There is a lot of pressure on warehouse operators to improve productivityno surprise there. With many companies reporting a push for annual productivity increases of five percent or more, modernization of mobile warehouse technologies is becoming more of a mandate than a wish.

Common reasons to modernize your warehouse come from various angles, so here are five that I’ve been hearing most often:

1. Aging mobile devices

The lifecycle of rugged mobile computers is significantly longer than consumer devices. Many companies have rugged devices in use for five, seven, even ten years, or more. However, technological advancements (everything from processing power to data capture options) in the mobile computers that have been introduced since their last hardware implementation are inspiring a new wave of device refreshes.

2. Improving mobile application experiences

With a huge push toward faster shipments, many companies are evaluating how to help workers more quickly and intuitively navigate task workflows. This means mobile applications have to be more intuitive and easy to learn—especially for businesses that employ a sizable seasonal workforce.

3. Changing workforce demographics

A growing number of workers entering warehouse operations have never before seen a “green screen” terminal emulation client. But they grew up with tap-and-swipe user experiences on their smartphones and tablets. Giving them a familiar experience in their work applications essentially flattens their learning curve and speeds their productivity.

4. Fading support for legacy mobile operating systems

Several versions of Microsoft’s mobile operating systems will be unsupported by 2020. The choices among Android-based mobile computers are starting to reach deeper into supply chain use cases, while the first Windows 10 products are now joining this market.

5. Getting more from existing systems

Modernizing your mobile deployment should focus on exactly that: the mobile computers and mobility apps that your workers use to get their job done. You have already invested in and spent time optimizing your host application (whether your WMS, ERP, etc.). By modernizing your mobile technology, you can get more out of your existing host systems for years to come.

What forces are inspiring you to modernize supply chain mobility? Share your story with me on Twitter @Rob_DeStefano.

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