• Hardware

BYOD and the Rise of Consumer-Grade Devices in the Supply Chain

Written by Tim Ingles
February 16, 2017

Many companies are starting to incorporate the use of consumer-grade devices in their operations.

Many companies are starting to incorporate the use of consumer-grade devices in their operations.

Originally, BYOD meant allowing employees to conduct business using their own personal mobile devices, however, with the cost of consumer-grade mobile devices significantly lower than rugged devices, many companies are now purchasing and arming their mobile workforce with consumer-grade devices.

BYOD Case Study: Cisco

Cisco had been slowly rolling out a BYOD program since 2009 to reduce mobile and support expenses, and now allows all employees to use their personal devices for work whether they’re at home or in the office.

In a report, the company noted that it’s saving over $1-million annually because the BYOD program has helped it reduce smartphone management, and lease and break-fix support costs.

Cisco has also gained 15-minutes per employee per day because the program has increased employee productivity, and it’s seen a reduction in support cases by 33%. In total BYOD has helped Cisco save up to $300-million annually.

Small to medium-sized businesses might find these types of figures to be more modest, but they too can see the financial benefits of using consumer-grade devices in their operations. Let’s look at an example.

Business-Owned Devices BYOD Case Study: Medical Device Manufacturer

A medical device manufacturer that was a client of RFgen Software had a problem managing its consignment inventory. The company was generating $153-million a year in medical device sales, but it was tracking all of its data manually.

That was an issue for at least three reasons:

  1. Its consignment inventory contains an allotment of high-priced items, and poor data collection could cause the company to purchase more items than it needs. As you might expect, this raises costs substantially.
  2. Inaccurate inventory data could cause the manufacturer to accidentally run out of devices (or materials) for its clients, thus delaying the shipment process.
  3. Poor data could result in the company allocating its resources into building the wrong types of medical devices.

To solve its problem, the manufacturer needed a data capture system that would allow its field sales employees to easily capture inventory data at the hospitals where the consignment inventory resided. The solution was to provide its field sales employees with consumer-grade Apple iPhones running the RFgen Mobile Foundations for SAP solution.

After launching RFgen on the Apple iPhones, the client found the results to be incredible: The client’s inventory tracking accuracy reached 99.9 percent, and it saw an 80% increase in faster employee training, a 30 percent increase in productivity and a 25% rise in operational efficiency.

Does a BYOD Strategy and Using Consumer-Grade Devices Make Sense for You?

The choice between ruggedized and consumer-grade devices is complex and requires an operational area-by-area analysis to determine the deciding factors. Consumer-grade devices are much less expensive upfront and often easier for employees to use, but factors such as durability and working conditions may favor rugged devices in some applications. Market shifts in operating systems and consumer-grade devices are shaping the future of enterprise mobility.