Barcode and QR scanning apps are widely available and more popular than ever. With this comes the possibility of employees using their own devices for warehouse data collection. Companies debate the “bring your own device” (BYOD) question. Specifically, this means there are two options for warehouse devices.
1. Invest in mobile computers and scanning devices made for warehouse data collection.
2. Allow their employees to use their own smartphones, tablets, and computers. These would include work-related apps installed where applicable.
There are pros and cons on both sides of the implementing BYOD.
Benefits of BYOD
Employees are familiar with their own devices. They would need to learn to use the app and device in a work related way. But there is less of a learning curve with “bring your own technology”. This means they would learn the workplace-related tasks more efficiently, resulting in increased productivity..
Another advantage to BYOD is cost savings. The employee would bear the costs of the personal devices.
Even so, there would be some costs for setting up the devices to connect to the database and applications. But the devices themselves would not be a cost.
Employees are more likely to keep their own devices up to date. As a result, the costs of technology upgrades would be passed along.
IT no longer has to maintain a lot of hardware; maintenance of the mobile devices is up to the employee. The software needed to work a system like this is cloud-based, and the cloud provider will maintain it. This frees IT to work on developing and implementing the rest of the technology in the company.
Risks of BYOD
Privacy and BYOD security are a concern on both sides of this issue. Employers may not want employees taking corporate data information home with them. But, if the employees are using their own devices, that is difficult to avoid. This raises very real security concerns of sensitive data falling into the wrong hands.
Personal devices may not have adequate antivirus protection. Also, the devices may be vulnerable to hackers. Devices that leave the facility are more likely to be lost or stolen. On the other side, employees may not want to let their workplace have eyes in their personal data. They may be very leery about allowing work that far into their personal life.
Employees’ devices may not be compatible with the employer’s corporate network. Even so, there are many applications that claim to be compatible with most devices. Many employees do not use smartphones. Also, they may be happy with their current personal mobile device. They may be unhappy if required to buy a different, more expensive one that will fit the network.
Keep in mind, too, that there may issues with worker productivity. The gains in productivity from using familiar devices may be lost in distraction. Personal devices are usually set up so that emails, social feeds, and texts pop up constantly. If the devices are being used for work, the employer can’t insist employees to leave them in their locker or desk. Also, the employer can’t tell them not to have those applications on their personal device.
It’s true that the initial idea of not having to buy devices may be tempting. But security risks to company information and productivity concerns may outweigh those temporary gains.
The argument of cost savings versus security measures for effective BYOD solutions won’t go away anytime soon. For more information on dedicated hardware for warehouse data collection, contact Radley today.