Covid-19 has transformed business processes and operations across every sector. From office closures and staff working from home to some industries booming while others shut down completely, organisations of every size are still adapting to a post-pandemic world that few were prepared for.
Companies had to react quickly, switching to remote access and video conferencing while relying on collaboration tools, and cloud solutions via a decentralized IT system to ensure business continuity. This brought the digital infrastructure firmly into focus, and where agility and mobility became critical, many things that previously seemed impossible were suddenly necessary and, more importantly, worked.
Fred Kao, CEO Twinhead International, the company behind Durabook, the brand for rugged and mobile-optimised laptops and tablets, identifies the key digitisation trends that accelerated due to the pandemic.
Meeting demand with cutting-edge technology
One industry that benefited from the pandemic was the transport and logistics sector. Organisations operating in this space were vital during the pandemic, distributing essential goods and products where they were most needed. Due to the sharp increase in online demand, processes had to ramp up while capacities expanded at speed.
Historically, managing warehouse logistics has been complicated, and the pandemic made this even more evident. Managers fulfill multiple tasks simultaneously, from scheduling the workforce, maintaining deadlines and assessing issues to managing inventories, processing orders from warehouse management and ERP systems and assigning work. The vast majority of warehousing environments use old operation systems or paper and pen with the data then transferred to a PC later.
Complications from this process are common, including illegible handwriting, transposing errors, loss of data, and increasing time consumption, particularly during busy periods. Connectivity in the large warehousing environments is another major issue with constant network interruptions, and the use of desktop systems meaning the user does not have the mobility benefits seen with a demountable device.
During the pandemic, digitally-savvy businesses rapidly deployed cutting-edge rugged devices to combat these issues by providing a ‘one-stop’ solution for managing operational tasks. These devices provided a single, secure integrated device combining exceptional connectivity with integrated features, meaning warehouse workers could complete their job in a single location. In addition to reducing the time taken to carry out operational processes, this cut costs by reducing the amount of paper used and minimising human errors.
Deploying a hybrid IT structure for optimum productivity
The pandemic has made it clear that hybrid and remote work are the future, but this requires a proper infrastructure for maximum efficiency, and the spectrum ranges from remote access to cloud-based work. A closed IT infrastructure limits possibilities, while an openly accessible one that combines stationary with mobile solutions expands them. A company that designs all work processes in such a way that they can be done just as efficiently, no matter where you are and whatever you’re dealing with, is more able to act in a responsive and agile way, in any environment.
Again, the logistics sector is an area where this digital mobility and flexibility really came into play during the pandemic. For example, with a more decentralized IT system, the engineer on the construction site, the measurement technician in the field and the buyer in the warehouse could all be instantly and directly connected without having to go to the office. This produced better results thanks to faster, real-time information flow, quicker decision-making processes and reaction times and greater flexibility, leading to more efficient action.
Combatting environmental challenges
In the face of a crisis, time is of the essence and efficient, hardwearing technology is key to ensuring workers remain productive and proficient 24/7. Today’s leading rugged devices deliver digital solutions for utility workers and operatives who need to perform multiple tasks across various conditions – and they’re designed to last.
For example, manufacturers of rugged devices know that operators often split their time between the immobile reality of a typical office setting and travelling the warehouse’s entirety. Therefore, these devices are built to transition from stationary units in temperature-controlled environments to a wide range of operating conditions. Where drops, spills, vibration, direct sunlight and extreme temperatures are just some of the challenges that standard consumer laptops cannot withstand, today’s devices boast durability, which means they last and are a worthwhile investment over time. Research has shown that rugged devices have lower total cost of ownership (TCO) by up to 50% over a five-year lifespan due to decreased downtime and less need for hardware replacement. These devices offer the optimum blend of functionality, performance and reliability in even the most competitive environments.
Staying secure and connected
Lightweight, high performance and security-focused, the latest generation of rugged devices boast enhanced connectivity and advanced security that allows users easy access to data.
Mobile workers, such as warehouse managers, fleet operators and truck drivers demand continuous connection to central office for information synching, job dispatch and communications. As such, the latest devices can be vehicle docked with Tri Pass Through capability – GPS, WLAN & WWAN to ensure stable connectivity in the most remote locations and uninterrupted performance 24/7 and 365 days a year. Providing this level of agility doesn’t mean compromising on security either. Manufacturers know that the more decentralised the IT infrastructure, and the more external access required, the greater the risk of cyberattacks; that’s why these devices are equipped with decentralised security architecture. The requirements for these mobile solutions differ to classic IT infrastructures. However, the implementation of encrypted access, cloud-based security solutions and secure communication channels mean that organisations can be confident that their digital infrastructure remains secure and operatives can competently focus on getting the job done.
While the Covid-19 pandemic presented challenges for organisations of every size, it also offered opportunities for organisations in certain sectors to harness digital solutions that have not only allowed them to survive in the face of adversity but thrive.
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