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The Mobile Movement – Beyond Your Special Purpose Hand-Held Device 

Emma Johnson
The Mobile Movement – Beyond Your Special Purpose Hand-Held Device

In our technologically advanced society, digital connectivity is ubiquitous. According to Pew Research Center, smartphone ownership in the U.S. has surged from 35% in 2011 to 77%. This rise in mobile adoption has positioned smartphones and tablets as the preferred tools for line managers needing to manage business processes flexibly and remotely, without being tethered to an office computer. 

Mobile applications are increasingly vital across various operational settings, from the warehouse floor to transit routes and field locations. These apps offer supply chain professionals the flexibility to improve efficiency and boost productivity on the go. 

Evolution of Mobile Technology in Warehouse Management 

Initially, mobility in warehouse and distribution centers involved using specialized handheld devices for tasks like daily inspections and inventory updates. While these devices were a significant first step, their high costs, bulky design, and the extensive training required for operation limited their utility. Transitioning to a new system or vendor was both costly and labor-intensive. 

Today’s Mobile-Driven Warehouse Benefits 

Modern advancements have ushered in an era where smartphones and tablets not only enhance worker agility but also increase precision and productivity in warehouse operations. These devices support real-time data updates which streamline picking and packing processes, ultimately improving customer service delivery. Furthermore, mobile apps now seamlessly integrate with various technologies such as RFID, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi-enabled devices like scanners and smart printers. Smart printers, for instance, can execute print commands in seconds via simple app interactions. 

Smartphones: The Backbone of Modern Mobile Strategies 

Smartphones have been pivotal in adopting mobile technology across various industries. Commercial-grade smartphones, which replace bulky rugged mobile computers, are easier to manage and require minimal training. They combine communication and business functionalities, offering a cost-effective, scalable solution that enhances operational flexibility in warehouse and distribution environments. 

Mobile Device Management in Warehouses 

As mobile device usage has grown, Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions have become crucial. These tools help manage and secure a broad array of mobile devices within the industrial setting. MDM systems allow for centralized control, enabling administrators to configure settings, deploy updates, and enforce security measures remotely, ensuring compliance and protecting against data breaches and other security threats. 

The Impact of Mobile Solutions on Supply Chain and Logistics 

The adoption of mobile solutions in supply chain, warehousing, inventory, and logistics has revolutionized these industries. The ability to efficiently and accurately manage these crucial business areas through cost-effective mobile apps paired with affordable smartphones was scarcely imaginable a few years ago. 

Regardless of a company’s stage in asset management—whether focusing on corrective, preventive, or predictive maintenance—industrial mobile technology equips technicians to address work orders and equipment failures with enhanced efficiency and intelligence. This integration of mobile technology demonstrates not just a shift in tool usage, but a transformative approach to managing logistics and supply chain operations more broadly. 



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