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The Importance of Rugged Tablets in the Manufacturing Supply Chain

Today, every manufacturing sector deals with an extremely broad supply chain that is often global and often deals with a lack of reliable, real-time data access in the field. This inherent lack of end-to-end integration can be partially bridged by technologies such as cloud-based software access, RFID, IoT and others. Having the ability to access the data from these technologies in real-time in the field requires a portable connected device such as a rugged tablet to deliver that reliable end-to-end integration under the most difficult conditions.

The challenges don’t end there as supply chain mobile device longevity is a pressing concern in the majority of manufacturing sectors where use routinely happens under punishing conditions. Deploying a mobile device for industrial use requires significant development, test, and often certification testing. Once complete, the resulting device must be capable of being built and deployed over the long term to avoid expensive redesign and retest. Oil & gas, mining, and the broader energy industry are just three major examples where managing assets in the field requires a device capable of delivering real-time access in harsh environments to make production and operations efficient and cost effective.

From drill sites to fleet transportation and all points in between, managing assets for oil and gas, mining and the broader energy production industries requires around-the-clock access to real-time information resources, and an industrial Android tablet must be able to perform under harsh conditions like extreme heat and cold as well as punishing physical environments.

Rugged Tablets for Oil and Gas

Over the past several years, the global oil and gas industry has been subjected to a flurry of changes in cost structures, access, and refining method among others where time and profit margins demand greater data access to extract cost efficiencies. This is where digital technologies have the potential to transform operations and create additional profits.

According to a recent McKinsey Report on the industry, effective use of digital technologies in the oil and gas sector could have a big impact. This includes the potential for lowering capital expenditures by up to 20 percent while cutting upstream operating costs by as much as 5 percent and downstream costs by as much as 50 percent.

The Internet of Things (IoT) and the cloud are gateways to a host of technologies that could further reduce costs, unleash unparalleled productivity, and boost performance significantly. But to access that potential, the oil and gas industry needs access in the field via a rugged tablet.

Rugged Tablets in Mining and Energy

The manufacturing supply chain for the mining industry and the broader energy industry also have vast end-to-end, real-time communication and data access needs that only an industrial Android tablet purpose built for harsh environments can reliably provide. Rugged tablets with the right set of features and interconnectivity options can provide the operations monitoring that keeps processes, services and productivity moving with a field oriented and mobile workforce operating across a broad supply chain.

From shipping and receiving, fleet communication and route optimization, to field monitoring, billing and system uptime/safety, the broader energy industry by and large happens in the field where weather and physical environment extremes are a fact of everyday life. All of these needs are mirrored in the mining industry where there is a constant need to mobilize people and other physical resources across rugged production, transportation, refining, storage and distribution sites.

The Rugged Tablet Bottom Line for Manufacturing Supply Chains

The case for custom mobile devices in industrial vertical markets is clear in many manufacturing supply chains. Digital technologies and advanced analytics can give field crews to executives unprecedented, granular views and control within constantly changing operational environments. For example, geospatial analytics plays a crucial part in efficiency of supply and distribution networks where location, planning and route optimization go directly to the bottom line.

Everything from asset monitoring, management and geo-mapping to shipping and receiving and the broader supply chain management requires real-time access in harsh environments where a commercial Android tablet cannot survive. This includes the need for advanced connectivity technologies for access to a plethora of monitoring and analysis software via the cloud. The right device and features in the right hands at the right time can be the crucial difference in profitability and uptime that keeps a company moving forward in uncertain times.

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