Imagine that a logistics company learned that a concealed flaw in truck engines was costing up to 100 minutes in lost productivity with every incident – and that the number was continuing to rise.
Something like this is already happening, but it isn’t with 18-wheelers. Surprisingly, the problem is physically far smaller, yet even more costly: it’s the handheld devices used by drivers, in warehouses, and just about everywhere along the delivery route.
Even one dropped connection or poorly performing application on a handheld device per shift can translate into up to 100 minutes in lost productivity. Today, with delivery times increasingly squeezed into a 24-hour window, those “lost 100 minutes” represents an astounding 23 percent of a worker’s daily shift.
The ROI of customer satisfaction is high, and so is the hard-dollar cost. It adds up to almost $20,000 annually in support and productivity costs per worker.
Recently, VDC Research conducted a global survey among enterprise mobility decision-makers across multiple industries. For transportation and logistics organizations, the consensus was clear: worker productivity is the most important and business-critical area in which they would like to invest.
However, organizations must also take another factor into account: that productivity now relies almost entirely on the reliability of a fleet’s mobile devices. When a device in the field fails, productivity quickly plummets. What’s more, trends in logistics predict that the seamless integration of mobile devices will be integral to long-term business success.
For example, as the demand for faster delivery continues to grow, the largest logistics companies in the world have begun moving away from managing enormous truck fleets to managing petabytes of data. Last year, Amazon announced plans to assemble its own fleet of delivery vans that would be operated by independent contractors. The rise of small, independent trucking firms linked only by mobile devices means the reliability of ruggedized hand-held devices is mission critical.
Dependable mobility and real-time access to crucial information at the point of interaction is the only way to navigate the vast and complex maze of workflows along the delivery route. Without it – or when a device in the field fails unexpectedly – logistics companies might find themselves flying blind. With so many of today’s organizations relying on mobility, selecting the right enterprise mobility management (EMM) partner for mobile device management (MDM) is therefore critical for maintaining – and boosting – productivity.
For logistics companies, lost productivity matters. Yet only one in five respondents from the VDC Research study said they have complete visibility into their business-critical mobility solutions.
Although EMM/MDM solutions are being widely adopted, many organizations fail to fully leverage the benefits of these solutions, hindering their ability to quickly diagnose and fix issues, which leads to costly downtime.
Here are 10 imperatives for transportation and logistics executives to consider:
- Take a “blank sheet of paper” approach. Changes in how logistics companies operate mean that the way your company has evolved over time might not be the best approach for your business today. It’s worth asking yourself, “How would we do this if we were starting the company again, today? What are we taking for granted in the environment we operate in, and what should we be doing differently?”
- Focus on the fundamentals. Every logistics company should have defined systems and processes in place for getting the right devices into the hands of their workers, while ensuring they are regularly maintained and always running at peak efficiency.
- Simplify where you can. Many companies are realizing there are ways to simplify their app development and deployment. If you get it right the first time, you’ll find it’s a helpful productivity boost for your I.T. department, too.
- Build with flexibility in mind. No matter what your role is today, it’s likely that you’ll one day be responsible for overseeing a variety of Windows, iOS, and Android devices. These will all need to be integrated with critical back-end systems, so it’s important to have a plan before it happens.
- Your apps, your responsibility. Your corporate apps need to be monitored and managed. Make sure you budget accordingly, and find a partner who can help you keep them secure and working optimally for your business.
- There’s no productivity without security. With myriad endpoints to manage, it’s important to minimize security threats where you can. Choosing an EMM partner is critical to finding the right solutions to mitigate privacy and security issues.
- Get tough. With the industry moving towards leveraging small, independent fleets to manage deliveries, your mobile devices won’t be handled with kid gloves. They’ll be used in harsh environments, and by multiple drivers, so ensuring that the software running your mobile devices is reliable will ensure peace of mind.
- Lock them down. Every time your mobile devices experience downtime, it costs you big time. It’s critical that each device in your fleet is locked down so they can only be used for their intended purpose. Innocently clicking “Yes” on a dialog box asking to update software could mean crippling the purpose-built software inside.
- Plan for failure. No matter how carefully you plan and manage, some devices will fail. And when they do, it’s essential to have the ability to troubleshoot that device remotely and get it working again expeditiously.
- Look to the future. Upgrade your devices and take advantage of features such as integrated GPS, image sensors and high-resolution multi-touch displays optimized for daylight visibility. All of these can optimize your productivity to reach new heights.
Mobility management is too important, and lost productivity too costly, to ignore or leave to chance. Take a page from the most profitable logistics companies in the world, who ensure that they have proven EMM partners to keep their delivery engines revved up, and their workforces working.
Ryan Webber is Vice President of Enterprise Mobility at SOTI.