We just purchased Produmex WMS or Produmex Scan. How do we select mobile devices?
If you have WMS then determine which types of devices you need for your installation. Will you have Packing Stations or Production Lines – places where you will use the WMS ‘touch screens’ instead of handheld units. How many of each type will you need?
Determine the minimum device specifications for the software product you are using – Scan or WMS
Any device being considered must meet or exceed the specifications in the ‘Device Requirements’ section of the Produmex Wiki: http://wiki.produmex.name/doku.php?id=implementation:general:hardwarerequirementsdevice
This wiki page has two sections. The first part lists the required device specifications for each of the Produmex products.
- For WMS use the Produmex WMS panel
- For Scan use the Produmex Scan panel
Use the specification in the appropriate panel to determine whether or not to consider the device.
Important: We cannot support devices that fail to meet these requirements.
The second section of the page lists devices that our partners have deployed for their customers. Please read the highlighted comment at the beginning of the section:
Boyum IT does not recommend any scanner devices. This section lists examples of devices that have been deployed by our partners or tested / used internally by our teams.
We update this list as partners inform us about the devices their customers are using or when we test / used a new device.
Determine what device evaluation criteria are important for your installation. The following are typical considerations:
- Scan Range
Compare expected scanning distance in the installation with the mobile device vendor’s specifications. In the warehouse, measure the distance from a reasonable position in the aisle to a spot where the bin barcode labels are typically located. Then also measure that distance from the aisle to the likely furthest location of the item, or box, or SSCC (pallet) barcode label. Whichever distance is longer is the installation’s required scan distance. Any device selected should be able to consistently scan across this distance. If no devices can meet this distance requirement then consider relocating the barcode labels or changing the size of the barcode on the labels.
- Bar Code Aiming
How does the device handle situations where there is more than one barcode on a label, and sometimes these barcodes are small and very close together?
Confirm that the mobile device has the ability to do a 'locate scan' or ‘scan trigger’ which is basically a 2-step scan – first point to the desired barcode, then perform the barcode scan. Some device vendors call this ‘Pick List Mode’ or ‘Scan Trigger’. It first uses a laser pointer or crosshairs to aim at the correct barcode, next it performs the scan.
- Accessories and Spare Batteries
Spare batteries are important for installations where the devices are heavily used and device users are trained to the monitor battery level and charge the battery when needed. Often devices users will carry a fully charged spare battery in the device holster.
Consider that availability of accessories such as battery chargers, holsters, forklift cradles, security straps, etc.
- Ability to ‘Hot Swap’ Batteries
Does the mobile device have the option to change batteries without shutting down the device? Many devices use a small secondary battery that allows the main battery to be quickly changed without shutting down the device.
A mobile device's 'drop rating' can help you know how rugged it is. Typical devices are rated for ‘drops to concrete’ of between 1.5 to 2.0 meters (around 4.9 and 6.5 feet).
Also consider the device’s Tumble Rating if available. This is the measure of how it handles rapid rotation against various materials. Tumble measure the device’s ability to withstand vibrations and rapid, smaller shocks. Tumble ratings of approximately 4000, 1-meter (around 3.3 feet) tumbles are typical.
- Hard Keyboard
If the device has a 'hard keyboard' (dedicated physical keys) then does it have keys for the each of the characters that users may need to type in if a label's barcode cannot be scanned. Most often devices have a dedicated key for the period(.), but many installations use the dash (-) character to separate elements of their bin codes. In this case, if there is no dedicated key for the dash and if you don't need to use the period key to indicate decimal quantities, then can the period button be reprogrammed to be a dash? Or should the separator used in the Bin Code be changed to a period? This is usually less of an issue for the Item Code since the GTIN value (stored in the SAP Barcode table) is numeric.
- Purchase / Evaluation Terms
Will the device vendor offer an evaluation unit for a 30- or 60-day period? If not, what is the vendor’s return policy for devices that don’t meet your needs during the evaluation? Either way, 1 or 2 units should be acquired for evaluation before committing to the purchasing the full number of mobile devices needed. You may also want to ask the device vendor to demo how their units meet or exceed your device evaluation requirements.
- Device Management
Does the mobile device support the ability to copy or replicate one device’s configuration/settings to other devices of the same make and model?
This can be very helpful for installations with many devices, but much less valuable for installations with fewer devices.
- Your additional requirements
Add your own requirements that may not be listed here.
Any of these considerations may or may not be important for your installation. Scan Range is not very important for mobile devices in a dental parts warehouse. Drop Rating doesn’t matter for mounted devices such as touch screens. Tumble ratings are vital for devices mounted to forklifts. Battery life and the ability to hot-swap are necessities in large, high-volume warehouses.
Here’s the bottom line
- Decide how many of each type of mobile devices you need
- Determine the minimum specifications as published on the wiki
- Build a list of your evaluation factors for each type of mobile device that you need
- Research devices that meet or exceed the software’s published specifications and meet your evaluation factors
- Acquire evaluation units and test them in your environment
- Use the results of your testing to decide on a mobile device
- Purchase the full quantity of each type of device
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