Using A Windows Tablet On A Forklift

Using A Windows Tablet On A Forklift

Using A Windows Tablet On A Forklift
Vintage Janus J2050 Forklift Terminal Mid 90’s

Vehicle Mount computers or terminals have been around the warehouse for many years. Typically they have been used for pick and put away of palletised product in warehouses and docking environments. The operator often using a tethered or bluetooth barcode scanner to record locations and products into an inventory or WMS application.

So why are clients looking at using a windows tablet on a forklift instead?

Dedicated large screen fork lift terminals or vehicle mount computers allows users to view data or run a terminal emulation session usually into a warehouse management system. But they tend to be expensive somewhat one dimensional and some still run proprietary operating systems and can have smaller screens than might be expected.

Rugged Tablet Alternative 8 Good Reasons

  1. Larger screens – take advantage of sealed rugged designs using solid state drives up to 11.6″ diagonal screen in an enclosure built for rugged use.
  2. Broad range of tablet form factors from MobileDemand and Zebra.
  3. Android or Windows 10 OS – making for easier integration into warehouse management systems (WMS) and other legacy solutions.
  4. Wide range of mount options including powered and powered cradles with or without tethered scanning for long range use. Learn More
  5. Integral 2D scanning for situations where the operator can detach the tablet and start scanning items while on foot.
  6. Enabling ROI through the creation of more flexible shift patterns for stock check  by using devices on or off the forklift.
  7. Sign on screen allows an internal POD to transport staff.
  8. Integral cameras allow warehouse staff to snap a picture of damaged product straight away.

Windows Tablet Forklift Mount Ideas

Using a Windows Tablet On A Forklift


Step Mount




Using a Windows Tablet On A Forklift


Front Mount




Using a Windows Tablet On A Forklift


Top Mount




Users are finding that in a number of  scenarios forklift staff are now being asked to carry out multiple roles making the ability to walk around with a multi purpose device all the more attractive. Which makes using a rugged tablet a viable alternative to a dedicated forklift mount computer.
Using A Windows Tablet On A Forklift

Get in touch to learn more about using a windows tablet on a forklift.

How to Evaluate an Investment for In Premise Enterprise Mobility Part 4

How to Evaluate an Investment for In Premise Enterprise Mobility Part 4

How to Evaluate an Investment for In Premise Enterprise Mobility Part 4In the final part of our series on how to evaluate an investment for in premise enterprise mobility, we will look at two further areas where benefit can be generated – improvements in scheduling and income.


Then its your turn to get some numbers from your own business and see what impact an investment for in premise enterprise mobility can generate.

Improvements in Scheduling

Typically areas where you can expect improvements in scheduling are in factory utilisation overtime charges and the reduction in special delivery charges.

Savings in these areas are calculated in different ways. For factory or plant utilisation you need to know the gross margin and annual sales of the unit. We assume it is operating at full capacity. Multiply these figures together with the expected improvement in utilsation using in premise mobility.

To estimate the savings from less overtime and fewer special outbound deliveries multiply the current costs in these areas by the expected percentage improvement. Here are some ideas from Coca Cola on improving working hours performance.

For example. Assume your sales are £1,000,000 and your gross margin is 30%. You incur an average of £30,000 in overtime and special shipping charges. If you believe a 15 % improvement is likely in both areas your calculations will look something like this:

Your calculations would look something like:

Factory Utilisation 15% x £1m x 30% = £45,000

Overtime and special delivery charges 10% x £30,000 = £3,000

Total = £48,000

Improvements in Income

Most view enterprise mobility as a cost elimination tool. It can however also help generate income for your business. For example, not many parcel delivery companies would win contracts without the ability to track your parcel door to door.

These benefits are usually intangible but they can add up. Factors such as a sales boost from better customer satisfaction and improved cost data for new sales bids can be entered into your cost justification analysis.

Customer satisfaction – big subject with lots of opinion pieces and research to support why its such a good idea. In summary faster response times more accurate billing, higher quality products can all mean more repeat business and better word of mouth recommendations all of which mean more sales. It works for Zappos why not in your business?

Improvements to the cost of data for bidding is perhaps a less obvious benefit. But where you are building quotations based on up to date data you can minimize over and under bidding. Resulting in better quality quotations and more profitable ones.

Your calculations form either source can be estimated by taking the expected increase in each and multiplying it by the gross margin.

For example if gross margin is 30% and you expect £15,000 in increased sales from better customer satisfaction as well as £10,000 from additional successful bids then your income improvement would look something like:

Customer Satisfaction £15,000 x 30% = £4,500

Winning more bids £10,000 x 30% = £3,000

Total = £7,500

Add It All Up

So you have gathered your data and made your calculations. In our example;

Labour Savings £24,000

Inventory £55,000

Scheduling £48,000

Improve Income £7,500

Total £ 134,500

With in premise enterprise mobility systems costing less than £100,000 these calculations would result in a payback period of less than one year.

How to Evaluate an Investment for In Premise Enterprise Mobility Part 4Get in touch to book a webinar or visit to see how we can help you make the most of your in premise enterprise mobility project.

