Handheld devices continue to frustrate delivery drivers

Handheld mobile computing failures are frustrating delivery drivers, warehouse workers, retailers and emergency services personnel across the UK and costing business. On average, the handheld mobile computing devices with bar code readers fail more than 2.5 times a year and take 2.6 days or more to replace or repair, according to workers in the latest research undertaken by Opinion Matters, on behalf of Panasonic TOUGHBOOK.

On average over 63% of workers felt their handheld device was more prone to failure than other technology devices they used. But in this fast-paced business world, device users were certainly not treating their handhelds with kid gloves. Workers reported device damage was caused by a wide variety of issues from drops and spills, to being left in freezing or melting hot conditions to being run over by vehicles!

Problem caused by:

Device dropped – 45%
Left it in a hot place – 20%
Just stopped working – 40%
Dropped in water – 12%
Run over by a vehicle – 8%
Spilt liquid on device – 16%
Left in a cold place – 7%

The most frequent damage from these accidents varied from battery, button and touchscreen issues to bar code reader failure.

Top reasons for failures were:

Battery problems – 39%
Touchscreen issues – 32%
Device stopped working properly – 24%
Broken screen – 22%
Buttons stopped – 15%
Bar code reader failure – 24%

Even when their devices were operating effectively, mobile workers still found them frustrating. The most annoying things about their handheld device were:

Slow or inaccurate bar code – 16%
Unable to use wearing gloves – 18%
Too heavy – 15%
Poor battery life – 18%
Poor screen sensitivity for signatures – 10%
The top design improvements they would like to see made to their handheld devices were:
Anti-scratch coating – 30%
Hand or shoulder strap – 28%
Heat reflective coating – 18%
Easier to clean – 21%
Hot swap batteries – 22%
Camera – 17%

And if these improvements were made and they had their perfect handheld device, workers promised huge increases in productivity as a result. Workers estimated that they would be 39% more productive on average.

Jan Kaempfer, General Manager of Marketing for Mobile Solutions Business Division – Europe, said: “There can be no doubt that mobile workers are feeling the frustrations of working with their current handheld mobile computing devices. As well as demotivating the workforce, these issues are having a huge cost and customer service impact on the businesses they work for.”

“The pressures are high in the business sectors where these bar code scanning handheld devices are used because every second counts. The work environment is also often difficult and exposed, which has an impact on the number of device accidents and failure rates. As a result, it is more critical than ever that technology buyers understand the device design factors that will have the biggest impact on their workforce and their business– ergonomic design, rugged protection and technology differentiators like hot swappable batteries and daylight visible screens.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine