Foreword

Mobile computing promises to free-up the workforce from labour intensive and repetitive activities and improve productivity but there can be no doubt that mobile workers are feeling the frustrations of working with their current handheld mobile computing devices.

Our research shows that as well as demotivating the workforce, these issues are having a huge cost and customer service impact on the businesses they work for.

The failure rates users reported for their handheld scanning devices were much higher than those of other mobile computing devices and the repair times reported could be business crippling. These costs are in addition to the frustration users already feel about the design of their devices.

As the pressures on delivery drivers, warehouse workers, retailers and emergency services personnel across Europe continues to increase, the stakes continue to get higher because every second counts in the business sectors where these bar code scanning handheld devices are used.

The work environment is often difficult and exposed, which has an impact on the number of device accidents and failure rates. As a result, it is more critical than ever that technology buyers understand the device design factors that will have the biggest impact on their workforce and their business – ergonomic design, rugged protection and technology differentiators like hot swappable batteries and daylight visible screens.

I hope you find this research interesting and informative when considering your buying priorities for handheld devices for your mobile workforce.

Jan Kaempfer
General Manager for Marketing at Panasonic Mobile Solutions Business Division Europe.

Executive summary

Handheld mobile computing failures are frustrating delivery drivers, warehouse workers, retailers and emergency services personnel across Europe and costing business. On average, the handheld mobile computing devices with bar code readers fail more than 1.5 times a year1 and take 3 days or more to replace or repair.

Have you experienced a handheld device failure in the last 2 years? If yes, how many failures have you experienced?

How long were you without the use of your handheld device whilst it was being repaired or replaced?  

Do you find the handheld devices you currently use less resilient to failure than other devices?

 Workers reported device damage was caused by a wide variety of issues from drops and spills, to being left in freezing or melting hot conditions to being run over by vehicles!

Which of the following were the cause of the problems you encountered?

The most frequent damage from these accidents varied from battery, button and touchscreen issues to bar code reader failure.

 

Top reasons for failures were:

What issues have you encountered over the past 2 years with any of the handheld devices you use for work purposes?

Even when their devices were operating effectively, mobile workers still found them frustrating. The most annoying things about their handheld device were:

What do you find most annoying about your current handheld device?

The top design improvements they would like to see made to their handheld devices were:

Which features would you like your handheld devices to have that they don’t have already?

And if these improvements were made and they had their perfect handheld device, workers promised huge increases in productivity as a result.

If your handheld device was perfectly designed to your requirements, how much more productive do you think it would make you?

Research findings

The independent research, carried out by Opinion Matters on behalf of Panasonic TOUGHBOOK, questioned more than 1250 handheld device users in the UK, Germany, France, Sweden and the Netherlands.

The TOUGHBOOK difference: Choosing the right rugged handheld device provider for your mobile workforce.

So, what makes TOUGHBOOK stand out as a rugged handheld device provider?

Protection

Not all rugged devices are created equal

There is no standard definition for the term ‘Rugged PC’. It can mean something very different from vendor to vendor. For example, rugged protection is not just about drop specification and Ingress Protection. 

TOUGHBOOK devices are also tested to and protected against:

  • Altitude
  • Humidity
  • High Temperature
  • Salt Fog
  • Low Temperature
  • Vibration
  • Temperature Shock
  • Freeze/Thaw
  • Solar Radiation
 

Accessories

Making all the difference

It’s not just a purpose-built handheld device that makes a difference to the mobile workforce, the right accessories can be the difference to increasing productivity or frustrating the workforce. 

Every TOUGHBOOK handheld device has its own ecosystem of accessories and peripherals – from hand and shoulder straps to chargers, additional batteries, stylus pens for accurate signature capture, power adaptors and docks. 
And TOUGHBOOK recognises that replacing accessories and peripherals when devices are upgraded or changed can be time consuming and expensive. So, TOUGHBOOK works hard to build backward compatibility into most products to ensure that power packs, docks and accessories can be reused from one generation of device to the next.

Displays

I can see clearly now

Most vendors claim outdoor visibility, but a professional display is not just about being outdoor readable and touch capable. Most TOUGHBOOK touchscreens can accept input in high and low temperatures, can be used with a capacitive or digitizer pen, are able to be used with gloves and can even be operated in the rain. The anti-reflective layer also provides the best viewability even under direct sunlight. At the same time our screens consume less power, extending battery life.

 

Batteries

Left feeling run down

High capacity battery options and replaceable batteries lead to lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and better Return on Investment (ROI). TOUGHBOOK batteries provide long battery life on a single charge. Most TOUGHBOOK units have exchangeable batteries so you can run multi-shift duties with the lowest downtime. High capacity battery options are available to support long shifts without downtime or access to power. Always ask for a device with a high capacity battery option and exchangeable design to improve TCO and ROI.

Serviceability

Making your IT investment last

More features in smaller form factors leads to devices that are difficult to customise and impossible to service. This can have an impact on TCO. TOUGHBOOK understands that serviceability is important for businesses. So, all our components are replaceable and parts are guaranteed to be available for a minimum of 5 years.

 

Turn Around time

No hanging around

Device downtime cuts productivity and can also have an impact on reputation, customers, and employee morale. TOUGHBOOK’s 48-hour repair time is one of the best in the rugged market. With our Rapid Replacement Service, we can deliver next day, ready-for-use replacement units straight out of the box.

End-to-End warranties

A special level of service

It’s a fact that the older your device, the more likely it is to fail. TOUGHBOOK offers a range of warranties that can be extended on request beyond the standard coverage. We can tailor special levels of service according to how your business needs to work.

Repair quality

First time fixes

TOUGHBOOK’s rugged device failure rates are very low but if something should go wrong, you want to be confident that it will be repaired properly so there’s no further impact on productivity. 

Our repair service is only carried out by authorised Panasonic TOUGHBOOK Service Teams. All technicians are dedicated rugged specialists and have access to information on all products.

Our Service Centre is located on the same site as our configuration centre for synergy and efficiency between operations. We offer an online self-management tool to speed up repair and maintenance, giving customers more visibility and control. Collection of faulty devices can also be booked via the system with our logistics partner.

All units that go through the Service Centre are treated just like production units with the same exacting Quality Control process, ensuring the highest standards of repair. Any replacement devices that are shipped to the customer are sent pre-configured with the correct image and software.