Cost is always top of mind when debating whether to invest in a rugged or non-rugged mobile computer solution. However, it’s important to consider more than just the upfront cost when comparing the two.
Every business is different. The type of work you do, where you’re located and your customer environment play a huge part in deciding how tough your devices need to be and how durability issues will affect your bottom line. For example, a delivery truck is a more rugged environment than a service van, and some locations have more severe weather than others. Basically, you need to consider these things:
- Temperature extremes
- Vibration (dirt roads vs. highways)
- Sunlight (readability)
- Dust and dirt
- Abuse (dropping, etc.)
THE RUGGED DEVICE
A rugged device handles a harsh environment well and its lifespan is years longer than that of a non-rugged device. Most rugged devices are purpose-built for your business, which means better reliability and longer life with less risk and downtime.
THE NON-RUGGED DEVICE
There are benefits to non-rugged devices, especially for a less harsh environment:
- Lower upfront cost
- Familiar, commonplace devices
- Faster to marketplace devices (less wait time for the latest and greatest)
These non-rugged devices by definition are less durable. In fact, according to a white paper by Honeywell/Intermec, 82% of non-rugged devices will fail within three years after purchase, as opposed to 18% of rugged devices. That means there are two potential additional costs to keep in mind:
- Possible downtime (missed deliveries, potential customer loss, etc.)
- The necessity for more replacement devices compared to rugged devices.
- You need to have additional devices on hand and procedures in place to mitigate the implications of an increased failure rate in the field.
AN INFORMED DECISION
Before making the decision between rugged and non-rugged, take into account your business, your environment, and all of the costs and the reliability of the solutions offered. The decision between rugged and non-rugged is ultimately up to you, but consider all of the costs before making any purchase.