How to Evaluate an Investment for In Premise Enterprise Mobility Part 3

How to Evaluate an Investment for In Premise Enterprise Mobility Part 3

How to Evaluate an Investment for In Premise Enterprise Mobility Part 3In our previous two pieces on in premise enterprise mobility we discussed how many companies evaluate a project of this type and how some simple maths models can help us understand the profile of an investment.

Now let’s look at the most common cost savings from an in premise enterprise mobility project and illustrate how to quantify these savings and access the results.

After the cost of your investment has been determined you can start coming up with some projected savings figures.

Labour Savings

Labour savings include direct and indirect. This includes worker time involved in the warehouse and on in the logistics area. Two common areas where savings are found:

  1. More efficient and improved use of time time through technology such as using barcodes to generate invoices for shipments and warehouse locations locations and levels.
  2. Reduce administrative time which covers savings from less in-house paperwork more accuracy fewer keying errors

Labour not involved in production itself also stands to benefit from implementing a system. These areas include: smarter production control, more accurate payroll fewer management meetings and better quality data entry that does not need to be re-keyed.

Inventory Savings

Inventory savings are those other than direct labour costs associated with keeping inventory. For example obsolescence including the cost of unsold inventory due to time, and spoilage. Further rework and scrap costs arise from modifying old inventory.

In either case, to determine cost savings calculate your current annual costs for these subcategories and the expected annual improvement from your enterprise mobility system. Multiply your current costs by the expected improvement to derive annual savings. The current annual cost of these categories should be a statistic known to the business and the expected annual improvement will depend on your current efficiency and nature of your the operation.

Carrying costs refers to the total costs associated with maintaining inventory. These costs include interest taxes and storage. Such costs are generally estimated to range from 25% to 33% of average inventory balances. Use 25%, to come up with an estimate of cost savings.

For example, you currently average £200,000 in excess inventory each year. You also throw out £40,000 in inventory due to obsolescence, and spend another £10,000 on rework and scrap. You determine that a 10% reduction in these two items is reasonable.

Your calculations would look like this:

Obsolescence £4,000 x 10% = £ 4,000

Rework and Scrap £ 1,000 x 10% = £1,000

Carrying Costs £200,000 x 25% = £50,000

Total = £55,000

No matter what your industry improvements can be generated.

Enterprise Mobility

In part 4 we will look at some other areas where savings can be made. Meantime get in touch to learn about how we can help you with your in premise enterprise mobility project.

How to Evaluate an Investment for In Premise Enterprise Mobility Part 2

How to Evaluate an Investment for In Premise Enterprise Mobility Part 2

How to Evaluate an Investment for In Premise Enterprise Mobility Part 2In Part 1 we discussed how some companies go ahead with an in premise enterprise mobility project without measuring and evaluating its financial impact.

In simple terms if a review is undertaken it is a two step process evaluating the cost Vs the potential benefits.

This post is about some very simple maths models.

Payback Period

Not surprisingly this is the length of time needed to generate a return on investment. It is arrived at by dividing the total investment by the expected annual savings. The longer the payback period lasts the less profitable the investment. For example if your in premise enterprise mobility investment cost £100,000 and had an expected yield of £50,000 the period would be £100,000 divided by £50,000 or two years.

Of course the payback period can vary greatly between different companies and is always subjective. It relies on someone being able to access enough information to make the calculation in the first place. How the project is funded can also have an influence. Wiping out an IT budget by doing project A over Project B is ok as long as the knock on consequences of not doing Project B are understood.  And be aware adoption is not such a great ROI measure.

The good news is that it is common for an in premise enterprise mobility project to have have a payback period of less than 24 months.

Net Present Value

Now for some maths! Clearly the cost of an investment is now but the savings are in the future and accrue over time. Net present value helps to answer the question:

Are the savings I expect to recover in the future greater in present terms than the immediate cost of the investment ?

There are dozens of blogs critiques and videos about the concept of present value.

In simple terms to make the calculation you need to know:

  • Cost of Money – Interest/Discount rate
  • Your annual projected savings.
  • How many years the savings will continue.

Here is an example:

  • You make an investment of £1,000 in year 1
  • The interest rate is 10%
  • You make savings of £110 in year 2
  • You make savings of £1,200 in year 3

The NPV of the investment would be:

The year 1 cash flow is -£1,000

The PV of the year 2 cash flow = £110/1.10 = £100

The PV of the year 3 cash flow = £1,200/(1.10^2) = £1,200/1.21 = £991.74

The NPV is: -£1,000 + £100 + £991.74 = £91.74

A positive number means this would make the investment worth undertaking.
Calculating PV can be complicated. Some managers may consider the savings to be able to continue indefinitely which can be an issue worth addressing.

How to Evaluate an Investment for In Premise Enterprise Mobility Part 2 1

Next time we will go over the areas that can most commonly benefit from an investment in premise enterprise mobility. And illustrate how to quantify them.

Looking for an easier approach check out this calculator from Easycalculation.

