Tag: Mobile Productivity
We could all use a year of perfect order after the unexpected happenings in 2016. “Surprises” don’t seem to describe 2016, and no one likely made all these predictions one year ago. Around the world: political upheaval has been rampant, global economies have been on a rollercoaster ride, Chicago, Cleveland, Leicester were among the unusual winners of sports championships. Closer to our industry, shipping saw a rising tide, though at least one major firm sank into bankruptcy. Supply chain technology continued its march forward, evidenced most recently with Amazon’s first commercial drone delivery.
Reset the productivity clock: Yes, it happens again. You achieved your operational productivity metrics this past year. Now, it’s time to set your sights on achieving this year’s target. But there is good news: 2016 brought a number of exciting advances in mobile productivity – both in the form of new mobile devices running “smart” operating systems, and the expansion of mobile app modernization (yes, that’s a shameless plug for our Velocity platform). As we roll into 2017, Velocity is available on a number of devices from Datalogic, Honeywell, Panasonic and Zebra, to name a few).
Plan now for future efficiency: Many economies are running hotter, especially now that some of 2016’s political questions have been answered. Now is the time to plan for the unknowns that lay ahead as these expectations meet with reality in 2017. Businesses should be preparing now for the potential of leaner times ahead by making sure their workers equipped to be as productive as possible.
Supply chain IoT becomes real: The Internet of Things has been explored throughout the supply chain. We’ve seen robotic shelving concepts and more over the past few years. This year, prepare for use cases to extend into areas of business not previously on your radar. This will be a fun and interesting area of innovation our markets, so stay tuned.
Every year is bound to bring us plenty of unexpected surprises, and 2017 delivers its share, we’re excited to explore them with you! What expectations do you have for mobile productivity in 2017? Email me with your predictions and we’ll track them throughout the year.
From all of us at Wavelink, we thank you for partnering with us for your mobile productivity needs. We wish you the best for perfect order during the holidays and many perfect orders fulfilled in the year ahead!
Downtime is wasted time. No debate there, right? So, as you’re considering your next generation mobile deployments, one obvious expectation is to be able to ensure you can troubleshoot these new, smart devices, minimizing delays whenever possible. Whether caused by mobile device settings or software, the ability to remote in, check out the issue, and resolve it quickly, is powerful – and imperative to maximizing worker productivity.
Last week, we announced our partnership with Splashtop, and the release of our Smart Device Remote Control. It’s a big deal for us, and very timely for businesses throughout the supply chain. More and more firms are starting hardware refreshes to mobile computers running Smart OSes like Android or planning for Windows 10.
One of the most relatable benefits of remote control – from customer stories using our long-proven Remote Control for Windows CE and Windows Mobile, is the ability to avoid “No Fault Found” service responses. For these companies, Remote Control addressed the scenario of a device having a problem in the field, and being sent to a service depot somewhere, only to be returned without any resolution – because, at the service center, all appeared to be in good working order. “Good working order” is good news, but the pain for these customers was explained in a couple of points:
Workers leaving the point of activity
When the device started acting up, the worker had to leave their task, walk to the closest person on-site who can help them, then walk back to their task location. Productivity losses really begin to mount the moment that worker walks away from their task location, and continue bleeding until they are physically back at their task location and able to resume their task. It may not sound like much, but consider the worker at the far end of a 250,000 square-foot warehouse (or larger in many cases), who has to walk all the way across the floor to swap out their device.
Once reaching an on-site contact, that worker is standing idle for whatever time it takes to stage a replacement device from the spares pool – more downtime. Are spares pool devices usually sitting charged, in a docking station, loaded with the latest versions of mission critical apps, ready to go? The answer should be “yes”, but many admit to a less-ready state for spare devices.
Shipping out the “broken” device
Consider the costs of sending a device out for service, unnecessarily. It’s all wasted time, and money. Even if you’re not paying shipping under a service agreement, you’re cost is built into your spares pool of devices. When that device comes back with a note reading “No Fault Found”, you haven’t really gotten any benefit for the downtime you have incurred.
