Between new consumer expectations for faster service and several labor shortages across the nation, field teams face pressures from virtually every angle. In 2022, the US trucking sector lacked an estimated 78,000 drivers; however, studies show that 68% of consumers cited same-day delivery as the deciding factor driving purchases after the COVID-19 outbreak. Demands for service are only increasing, yet resources remain scarce. Surveyed field teams have cited the following five challenges they expect when navigating in today’s fast-paced supply chain:
- Inclement weather – Besides being dangerous to the driver, extreme weather impacts connectivity signals, alienating teams from each other and crucial data.
- Late or missed dispatch calls – Poor communication with dispatch teams further complicates routing and enables delays since updates are not relayed in a timely fashion.
- Device outages – While devices may be built for outdoor use, battery power must also accommodate long shifts. Sudden outages keep teams from accessing the tools they need, stalling productivity.
- Complex integration plans – Although new technologies are widely available to optimize mobility, complex integration discourages businesses from modernizing.
Nevertheless, connectivity researchers remain optimistic since challenges push technology into making great leaps. As field teams travel farther, new connectivity solutions such as 5G and WiFi 6 are leading the charge in digital transformations, with the GDP expecting them to generate up to $280 billion by 2030 as they enhance mobility systems.
How is Technology Adapting to Overcome Challenges?
Modern-day expectations demand agility, adaptability, and durability from today’s technology solutions. As teams learn to manage workflows with fewer resources and personnel, versatile devices and IT support become indispensable. To meet challenges, tech players design solutions leveraging:
- Intelligent, durable design to mitigate operational costs and repairs. Shatter-proof, waterproof, and dust-proof casings come in handy on the field as they maximize device availability. For example, rugged mobile printers empower teams to create labels and receipts from anywhere without cables or extensive setup.
- Flexible connectivity that connects field teams and dispatch. As new connectivity options become available, devices should incorporate them to deliver faster and stronger signals. Push-to-talk features and secured texting are also useful in creating secondary communication channels similar to consumer-grade devices, thus accelerating hardware adoption.
- Real-time battery management to pinpoint aging batteries and prevent downtime. By monitoring battery performance and charge status remotely, teams can predict when devices will become unusable, empowering teams to quickly charge and/or swap batteries for unbroken uptime.
- Versatile functionality to streamline multiple workflows through one terminal. Rugged tablets and mobile computers best exemplify this by streamlining data capture, push-to-talk communication, and data processing all through one device. Perhaps, that is why 80% of businesses plan to deploy rugged tablets in their field operations before 2025. Furthermore, versatile devices simplify integration by consolidating workflows in a user-friendly interface. Popular operating systems like Android have been shown to decrease training times, so teams can become productive faster.
As consumer expectations evolve, technology solutions should evolve beside them. In addition to adaptable systems, a proper modernization plan must include ongoing support to ensure future scalability as challenges change. For more information on how to enhance mobility, reach out to our modernization teams, and turn challenges into opportunities with solutions built for enterprise.