Mobile computing is designed to make life easier, and more productive for warehouse workers.
But when there’s issues with connectivity, or ergonomics, those mobile computing solutions can quickly become problem for the business.
That was the challenge facing Mueller Co., North America’s leading potable water distribution company. They turned to Dell, who worked with Havis, for help.
The trouble began at Mueller’s plant and warehouse in Chattanooga. Workers there had problems updating inventory, transporting data, and connecting to the company Wi-Fi network.
Mueller is known for helping its customers operate efficiently, and had set its own efficiency goals for the Chattanooga plant. And now it had an issue that was affecting productivity.
Brad Harvey, Mueller’s IT services manager, began to look for a solution, keeping in mind that the company needed three things:
Rugged, cost-effective hardware that could withstand everything from the extreme heat of Mueller’s iron foundry to the extreme moisture of a water product manufacturing plant.
This durable, and reliable hardware needed to be joined with software that was intuitive for employees.
Finally, Mueller needed a solution to dock and mount the hardware in a way that was secure, comfortable and efficient.
“We really wanted to get to the point where our employees were not driving around with a 10-pound scanner on their hip,” said Harvey. “We needed something mountable to reduce the weight, and to reduce the work they had to do.”
Harvey wanted something scalable and customizable, that he could adapt in different parts of the Mueller warehouse. He also wanted to make sure all the products were test fit, so that Mueller wouldn’t need to work with multiple vendors to get one complete solution.
In addition, Mueller needed a solution from companies with the same commitment to quality and service, while still ensuring a positive ROI.
A Solution From Dell
Harvey’s research led him to Dell. Dell evaluated Mueller’s needs, and came up with a recommendation.
“They needed a device rugged enough to withstand the environment, but also the same models and user experience their employees and IT team were used to in a regular notebook line,” said Dell’s Patrick Seidensticker, director of Rugged Solutions.
Dell recommended its Latitude 12 Rugged Tablet, which is designed to withstand heavy vibrations, shocks and drops. The tablet is IP65 Rated and sealed against dust and water, with an anti-glare, multi-touch display designed to respond even when wet, or when the user is wearing protective gloves. Its thermal management system allows it to function in high temperatures. These are all crucial features for a company like Mueller.
To dock the tablet, Dell worked with Havis, a leading designer and manufacturer of mobile office solutions and a Dell partner.
We recommended our DS-Dell-601 Docking Station, which was engineered specifically for the Dell Latitude 12 Rugged Tablet. We also suggested using our Forklift Height Adjustable Overhead Mount for forklift use.
“Try To Break It”
Once the tablets, docks, and mounts arrived at Mueller’s plant, it was time to test them. Dell gave Harvey some advice for making sure the new products were a good fit: “Try to break it.”
And that’s essentially what Harvey did. His tests included:
In this last example, the mount had been installed upside down, which meant water did not run into the ports the way it normally would. Havis used this feedback to develop new IP65 Rated docking stations.
After six months of extreme vibration, moisture and heat, the tablet had not come loose from the dock, the power supply hadn’t faltered, and the forklift mount was already changing operations for the better. Mueller reports it has seen increased shipping speeds and productivity thanks to the solution Dell and Havis provided.
“Havis was there for Dell and Mueller through the entire process – answering questions, jumping on sales calls and guiding the customer on deploying the initial solution,” Seidensticker said. “They were not only a resource for this solution, but also for technical power supply questions.”
For more details on how Havis worked with Mueller and Dell, download our new case study.