Adding Enterprise Mobility to Your Asset Management System

Adding Enterprise Mobility to Your Asset Management System

Adding Enterprise Mobility to Your Asset Management System 1

 

In many companies an asset management system or CMMS Computerized maintenance system have been an integral part of production environments for many years. There is no denying the importance and benefits of well-maintained equipment. Prolonged asset life and reductions in  downtime and operating costs have turned maintenance from being viewed as a cost of doing business into a vital part of being a profitable and admired business.

 

 

Traditional barriers to effectively managing the enterprise asset management maintenance process have been in organizing and documenting the system used. Tracking each piece of equipment by; last service date, frequency of service, scheduling of routine maintenance – all on paper – can become a full time job. Computerized maintenance management systems CMMS software such as Maximo were developed to organize this information. They quickly became not only a way of managing upkeep but also to provide a vital tool for improving maintenance performance.

Managers utilize an asset management system or CMMS to track asset inventory, increase technician productivity, increase overall equipment effectiveness and realize longer equipment life. It allows them to make more informed decisions about planned versus unplanned work resulting in better outcomes and superior return on investmant ROI.

But, the analysis used to make these decisions and increase performance is only as good as the data in the system. Paper work order systems still rely heavily on people to fill out all information on the order, return it and enter it into your asset management system in a timely manner. If any of this information is missing, erroneous or late then expensive decisions will be made without all the data.

Integrating the information of your CMMS into one of our mobile applications will help to address this. Technicians can scan equipment to request previous service records, report problems, locate parts, and close work orders – all from a mobile device such as a rugged handheld like the Motorola MC65 or a rugged tablet. This reduces response to failure times and increases the accuracy of recorded data, making your Asset Management System even better.

We can help you by adding enterprise mobility to your asset management system.

Book a webinar or visit today.

Cloud solutions Vs Thick Client Platform – Support

Cloud solutions Vs Thick Client Platform – Support

Motorola PDA with Mobile App
.NET devices still have a lot to offer

When comparing Cloud solutions Vs Thick Client Platform .NET platform solutions, cost is usually the first starting point for businesses as a cloud solution means the applications can run on less expensive devices such as Android handhelds, which can be the starting point for thoughts about BOYD. But, how do you support a roll-out with mixed operating systems?

Devices have been covered in a previous blog so here I will focus on the software issues, both local and server. Yes Android, Blackberry, iPhone iPad devices can be considerably cheaper then Microsoft .NET devices but this also means you’ll need to support several platforms rather than one. What will that do to your total cost of ownership?

Updates for the multiple Smartphone platforms are never scheduled at the same time. This means on day one all the Android devices may update to the latest OS version, the next day all the Blackberry devices may update. There is no guarantee devices will still continue to work with the application after an update and finding a fix for each platform can be very different and therefore difficult.

When HTML 5 applications are being developed, they are developed for specific OS API’s, i.e. Android 3.0. When the Smartphone is updated to the latest version 4.1, a or a new device is purchased, the application will need to use the 4.1 API. In the best case scenario the application will have to be re-built, tested, and re-deployed. This is a major task in itself as cloud based solutions do not incorporate development and application & data synchronisation as standard. In the worst case scenario the application code will have to be edited. This is a very lengthy process in which the mobile application is out of action.

Using a thick client based mobile application development platform with Windows Mobile devices the applications are fully backwards compatible and any platform updates are issued by the administrator not the network provider. This provides a hassle free deployment with simple support as all devices are using the Microsoft .NET framework. It also means access to a wide variety of devices such as

The thick client has the ability to lockdown the unit so the user cannot access important system files, or spend hours playing games. The device is there for a purpose and can only perform the tasks the application allows. How do you lock down a personal Smartphone belonging to your employees? In short you can’t. You can provide the facility to access a web based application (if they have an internet connection) but you can’t guarantee they are not texting, playing games or surfing the internet.

The last point to touch on here is how the application can be updated. The application for the HTML 5 platform requires coding, a lot of testing for each OS, compiling, and then deployed to a central server location. The coding could take days or weeks depending on the update. In the thick client platform the update can be made in minutes to hours and deployed instantly. Yes the HTML 5 application has a slight advantage here as once deployed to the server location it is live. The thick client device must synchronise to download the latest application. This in itself is negligible since the application is downloaded in the background while the current application is in use, or when the device is back in the cradle charging for the night.

The key question is: As time and costs increase supporting Smartphone devices each time the business applications change, is the initial saving worthwhile as future development wipe-out any short term benefits?

Learn more about the options you have with Cloud solutions Vs Thick Client Platform as part of the mobile application development phase of your enterprise mobility project contact us today.

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Enterprise Mobile Applications Screen Size and Keyboard

Enterprise Mobile Applications Screen Size and Keyboard

X3 PDA with mobile application
Nautiz-X3 Rugged Handheld with Integral Keyboard

The complexity and nature of a mobile application can often dictate the physical size and type of the mobile device you buy. The enterprise mobile applications screen size and keyboard input method is an important element of your total cost of ownership calculations

Consider the environment the device will be used in. What is the likelihood a device is accidentally knocked or dropped? A rugged device will long out last a Smartphone if it is dropped more than once.  Will the device be used indoor or outdoor? The perceived brightness of a screen can change from device to device and a high brightness screen will make outdoor readability much clearer. Other environment factors include if the user will be wearing gloves in which case a stylus or keyboard may be required.

Keyboards are an important choice frequently over looked if the mobile application requires any text input. A Smartphone onscreen keyboard is usually touch only and they can sometimes be very fiddly. Touch only is no good if the operator has dirty fingers or wears gloves. The next step up is a stylus on a PDA. The on screen ‘soft’ keyboard can be a bit difficult to use due to it’s small size. Rugged PDAs like the Motorola MC65 or Handheld Nautiz X3 come as standard with either a QWERTY or numeric keyboard. These are quick and easy to use. If the application only requires numerical input this numerical keyboard will save valuable time from switching to alpha characters.

Moving towards a full keyboard the on screen “soft” keyboard on our own T7000 Windows 7 Tablet is both quick and easy to use with finger or stylus, and also comes with a handy numeric keyboard built in. Other options at the full size keyboard level are to use a snap-on keyboard, connect a USB keyboard or consider a rugged laptop like the Handheld XRW with full size keyboard.

Another high priority is the screen size. A tablet screen of 7” will be able to display much more than a  2.8” Smartphone or PDA or rugged handheld screen. The application experience is enhanced by having more information on screen at any one time and fewer screens means quicker app completion. Other advantages also include the ability to increase text size for poor sighted users and display full screen images, PDFs and documents. But putting this is a pocket may be difficult hence the continuing attraction of phone size devices. Although a few years old this is still a great guide.

If additional requirements include the use of other software such as MS Office, mapping software service manuals PDF guides then a larger screen would be paramount.

The key question is: How the application will look and feel to the mobile worker should put screen and keyboard considerations at the top of your list of hardware requirements?

To find out more about how we can help you with pondering these issues please get in touch sales@mobileworxs.com or call 44 1905 799555

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