Tips and Tricks

Supply Chains Demand Technology Tough Enough For Winter

The holidays put supply chains to the test; it’s the busiest time of the year for retailers, both with physical locations and online. Not only are billions of packages shipped directly to consumers by UPS, FedEx, and the United States Postal Service (which will alone deliver the highest number of packages at 750 million this year), retailers and restaurants all increase their orders to make sure they can serve their customers through peak season. It puts an incredible strain on couriers, warehouses, and supply chains to deliver everything on time in the rush, and as the weather gets cold and snowy, technological breakdowns are not an option.

Cold Temperatures, Snow

Couriers face the full brunt of winter weather. They’re out in the snow, sleet, rain, and freezing temperatures delivering packages to homes and businesses, or bringing huge orders to businesses and restaurants. People who work in the food industry may also be dealing with refrigerator trucks on top of the cold weather outside. Not only do they need industrial PDAs and barcode scanners that are weatherproof, they need devices that work in the constant cold. A standard resistive touch screen from a manufacturer like A D Metro has an operating range of -10°C to +55°C (and a larger storage range). That works in many climates, but in a city like Winnipeg where the average January temperature is -16°C, even a resistive touch screen may not work optimally in the winter.

Better Operating Range

For extreme cold temperatures, supply chain workers need devices with touch screens that have an extended operating range. ULTRA resistive touch screens, a technology patented by A D Metro, have operating ranges of -35°C to +80°C, in addition to enhanced durability, weatherproofing, resistance to spalling, and a number of other features that make it suitable for applications that experience extreme conditions, including freezing temperatures and weather. It’s also regularly used for unattended outdoor applications such as kiosks or ATMs that have to be weatherproof and stand up against potential vandalism.

Lower Supply Chain Costs

Supply chain is a regular target for finding new efficiencies. When you can’t sell more, you have to cut costs, and finding new efficiencies in the supply chain can yield major cost savings. Technology can help improve efficiency with just-in-time delivery by giving supply chain managers real-time data on the location of goods and packages. Industrial PDAs are essential to running lean supply chains. However, replacement costs for industrial touch screen applications can quickly become a problem. That’s why touch screens themselves need to be durable enough to handle rugged and outdoor applications. Otherwise those savings can quickly go down the drain.

Winter isn’t friendly to touch screen technology or supply chain workers, but the packages still have to arrive on time. There’s a more efficient way to run supply chains; make sure you’re using the technology that will keep up with the real conditions supply chain workers face every day.