• Offline Mobility
  • Supply Chain

The Importance of Building Offline Network Mobility into Your Supply Chain

Written by Michael Clark
January 31, 2018


The internet is now an ever-constant presence to all employees working in the warehouse. It has enabled enormous growths in productivity and efficiency, and serves as the backbone for new software apps and operational enhancements. No one will argue that today’s warehouses are designed with the internet and online augmentation in mind.

Many software solutions today tout the ability to work online and offline. Both methods of functionality are vital to daily operations. While internet connectivity empowers mobile devices and Internet of Things (IoT) functionality with constant data streams, companies also need software and hardware that can store data in offline mode. This is especially true for managing the productivity of remote workers.

Consistent Productivity Requires Online & Offline Solutions

While enormous improvements in online infrastructure have been made, the internet is still not a constant or optimized presence. There are a myriad of obstacles obscuring online development. Perhaps the largest, according to Business Insider, is the ISP monopoly. Internet service providers operate without competition in many parts of the U.S., giving them little incentive to upgrade services or reduce costs.

The political struggle over whether the internet should function as a utility or a for-profit enterprise is not helping matters either. Regardless, companies should be prepared to treat the internet as a service that works the majority of the time. This means potential downtime. In the warehouse supply chain, downtime quickly equates to lost revenue.

Supply chain workers feel mounting pressure as product delivery expectations keep increasing. A software solution that works only in online mode would be exposed to a massive productivity dip on a far-too-frequent basis.

These factors present significant challenges that necessitate warehouses to develop offline mobility solutions in addition to internet-based systems.

The ability to enable offline mode with mobility solutions is crucial to maintaining productivity during network downtime.

The ability to enable offline mode with mobility solutions is crucial to maintaining productivity during network downtime.

Offline Systems Are More Secure

Cybersecurity is a real and increasing concern in the supply chain industry. The general rule is that the more open a network is, the greater the risk for a cyberattack. Restricting permissions and requiring password authentication are now musts for any organization looking to succeed in the 21st century.

However, these basic security measures are not always enough. Digital Attack Map outlined one method of cybercrime called a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, which attempts to overwhelm online services with too much traffic. These criminals essentially target a network and then bombard it, increasingly its workload to the breaking point and dragging down performance.

According to information security company Verisign, these attacks were less common but more serious in 2017 than in previous years. Still, a DDoS cyberattack can last for hours or even days, causing significant revenue loss in the warehouse supply chain.

However, on-premise software equipped with an offline mode can still operate, making these systems much safer from these kinds of cyberattacks. RFgen offers such a solution.

Offline Mode Helps Optimize Bandwidth Speeds

Lastly, offline-enabled software stands to reduce corporate costs. A rise in IoT-enabled technology has equaled an increasing dependence on cloud computing to help process and store the enormous amounts of data coming in. This service can be an expensive solution, especially compared to the use of colocation facilities, as online marketer Arador pointed out.

However, the internet is a fluid system — the more users on it, the slower it operates. Smarter software can track these times and figure out the optimum period to upload and download larger amounts of data, reducing network stress and streamlining functionality when workers need it most.

On-premise software that can also switch over to offline mode when necessary helps reduce bandwidth load while prioritizing vital information transfer.

Offline capability helps manage bandwidth and server load, ensuring continuing operations even when network systems are down.

Offline capability helps manage bandwidth and server load, ensuring continuing operations even when network systems are down.

The RFgen Advantage

Achieving true offline productivity can be a challenge. RFgen offers two solutions for offline connectivity to its clients, both of which are designed to minimize productivity and revenue loss that may occur with offline downtime.

RFgen’s Off-Network Mobility Solutions allows data to be stored on the mobile device itself. This enables employees to keep working with devices such as barcode scanners even if the connection to the WiFi network is lost. Once the link is re-established, the data will be promptly uploaded to your ERP system.

With RFgen High Availability Distributed Solutions, the RFgen server stores the data securely in the event of an ERP system connection fail or during scheduled maintenance. Once online connectivity is restored, the information will be uploaded to the ERP software from the RFgen server. Doing this allows the client to maintain large amounts of data during an offline blackout.

Relying on only online systems leaves your operations open to numerous risks — from a simple network error up to a serious cyber threat. On-premise software that is secure and designed to operate while offline can minimize downtime and ensure stable productivity around the clock.