L-Tron Corporation and Honeywell Scanning & Mobility have partnered together for nearly 30 years. In 1983, L-Tron was one of the first channel partners to begin working with Welch Allyn Data Collection. Welch Allyn later merged with Hand Held Products to become HHP in 1999. In 2007, the company was acquired by Honeywell to form Honeywell Scanning & Mobility. Today, L-Tron is proud to maintain a close relationship with Honeywell Scanning & Mobility, an industry leader in laser- and image-based data collection, including mobile computing and barcode scanning.
Throughout our partnership, L-Tron has seen today’s consumer devices shift from cell phones to smartphones, while the demand for all-in-one enterprise devices has grown exponentially. Laura Kelleher, Honeywell Scanning & Mobility’s Director of Marketing, Americas, recently answered some questions for us regarding the evolution of scanning and computing devices in enterprise-based applications. Here is what she had to say.
Q: What types of enterprises are using consumer-grade devices to manage their automation?
A: This shift is occurring in more consumer-facing applications, including retail in-store and healthcare point-of-care.
In supply chain applications, a premium is still placed on device security and ruggedness, a factor that is continuing to drive the need for industrial-class mobile devices for workers on the floor or in trucks. The combination of mobility and PC functionality that a warehouse or fleet supervisor can get from a rugged hand-held or tablet form factor can replace an office PC and allow that supervisor to perform tasks and handle expectations more efficiently.
There is also greater mobility in other functions, such as quality control, maintenance, and receiving – areas where the worker may previously have had a fixed PC workstation or a laptop. These workers want the whole office at hand, without having to carry a laptop around. Enterprise leaders need to determine whether a rugged or semi-rugged device would deliver a lower cost of ownership for these applications, or if a consumer-grade device would do.
Q: Will enterprises begin deploying a mix of rugged devices for some workers and consumer devices for others?
A: There’s definitely more diversity in deployed devices. The objective for businesses is to optimize each worker’s productivity at each node along a workflow, by providing the right data capture device for that specific task.
Q: Are some enterprises resistant to this type of “Big Data” deployment?
A: Not really, simply because the technology is so customizable that it’s hard to feel force-fed. The supply chains that don’t have real-time visibility from the point of sale all the way back to the point of manufacture will have difficulty meeting consumer demand. The advice I’d give a business struggling with too many data-capture options is to find a partner who can help optimize each step in their workflow in a way that is scalable and future-proof, and enable them to manage their entire system from a single remote location.