Checklist for Mobile Inventory Requirements beyond a device

 

It doesn’t seem to matter whether we’re implementing a mobile inventory solution for Workday or PeopleSoft or some other business system.  When it comes to implementing a successful solution for tracking items, you’re going to need more than just a mobile device.  In my experience, there are 6 requirements for a successful mobile inventory solution.

The most effective systems all address these six requirements.  If you’re considering adding a mobile solution to your activities – make sure you’ve given these some consideration:

Tags – The items that need to be tracked are clearly and uniformly marked or tagged

Tasks – The work (or lists) that you need your inventory team to address can easily be generated for capture on their mobile devices

Software – You have a software application that was designed to guide your team’s activities – on their devices, with your specific processes

Connection – The mobile user team has a way to easily connect their mobile devices to get their task lists and upload their work

Correction – There is a way to quickly edit and update the team’s task lists before the results are shared

Breadcrumbs – You have a way to log of ALL of the mobile team’s inventory activities including the Items, Users, Events, etc.

 

It’s More than the Device

A lot of focus is initially placed on the tangible items – like the mobile device and the tags.  Questions like “Can we use an iPhone or Android tablet?” or “we’d like to use RFID tags so we can just wave the device like a magic wand and get everything.” aren’t unusual.

But when you dig a little deeper and look at how a user may utilizes the solution – you can see that there is a lot more to consider beyond devices and tags.  Before I began working with these solutions, I was the same way.  I thought everything else was just SMOP (small matter of programming).  I quickly learned that there was more too it – and it wasn’t just about programming.

 

Measure Twice Cut Once

I absolutely agree that the type of mobile device and tag are important components.  However, if you want a successful solution, you’ll need to take the time and make the effort to get:

  • access to the right data
  • organize & prioritize that data by activities – and who is going to conduct the activities
  • tasks & information communicated easily across all mobile users and the environments

This can take some effort.  When you’re getting started – and really look at the total solution experience beyond hardware and tags, SMOP definitely doesn’t look like it would do the trick.  From that perspective, it actually may look a lot more like a Large Matter of Programming would be needed.  And that’s before even considering the initial implementation and ongoing support experiences.

 

Pulling it Together

There are solutions that can help you avoid a major programming effort.  Ours, mobilePLUS, was built to leverage mobile devices and a range of tags – not to mention those six all-important requirements.  Its three components – Host, Network and Client – cover all bases:

  • Host – Maintains the data, organizes the work and keeps the audit trails
  • Network – Provides the easy handshake between Host and Client
  • Client – Guides the mobile worker easily through tasks to capture the desired data

What is even better than a comprehensive solution is one that can be implemented and used quickly and easily.  mobilePLUS is preconfigured to accommodate industry best practices when it comes to mobile inventory activities.  This helps you to launch quickly.  It also provides an easy means to modify these settings, without programming, so that the solution can be tailored to your processes.

mobilePLUS also electronically integrates with your host-of-record for access to the right data.  Whether that system is PeopleSoft, Workday, DPAS, FI$Cal or others – eliminating that connection effort can eliminate the biggest hurdle behind a mobile solution.

Implementing a solution that delivers all six of the requirements and can be configured to your specific needs will go a long way to reducing the cost and effort – both for deployment and for long term maintenance.  Here is just one of our customers that had that experience.  Their users love it and their results speak for themselves.

 

There are many options for organizations to consider when looking at a mobile inventory solution.  We welcome the opportunity to be part of that conversation and explain how we could assist in that modernization.

Our twenty years of experience with barcodes, RFID, mobile devices and inventory solutions has all gone into mobilePLUS to create a true package experience for our customers.

 

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Wes Haubein is the President of HL Group, Inc., a premier provider of mobile asset inventory management, RFID and supply chain solutions.  He writes regularly about management, solution integration and technology.