This article looks at your options for purchasing hardware that works well with the Infoplus Companion App and the Mobile Floor Apps.
Considerations Before Purchasing
What Methods Does Your Business Use to Receive and Fulfill?
The details of how your business operates are likely the largest deciding factor on what kind of devices Infoplus might recommend. For example, if your pickers are frequently using forklifts or picking carts then it typically makes sense to use devices (that pair with Bluetooth scanners) that can mount directly onto the cart or lift truck in order to keep their hands free. If you don't use lifts or pick carts you may consider all-in-one devices (see below for more info).
What Range Do Your Scanners Need?
Most Bluetooth scanners have lasers with a range from 1 to 3 meters; however, there are high-powered scanners available at a premium price.
Pro Tip: Consider adding additional barcodes that can be scanned from ground level to avoid having to buy high-end scanners.
Will You Be Operating in Extreme Temperatures?
Electronic devices don't fare well in extreme temperatures. If you are operating in extreme temperatures such as freezers or coolers for extended periods of time, you may consider looking at devices specifically made for those conditions.
Do You Have Adequate Internet Signals Throughout the Warehouse?
There are free applications that can be used to test the signal strength of the internet throughout your facility. If you have any dead areas, consider installing access points to extend your wifi coverage.
Can Your Team See (Literally)?
This one might make you chuckle but it is a serious consideration when dealing with small mobile devices. Can your users see the screen with ease or will they need larger devices with bigger text? You may consider investing in one or two larger devices to accommodate all employees.
iOS or Android?
Whatever you prefer! We tend to recommend iOS products solely because we know what kind of hardware they will be running. As with any application, you will see the increased performance with better processors.
Recommendations by Process
Receiving: We most often see all-in-one devices (such as the Infinite Peripherals LP5) that will allow your receiving team to quickly move around your inbound area to identify and scan products into your warehouse with ease.
Picking: As mentioned above, the type of picking your conduct is the biggest factor in deciding what devices make the most sense. If your operation uses forklifts or pick carts where you want your pickers to be hands-free, we would recommend a device such as a tablet that can be mounted to the truck/cart and then paired with a blue-tooth scanner. For all other operations, it may make more sense to invest in an all-in-one device as they are more practical for dual purpose use.
Packing & Shipping: Infoplus is very flexible in terms of setting up your pack and shipping stations. Our users have the ability to use both the pack and ship stations independent of each other or all together in one step. With this being said, the main question would be who is packing the order? Is your picker the same person who will be packing and shipping the order? If so, we would once again recommend an all-in-one device so that the picker has the flexibility to move around the warehouse to complete their tasks. If you have a stand-alone pack or ship station (in Infoplus, they can be two separate areas or combined into one) we would typically recommend a tablet or stationary computer that remains fixed in those areas. Note that pack and ship stations will also need printers (and potentially scales) integrated.
Devices We Know Work Well
This Bluetooth ring scanner allows pickers to go hands-free while picking. This is perfect to pair with a cart or forklift-mounted device. The scanner is activated via the thumb button which allows pickers to use both hands to grab the product. The unit is lightweight, has a good battery life, and is barely noticeable while wearing.
Bluetooth Handheld Solutions
The Socket Mobile Bluetooth scanner is an inexpensive and reliable solution that is also a good fit with cart-mounted devices. They come standard with wrist straps and wearable lanyards.
All-In-One Scanning Solutions
If you prefer to have a handheld scanner rather than a cart-mounted device, for iOS we recommend Infinite Peripherals which specializes in scanning cases for iPod touches, iPhones, and iPads of all sizes. You can also choose to include pistol grips and wrist straps. For Android devices, we recommend Zebra Technologies.
Device Mounts & Fasteners
If you are going to fasten a device to your pick carts like the illustrations on the previous page, you will need to buy device mounts. You can typically find this inexpensive option at your local music store. See Tablet Adapters.
Pro Tip: You can download the Infoplus app to any smartphone, but you cannot scan barcodes with the built-in camera included on the phone. An additional device is needed in order to scan into the Infoplus Floor Apps.