Smart Device Remote Control is a powerful tool for preserving mobile productivity. Used in conjunction with Avalanche for enterprise mobility management, companies not only gain more control by keeping devices and apps up to date. They gain the ability to troubleshoot and resolve issues on the floor, as they happen, so workers can get back to work as quickly as possible.
Posted by Robert DeStefano
Last month I wrote about some of the reasons driving warehouse modernization and two of the big motivations focused on the age of existing mobile computers, coupled with the end-of-support timetables for legacy mobile operating systems offered by Microsoft. There are a significant number of good reasons to stay focused on Windows for your future mobile deployments (and some of those reasons are the exciting new devices we’ve seen recently from our device manufacturing partners). For this post, we’ll cover some barriers that you may be facing if you’re looking at Android for your next generation mobile deployment. Among the selection criteria many businesses prioritize when looking at their next generation solution, here are four I hear about often, and how to make these successful on Android:
- Deploy without disruption: This has been a common requirement even without choosing a significantly different operating system. So, when faced with making a big leap such as from Windows CE to Android, the fear of disruption is understandable. This is where many get caught up in app migration, and the cost and effort that comes with it. Good news: you can move to Android and ensure business continuity by keeping the systems you already have in place.
- “State of the Art” user experience: If you’re going to embrace a new generation of mobile hardware that offers a beautiful, bright screen and touch interface, you don’t want to give workers a text-heavy application to work with. Terminal Emulation or “green-screen” applications have been trusted for decades. To get the most out of their proven success in a new generation, modernize these existing telnet clients so your workers get an experience similar to what they get on their personal smartphones.
- Deliver more than just “green-screen”: Terminal Emulation has certainly been the most common method for connecting mobile devices to host-based applications. But, what about all the web-based enterprise systems out there? If you’re running SAP, Oracle, Manhattan, or any of a variety of other browser apps, you’re equally in need of a solution to bring those apps to new touchscreen devices. With our Velocity platform, you can modernize the user experience for both – telnet and web apps – using a common mobile enablement solution.
- Flexibility to make it our own: You already have established tasks that workers navigate. Now, you want to further optimize them with scripts so that workers can move through tasks faster. An example would be automating steps in the task workflow that perform a calculations. Further enhancement to your apps may include custom onscreen keyboards that present the user with only the keys appropriate for a specific data field (no need to show alphabetic characters for a quantity field, for example). Finally, modernized apps offer an opportunity to promote your brand. Whether these apps are seen only by warehouse workers, or in customer-facing environments (read: retail floor), you can add branding elements to really make your apps look your own.
Bottom line: choosing a new mobile hardware platform is a big consideration. Making that decision with a new operating system in the mix raises even more questions. Here’s an opportunity to learn more and eliminate some of the barriers to Android adoption. I’m shamelessly plugging our upcoming webinar, Mapping Mobile Solutions to Meet Warehouse Modernization Trends Presented by VDC Research. Hope to see you there, where you’ll be able to hear expert analysis on app modernization and more!
Posted by Wavelink
Steve Bemis has extensive experience in hardware and software sales and management with a focus on mobile environments.
Since 2008, he has been an integral part of Wavelink with his role as vice president of worldwide sales. He is responsible for driving over 30 million in sales annually.
With this kind of experience in the industry, we wanted to pick his brain regarding current topics facing today’s industry. Here are his responses:
- Tell us a little bit about the typical Wavelink customer. What problems does Wavelink solve for them?
The typical Wavelink customer is someone from a company you might deal with regularly—Amazon, FedEx, UPS, Bed Bath & Beyond, IKEA, and Sysco Foods, just to name a few.
Some of our oldest customers are food retailers, such as Safeway and Kroger, who use our software to help their local grocer order the food that the wholesaler delivers every day.
We are all about driving efficiency. This efficiency can occur in a retail space by perhaps allowing the associate real-time access to stock status and pricing, or it can occur in the distribution facility by making sure the product is shipped on time and as efficiently as possible.
Wavelink is all about mission critical applications.
- Android migration is a trending topic right now. What are the biggest hurdles for companies with Android?
The biggest hurdle is deciding how to move your legacy systems forward. Everyone can agree that the compelling feature Android brings is a fresh look and feel; the challenge is how to bring that while still preserving the investment in Back Office systems.
