

Lastly, as mentioned in our recent blog on the top 5 business challenges caused by missing devices, it can also create a security risk, particularly if the handheld terminal (HHT) contains sensitive data, such as personally identifying customer information or business data.

Similarly, the labour shortage in the UK, along with the challenge of retaining and recruiting staff is exacerbating the problem of lost productivity within the supply chain. In a recent survey, the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport UK found that many large companies have struggled to recruit and retain staff, with 86% of companies experiencing warehouse operative staff shortages in the past two years. Having fewer staff can stretch any supply chain operation to breaking point which is why rugged devices are so widely utilised to increase efficiency and maximise productivity.

Minimise impact on your business

In today’s fast-paced supply chains the cost of missing HHTs can be significant. When workers don't have the right equipment to perform their tasks, productivity suffers, and ripple effects can be felt throughout the entire operation.

The lost time, decreased accuracy, and potential for errors can lead to delays, increased costs, and frustrated team members. To minimise the impact of missing rugged devices in supply chains, logistics managers need a strategy that can be implemented fast to locate HHTs and keep operations on track.

With Device Finder from Waizu, rugged mobile computers are set up to proactively alert you - immediately halting the need to send out a search party! When a HHT is inactive for a set period, such as 10 minutes or more, it sounds an alarm letting you know that it might be missing. So, if the device hasn’t been touched or moved within that time it sounds an alert allowing workers to find and retrieve it for the original user or instantly redeploy it to another worker. No more HHTs missing in action, no more lengthy searches, and no more purchase requisitions to replace lost devices.

The hidden cost of missing devices – a customer perspective

One of our customers, a large 3PL that operates on behalf of a UK retailer, faced a significant challenge with managing over 100 Zebra rugged mobile computers. Every day, one or two of them would go missing, causing the operations manager to spend valuable time searching for them.

Additionally, the team had to manually sign the HHTs in and out every day, taking 45 minutes at the start and end of each shift, totalling 90 minutes per shift. With two shifts per day, seven days a week, and 360 days a year, this resulted in a staggering 1,080 hours of lost productivity due to workers queuing to check out and return the rugged devices.

To address this issue, the customer turned to Waizu's Device Finder solution. After 12 months of use, the customer has not lost a single HHT from its estate. While occasionally one may be misplaced, the team can quickly locate it using Waizu's Device Finder, which pinpoints the location of missing devices and allows them to ring it, effectively eliminating the need for time-consuming searches.

The benefits of this solution go beyond reducing the number of missing rugged mobile computers. By using Waizu's Device Finder, the customer no longer needs to overcompensate for the lost devices by overbuying, which helps to reduce costs. Furthermore, the time saved in looking for HHTs can be redirected towards more productive tasks, improving overall productivity and ROI.

Eliminate risks and maximise productivity!

Investing in Device Finder eliminates productivity pitfalls and keeps supply chains running smoothly. By providing workers with the tools needed to perform at their best, logistics managers can keep productivity on track. This not only improves worker satisfaction and helps to retain trained staff but also increases the business bottom line. So, whether you're in logistics, manufacturing, or any other industry that relies on a complex supply chain, it's worth considering how finding your missing mobile devices fast can benefit your operations.