I’ve seen it over and over. I’ve even been guilty of it. Sorry, that is – sorry I didn’t spend a few extra dollars a month or year on the service contract or extended warranty for high quality appliances, vehicles and other frequently used items. Many customers also complain about their decision to reject the maintenance plan for the mobile computers, wearables, tablets, scanners and printers that their employees use every day.
When something unexpected happens – and there is always a chance it will happen with electronic or mechanical items – we try to diagnose and solve the problem ourselves. When we can’t, we start frantically calling companies to see who can help right away. In many cases we can quickly sync with the right people, but where we end up in the priority line depends on how much we are willing to pay. Ultimately, the “premium” for a single service, repair ticket or item replacement is often much higher than the premium for a pre-service plan.
Decision-makers also often underestimate – at least initially – the professional help in designing and installing projects. In fact, when asked what they would do differently if they could start over, many warehouse managers, manufacturers and 3PLs said they would consult with someone who understands the ins and outs of their business as well as the technology. Both routine upgrades and major system overhauls can be complex, and the only way to get continuous operating system (OS) updates and security patches for enterprise mobile devices is through a maintenance plan. You wouldn’t want to run your company’s IT systems without operating system updates and security patches. Why should you treat mobile devices differently? If something is not connected correctly or does not work as it should, there is a risk that neither people nor machines will work as they should.
While I could share countless stories of customers who eventually reached out to Zebra to help them get a project on track, I’d rather tell about one customer who got it right (or restarted) from the start: Europe’s largest postal service.
The executives called Zebra’s Professional Services team after finding it difficult to manage delivery processes using previously deployed consumer smartphones and business devices.
They knew a change was required, but they didn’t want to burden IT teams with managing the rip-and-replace effort, especially since a mobile software upgrade was also required. So they signed up for various Zebra Professional Services offerings to ensure a smooth and fast solution design, implementation and maintenance experience.
Prior to implementation, the Zebra Professional Services consulting team developed intelligent enclosures based on the customer’s stringent requirements for storing and charging the new Zebra touch computers they selected for postmen. Zebra’s consultants also worked with the customer’s software development team to customize the Android operating system on the mobile computers. When the customer was ready to roll out the devices, the Zebra team managed the on-site device commissioning process, while Zebra’s Learning Services team provided personalized user training to promote rapid adoption of the solution. The rollout included pre-launch workshops and a custom in-house web-based application allowing all stakeholders to track implementation progress in real-time, resulting in a smooth rollout completed three months ahead of schedule!
Zebra’s customer support is far from over as the customized enterprise mobility solution and management strategy covers everything from device segmentation to actions completed. The customer subscribes to the Zebra OneCare maintenance program for technology support and comprehensive repair coverage. In addition, Zebra’s Circular Economy program is being used to retire the devices previously used by postmen. Defective devices are treated in an environmentally friendly way, while Zebra repairs the still-functioning devices for possible recycling. This process will continue with the currently installed devices as they approach the end of their life. Even if it won’t be until several years from now.
A German technology company has signed up for the Zebra VisibilityIQ Foresight service after upgrading to new Zebra enterprise-grade mobile computers in its logistics and integration centers. The goal was to simplify the monitoring and management of all devices. However, the continuous data insight into device performance revealed trends that led to broader business improvements. For example, the Scan Analytics report helped operations managers better understand the number of packages processed daily. And all the data generated helped them analyze efficiency and productivity in different workflows.
Most important experiences
So discuss your challenges, goals and ideas with a professional service team before finalizing your project plan and paying for implementation. And always accept the maintenance plans or support services offered to you when you purchase the technology.
If you have the right people to educate you on why you should or shouldn’t choose a particular technology—and have experts ready to step in when things don’t go according to plan—your ROI will increase significantly. In addition, it also helps ensure that a single printer, mobile device or poor network connection cannot compromise your entire operation.
The technologies you invest in for your warehouse, logistics or transportation activities are the tools your employees can use to solve and prevent blockages. Choosing the wrong technologies or not investing in the added protection of these technologies can also ultimately get in the way of your success.
This is a contribution submitted by Zebra Technologies. Via this link you will find more information about the company’s options.