Wavelink has been an industry leader doing exactly that for years. We have seen companies looking to upgrade their systems realize this to be a 500+ million dollar undertaking. Not only is this expensive, but it carries huge risks as we are talking about touching the very systems that are deemed mission critical.
Wavelink has products that can allow for this shift in technology while still mitigating the risks and costs.
- How are companies using Velocity and what is it?
Velocity is a revolutionary product.
As with all of our products, Velocity aligns with our strategy of evolution vs. revolution. We can leverage it to provide everyone the user experience that our customers are looking for while maintaining their back-end systems with no changes to their host applications.
This allows them to recognize huge ROI with little risk. On top of that, we can leverage our Speakeasy product and add voice as simply as another modality, without all the legacy issues that came with adding voice in the past.
Download our free white paper and find out how you can make your Android migration as painless as possible.
Posted by Robert DeStefano
Your business has most likely been running Windows Mobile or Windows CE for a device generation or two. From the introduction of PocketPC in the rugged device market in 2001, Microsoft delivered a stable platform that brought mobile productivity to manufacturers, retailers, and the entire supply chain in between.
However, the last five years have really forced a reevaluation of where to look next.
At first, there was the discussion of consumer devices moving into the hands of workers who traditionally carried rugged mobile computers. While the lines determining where consumer-grade fits and where it fails became clearer, the operating system landscape was significantly altered.
Since its first introduction to the rugged mobile computing market in late 2011, Android has grown in both the number of rugged devices shipped and the number of device form factors for which it’s available.
Since 2015, analyst firms such as VDC Research have pointed to statistics that prove Android is reaching “critical mass” in the market.
With industry experts recognizing Android as a viable candidate for your next mobility hardware refresh, your focus may be shifting to the remaining barriers to choosing this OS. That’s good.
A major area of concern: the expense of a migration.
App migration is expensive
When the first Android-based rugged devices entered the market, the most common objection concerned the mobile apps, with questions like, What am I supposed to do with my applications? Are there equivalent apps already available for Android? Will my application vendor build me an Android version? How much will all of this cost me?
It’s a huge jump—probably not seen since the days of moving your applications away from DOS around the turn of the century. And just like then, a big benefit of making the leap is an application experience that’s significantly more user-friendly.
That’s all nice, but at what cost?
Since the first rugged Android devices, many application providers, including Wavelink, have brought their apps to Android. Vendors have faced two choices:
1. Bring the existing application, in its current form, over to Android
2. Rewrite the whole application for this new operating system
The first option was a relatively quick solution, but wouldn’t fully take advantage of all that the Android OS offered. The second option—while it could allow developers to optimize the app for Android—was a much larger development effort (read: more expensive to create).
Wavelink brought Terminal Emulation (TE) to the Android operating system in late 2011, just in time for the first rugged Android devices.
With TE, early adopters of Android devices could stay with their trusted mobility client and begin to roll out new devices. TE has been a proven platform for decades, and the ability to adopt new hardware without the risk of new software at the same time has been a relief for many customers. However, with its “green screen interface,” TE left something to be desired by those looking for a more Android experience.
Android—and fellow consumer operating system, iOS from Apple—really changed the mobile experience. Finger-tapping, swiping, pinching and panning are all new ways to navigate on a smartphone.
Aside from the way we interface with apps, the devices offer bright, beautiful screens. Display technology advanced with incredible clarity. How does one take advantage of all of this—the full Android experience?
In the same way that application vendors were reluctant to fully rewrite their apps for Android, companies around the globe discovered the same pains of cost, risk, and effort to migrate from their existing applications to new alternatives on Android.
To solve this, Wavelink created the Velocity platform.
Velocity takes your existing telnet client or web application and modernizes it for a touchscreen experience. What does that mean? Your existing, trusted “green screen” client becomes an Android app—complete with screen-tapping navigation; a clean, intuitive user experience; and the ability to offer full color and graphics so workers can easily read and interpret task workflows.
You don’t need to migrate to a new application when you can modernize with Velocity. Underneath that elegant interface is the tried-and-trusted telnet client performance you’ve relied on for years. You can continue to depend on your Android application with confidence.
