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Work smarter, not harder: Start by choosing the right device!

Barcode scanning is a key productivity tool for workers across a range of industries. Today, businesses that want to equip their staff with the right device for various hands-on tasks and environments are looking beyond traditional dedicated handheld scanners to include smart devices – and in many cases a combination of both.  

Smart devices and smart data capture technology deliver digital capabilities that measurably boost productivity, employee satisfaction, and ultimately - your bottom line. 

So, what is driving the adoption of smart devices in these companies with extended inventories? Multifunctional, ruggedized smart devices deliver workflow flexibility, superior user experiences, lower total cost of ownership, and the ability to quickly add enhanced software functionality, for starters. 

Below, we will explore how smart devices, both running on IOs and Android, can help businesses unlock new ways to scan and work smarter. The integration of Ventory 3.0 allows companies to develop new ways to track spare parts inventory, reducing time-consuming physical counts. 


1. Do not buy into the smart vs. tough trade-off; you can have both 

When it comes to choosing between dedicated scanners and smart devices, one argument in favour of keeping dedicated scanners is that they are built to last in tough and varied conditions. When you need a scanner for a remote warehouse, there is a rugged option out there that can withstand the rigors of the job.  

Leading in this market are the Zebra barcode scanners. These scanners, equipped with Ventory’s app, allow for multi-barcode scanning, combine laser & camera technology, and fit fitting the user’s ergonomic needs perfectly.  

iOS and Android devices won’t offer the same level of ruggedness as a dedicated hardware scanner, but they are highly adopted, easy to use, and especially make sense for workers for whom scanning is a by-product of their job and not their main focus, such as engineers who check out a spare part. There are many devices available to select from, and all of these can be equipped with durable cases for an extra layer of protection, if necessary. 

Smart devices have come a long way in recent years, and there are now plenty of options that can stand up to the toughest conditions. So, when making your decision, it is important to weigh your needs and choose the option that is right for your business. 


2. Think about the costs, both current and future 

When you are responsible for supplying barcode scanners for hundreds or even thousands of employees, the hardware costs can quickly become unmanageable - especially during peak seasons when companies need to provide temporary workers with data capture devices.  

Many data capture solutions also often require employee training for proper adoption, which means extra labor costs. Ventory’s mobile app, either installed on a smart device or combined with Zebra barcode scanners, makes onboarding efficient and easy. 

In some cases, using smart devices to capture data is a cost-effective alternative to dedicated barcode scanners. The cost of smartphones is typically three times lower than dedicated scanners, which reduces operating costs and financial risk by lowering your upfront hardware investment.  

It is very important to have the best hardware or software solution tailored to the business’s unique needs. Many companies find a hybrid solution is the best option for their business. Zebra barcode scanners combined with smartphones may work perfectly depending on your user profile. 


3. Prioritize your employees’ productivity 

Although smartphones usually offer a longer scanning range and a higher resolution camera, there are most definitely circumstances under which handheld barcode readers are better suited for the job.  

On both smartphones and dedicated scanners, advanced smart data capture capabilities provided by Ventory 3.0 has demonstrated significantly improved workflows, productivity, and general employee satisfaction. Automating data entry makes it easier for employees to access the information they need with Ventory Web. This helps reduce stress and frustration in the workplace. 

Smartphones offer a great user experience by delivering: 

  • A single lightweight device – making it easier to carry throughout a full shift. 
  • One device per employee to handle multiple operational tasks – no more hunting for shared devices from a pool! 
  • A familiar, user-friendly interface – and the ability to do more and access a range of smart device features; from using a range of apps, to taking photos, to the ability to make calls or send messages.  

Advantages of Zebra barcode scanners compared to smartphones: 

  • Existing infrastructure – many companies already have them, so this approach allows for cost savings by making better use of the material already in place. 
  • Different profiles – user-friendliness will impact the preferences of the engineer. A warehouse worker using a Zebra device can benefit from laser scanning and ergonomics. 
  • Robustness – under difficult circumstances, laser is more accurate than digital imaging. Sometimes it is more sensible to carry just one device. 


Time to work smarter 
Smart data capture solutions are becoming increasingly popular among businesses globally to manage operational workflows more efficiently. By bringing powerful smart data capture capabilities to any device running on IOS or Android, you can obtain superior multi-barcode scanning performance at a fraction of the cost, greatly increasing productivity. 

Although, customers must be mindful of the needs of their application when deciding which data capture system to implement. As this paper demonstrates, both laser scanners and smartphones have unique benefits that make them powerful technologies for their appropriate markets. Careful consideration must be given to deciding which option best suits the needs of the customer. 

Ventory's breakthrough cloud-based solution enables a suite of machine learning and AI-based functions and analytics to allow companies to digitize and automate their inventory using a combination of unique identifiers such as bar codes, serial numbers, and SKUs.