How to Evaluate an Investment for In Premise Enterprise Mobility Part 1

How to Evaluate an Investment for In Premise Enterprise Mobility

How to Evaluate an Investment for In Premise Enterprise MobilityWe talk to many potential clients who are considering in premise enterprise mobility to improve the performance of their business.

It is still a surprise that even in these tough time economic times orgainsations decide to invest in a solution without measuring and evaluating its financial impact.

Figuring out a cost justification is really a two part exercise. Not surprisingly it balances the immediate cost of the investment against the savings you expect in the long run. This post is all about the first stage the next one introduces the maths involved.

What Are The Up Front Costs ?

You will need to determine what sort of in premise enterprise mobility system you will need and what it is likely to cost. For example, if you are going to use it for some sort of inventory control in a yard or warehouse you will no doubt need some sort of rugged Wi-FI enabled device with built in barcode scanning capability. If you are delivering product to a customer by van you may need to specify something with a larger screen WWAN capability mobile printing and a suitable in vehicle docking system.

At this point many projects spend a lot of time compiling scorecards to evaluate one potential offering with another.  Whilst this total cost of ownership TCO phase is a key step the sooner you can get on to measuring potential savings the better. Much has been written about this in the context of Supply Chain Excellence.

Can you Estimate the Savings ?

Total costs can be spread out over time and can include soft costs which can themselves be tough to quantify. However you should reasonably expect to see some improvements in income and savings in labour operational costs and inventory.  For example:


  • Better cost data means better quality bids.
  • Improved customer satisfaction by having better access to data.


  • Process Improvements and better rostering of tasks.
  • More efficient use of time.
  • Reduce administration time and fewer meetings
  • Reduce the need for data entry.
  • Less overtime.

Inventory and Operations

  • Lower carrying costs.
  • Less scrap or re-work.
  • Fuel.
  • Better Factory and warehouse and vehicle utilization. 

The challenge is coming up with a realistic estimate of the values associated with these areas.

So we have some potential savings where you could reasonably see a positive benefit from doing a project. The next step is to determine if the project is viable and to do this you will need to compare it to the cost of the investment necessary to carry it out.

There are a number of ways to evaluate this but two that are worth beginning with are:

  1. Payback Period
  2. Net Present Value

How to Evaluate an Investment for In Premise Enterprise Mobility

Next time we will go over the calculations necessary to evaluate an in premise enterprise mobility investment using both of these methods.

This involves some scary maths so make sure you have a pencil and a pad of paper handy !

Why Barcode is Still a Great Idea For Mobile Inventory

Why Barcode is Still a Great Idea For Mobile Inventory

Why Barcode is still a Great Idea For Mobile InventoryThere cannot be many inventions that are so simple yet so effective as the humble barcode. It’s beauty lies in its simplicity, its strength lies in its flexibility. They enable quick and precise identification in all types of businesses which is why barcode is still a great idea for mobile inventory.

Just about every company and especially SME’s have had to get used to smaller profit margins and more competitive markets. Whatever your field based application be it Pest Control, Route Accounting Field Service or Facilities Management the inventory control of stock in vehicles and with workers in the field is a key area.

Getting a handle of what is in the field can be the first step to being able to control the costs of what is issued to mobile workers what they use and keeping track of what they return.  Having the right items on hand when they are needed is an excellent way to avoid the additional costs that come from not being able to do a first time fix or having to re-visit days later. Using barcodes can help promote proper mobile inventory management.

5 Great Reasons To Barcode Mobile Inventory

  1. Leverage your existing systems – scan items straight into your legacy system via a mobile app.
  2. Increase Productivity – save time do more no more re-keying.
  3. Promote Accuracy – lots of evidence that barcode data far more accurate than handwritten notes or forms.
  4. Easy to use and highly portable – point scan, information recorded what could be simpler. Make one here. Read more about mobile printing.
  5. Can be applied (!) to just about any surface, parts locations even bees!

Keeping track of things on paper is time consuming and manually entering inventory numbers on paper and then re-keying them into a database or spreadsheet is prone to error. Scanning a barcode reduces the administrative time it takes to track an item which will probably be keyed into a database system anyway. Scanning an item into stock and then moving it through the process from inventory to shipping to invoicing as well as ordering replacement stock can be automated saving time and reducing errors.

Barcodes are accurate and enhanced by positive product identification. Items cannot be misidentified by workers or customers reducing the opportunity for mix-ups or theft. Whenever there is a need to accurately identify or track something use a barcode!

Huge Upside

Using barcodes is not a new idea but one that still has huge upside for businesses with inventory deployed in remote locations or in vehicles. It is not uncommon for a service engineer to be carrying around thousands of pounds worth of spare parts on a van with little or no ability to immediately reconcile what is present or what parts are on hand to deal with a call out. Same can be true in merchandising and pest control appliactions

Key Point: The low cost of equipment and consumables generate great additional benefits and superb levels of return on investment for your enterprise mobility project.

Read more the history of the Barcode.

Why Barcode is Still a Great Idea For Mobile Inventory

There are many cost effective ways of extending your mobile system to include barcode. Get in touch to discuss the options.

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