Only now, the user experience for your workers is much more intuitive and familiar, and it replaces multiple keypresses with single screen-taps.
Learn more by downloading our free white paper below!
Posted by Robert DeStefano
Making an investment in technology isn’t about developing or buying a product, but a problem that the technology solves. Here at Wavelink, our investment in voice enablement has been focused on solving the problems our customers face: What problems with their current workflows can be addressed with voice? What problems with traditional voice applications can be solved with a fresh approach via voice enablement?
The answer varies by business, and you can see some of the more common challenges driving voice adoption in the accompanying infographic. It is always interesting to hear a personal story from a decision maker explaining why they chose Speakeasy. Just as impressive are the metrics by which they measure the ROI on their voice enablement implementation – which can range from dollars and cents, to the less obvious employee morale, etc. All these show why voice adoption is projected to grow significantly over the next several years.
The goals all yield some commonality in the problems solved: Improvements – whether measured by accuracy, safety, training, and others, all tie back to making sure the optimal amount of product moves to the next stage in the supply chain. That’s productivity!
Speaking of productivity, are you planning to attend Oracle OpenWorld next month? Wavelink will be there to talk mobile productivity. Stop by and get a demo of Speakeasy in booth #3537.
Posted by Brent Bluth
‘Tis the season for shouting. The U.S. presidential candidates are wielding their high-decibel voices in a cry for votes come November’s election.
Personally, I tune out every time there’s shouting and yelling. I gravitate towards the solid stalwarts of the world whose good deeds speak for themselves. I’m much more easily swayed by the power of one’s example than by the chest-thumping examples of one’s power.
A shout-out to the quiet power of Wavelink Speakeasy
While it’s tempting to shout from the rooftops the good deeds of Wavelink Speakeasy, customers of the solution make the best spokespersons.
One such example is the Toshiba America Business Solutions (TABS) distribution center in Memphis, Tennessee. The facility supplies Toshiba repair teams across the country with parts and products, and prides itself on fast service.
Distribution director Daniel Sanders wanted to streamline the picking process, make it easier for pickers to fill orders, and eliminate the quality control step.
“When we researched the voice solutions on the market today, we saw that much had changed,” said Sanders. “After checking out Speakeasy and several other products, we chose Speakeasy.” The solution was deployed on top of the Wavelink Terminal Emulation client, which provides the interface back to Toshiba’s Warehouse Management System (WMS). The complete deployment is managed by Avalanche, the trusted Wavelink Enterprise Mobility Management solution.
ROI in three months and annual savings of $549,548
The quality control step that Sanders wanted to eliminate now takes place simultaneously with the picking.
“Immediately after an item is picked, Speakeasy uses a check digit in conjunction with the host to confirm that the correct items and quantities are in the order. Removing that second quality control step alone increases productivity up to 25 percent, without affecting our high accuracy rate of 99.8 percent. Overall productivity was further improved because we were able to assign the quality-control employees to more valuable roles that add to our bottom line.”
One unexpected benefit is that Speakeasy passed the company’s Lean Six Sigma, a methodology that relies on a team effort to improve performance by routinely removing waste. “Passing Lean Six Sigma says a lot about the solution’s quality,” said Sanders. “And our executives back at headquarters noticed. In fact, they had me shoot a short video of Speakeasy in use at the center so they could learn more about it. We originally planned to use the solution in only two places—the parts-pick and supply-pick areas. But now, because we can easily justify the return on investment, in the future we plan to use Speakeasy in other work areas, too. With Speakeasy, we’re seeing a projected annual savings of $549,548 in productivity, training, and audit costs alone. The solution paid for itself in fewer than three months. Speakeasy delivered everything it promised, and more.”
Independent research aligned with Toshiba’s success
Studies by VDC Research revealed that organizations employing voice-based technology have consistently cited gains of more than 20 percent in both picking accuracy and worker productivity. Approximately 40 percent of warehouse labor costs are related to order preparation. “This heightens the need to reduce warehousing errors, and picking errors in particular, as organizations strive to optimize the perfect order,” reported VDC’s Kathryn Nassberg and David Krebs. “Cost of freight, labor, and lost customers are the three factors that have the greatest financial impact when errors are made.”
And as product marketing manager Rob DeStefano explains in “The Android Expectation” white paper that you can download below, Speakeasy runs completely on the mobile device, meaning that everything that takes the spoken phrases and turns them into text for fields within your application is handled within the mobile device.
“As far as your host application is concerned, there’s no difference between data entered via voice and data scanned from a barcode, or keyed in by the user,” DeStefano said. “You’ve made a significant investment in your host applications. There’s no need to compromise that investment to get the latest mobile tech for your workers.”
Posted by Brent Bluth
I’m old enough to remember when the U.S. Postal Service introduced the “Zoning Improvement Plan” or ZIP codes in 1963. And a memorable slogan from an early ad campaign introducing this new process-efficiency plan has stuck with me ever since: “Mail moves the country. ZIP codes move the mail.”
In the areas of warehouse and distribution center modernization, there’s an ever-increasing need for process efficiencies to boost both productivity and accuracy. The margin for error is being scrutinized and warehouse operations present opportunities for competitive differentiation.
Achieving the “perfect order” (encompassing picking accuracy, on-time delivery rate, shipping without damage, and order entry accuracy) is increasingly the goal.
Terminal Emulation—an enterprise mobility staple since the 1990s
Though not nearly as old as the first ZIP codes, Terminal Emulation (TE) has been a staple for enterprise mobility solutions since the 1990s when wireless mobility gained traction. TE made it easy to see and capture the data from the server-based supply chain management systems.
Wavelink TE has a proven 20-year track record of meeting business needs. Without question, it’s a task worker “productivity catalyst” for enterprises across industries.
And as product marketing manager Rob DeStefano explains in “The Android Expectation” white paper that you can download below, Wavelink brought TE to the Android operating system in late 2011—in time for the first rugged Android devices.
“With TE, early adopters of Android devices could stay with their trusted mobility client and begin to roll out new devices,” DeStefano says. “The ability to adopt new hardware without the risk of new software at the same time has been a relief for many customers. However, with its ‘green screen’ interface, TE left something to be desired by those looking for a more ‘Android experience’”.
DeStefano explains that Android—and fellow consumer operating system, iOS from Apple—really changed the mobile experience. Finger-tapping, swiping, pinching and panning are all new ways to navigate on a smartphone. “Aside from the way we interface with apps, the devices offer bright, beautiful screens. Display technology advanced with incredible clarity. How does one take advantage of all of this—the full Android experience?”
According to DeStefano, in the same way that application vendors were reluctant to fully rewrite their apps for Android, companies around the globe discovered the same pains of cost, risk, and effort to migrate from their existing applications to new alternatives on Android. To solve this, Wavelink created the Velocity platform.
“Velocity takes your existing telnet client or web application and modernizes it for a touchscreen experience,” DeStefano says. “What does that mean? Your existing, trusted ‘green screen’ client becomes an Android app—complete with screen-tapping navigation; a clean, intuitive user experience; and the ability to offer full color and graphics so workers can easily read and interpret task workflows.”
DeStefano says you don’t need to migrate to a new application when you can modernize with Velocity. “Underneath that elegant interface is the tried-and-trusted telnet client performance you’ve relied on for years. You can continue to depend on your Android application with confidence. Only now, the user experience for your workers is much more intuitive and familiar, and it replaces multiple keypresses with single screen-taps.”
Here are some additional key points about Wavelink TE:
Modernize the host application automatically
Velocity handles the conversion of your host application’s text interface automatically, so you can devote your software-development resources to other projects. Your workers gain a mobile application that is contemporary and familiar, while your business avoids the costs of having to develop one.
Skip the middleware
The Velocity platform consists of the mobile app/browser and administrative console. Complexity doesn’t get between your mobile devices and your host application.
Many of today’s touchscreen devices have few, if any, physical keys for data entry. Velocity lets you create customized onscreen keypads, so you can present workers with the data entry keys appropriate for the task at hand.
Raise productivity with an optimized mobile experience
Powerful scripting and reformatting capabilities let you automate data parsing and customize your workers’ mobile experience like never before.
Get the white paper now!