The use of mobile data collection devices became popular in 2012, as warehouses, manufacturers and online retailers found the tools were easy to use and created more efficient operations. CIO reported the year has proven mobile tools are a "must-have."
"As the year draws to a close, it's difficult to find an application vendor press release that doesn't mention any options for mobile device delivery, whether via native applications or a cross-platform HTML5 client," the article stated.
Mobile has taken over ERP systems as well, Computer Weekly reported. Mobile ERP "really is the next big thing," the article stated.
One major distributor, UPS, discovered how mobile solutions make delivering packages easier for employees. The company formerly used paper pads to track parcels but switched to hand-held mobile data collection devices to scan packages on trucks and when they are delivered.
The Los Angeles Times reported the scanners determine where packages need to be, which guides the drivers of the delivery trucks on their routes. This makes the drivers more efficient and has a dramatic affect on operations for the company that delivers millions of packages each day. The technology has proven especially beneficial during the holiday shopping season.
Mobile technology helps suppliers respond to customer expectations
Online shopping has led to more demanding expectations from consumers, the article stated. Some want free shipping, others are looking for same-day shipping or same-day delivery. Because of the incentives offered by retailers, consumers are also waiting until later in the holiday shopping season to make their online purchases but requiring they arrive before the holiday.
"You really see the dates expanding much closer to the holiday than you would have seen in years past," said retail strategist Al Sambar, according to the Times article. "Many, many more retailers have added or expanded their ability to ship same day by creating the ability to ship from their own store inventory. [That way] they can ship even later into the season."
To keep up with these consumer demands, companies like UPS need to have a clear understanding on where packages need to be sent and how quickly they need to arrive. Tools like mobile barcode scanners are making this possible. Adoption of these tools is expected to increase in 2013 as more people decide to invest in modern technology in order to improve efficiencies and respond to rising expectations from customers.