News, Sustainability

How a large manufacturer seamlessly moved from Windows to Android devices in the warehouse

from Windows to Android

The UK arm of a leading manufacturer of paper-based packaging had experienced a surge in demand for its sustainably sourced and produced packaging, in line with the movement of companies seeking to mitigate their environmental impact.

The problem: Legacy Operating System (OS) Reaching End of Life

To upgrade the network speed and performance in their warehouse facilities, the company’s IT team decided to implement a wider technology transformation program. The program focused on replacing the mobile devices used by its teams to register incoming raw materials, manage inventory, and facilitate production and onward shipment of finished products.

Legacy Windows OS on mobile devices led to sluggish performance, hindering productivity and automated applications. Limited connectivity to a device management platform resulted in lost devices and frequent breakdowns. The priority was granting IT real-time visibility and enabling decentralised setup for new devices across dispersed locations.

The solution: A Transformational Mobility Platform

With Windows Mobile approaching end of life, the paper manufacturer decided to standardise its future devices on Zebra Technologies’ barcode scanning and Android mobile computing portfolio – specifically the MC9000 Series Mobile Computers which are tailored for warehousing use. The manufacturer chose Zebra’s MC33xx Series with extended-range scanning (up to 30m) for handheld use, and Zebra’s VC80x Vehicle-Mounted Mobile Computer with DS3608-ER Scanner for forklifts, enabling in-cab barcode scanning.

For many warehouse leaders, making the move to a new OS can feel uneasy as operations can rely on intricate systems that have been refined over the past few years. To mitigate customer concerns over changing ecosystems, Zebra created software tools in its Mobility DNA portfolio, strengthening Android as an enterprise-grade OS platform. A core feature of Mobility DNA is All-Touch Terminal Emulation (ATTE), which converts legacy green-screen apps into all-touch interfaces.

In a separate business area, the paper manufacturer needed a new mobile solution to replace outdated devices with a legacy remote desktop application (RDA). Using legacy apps on modern devices posed technical hurdles, such as the HD display conflicting with old VGA screens, solved using Zebra’s ERDP client and maintaining proper resolution for Windows apps on Android.

Supporting its mobile computers is a Zebra OneCare maintenance plan along with Zebra’s VisibilityIQ Device Intelligence Services which provide real-time data on device location, performance, health and usage patterns (e.g., connectivity and charging) and more.

The benefits: An Advanced Platform Which Boosts Performance

The mobile devices within Zebra’s Android portfolio are backed by an OS platform that’s been hardened and secured for the enterprise. The Mobility DNA tools facilitated the transition without altering the SAP back-end, avoiding costly and time-consuming changes.

Mobility DNA has delivered other key benefits too. Using StageNow, local depots can easily load apps to their devices to deploy them when they are ready, reducing the need for IT support to attend sites. Furthermore, calls to support have dropped markedly as depots can easily reset and restore their devices themselves. MC3300 mobile computers are rugged and enterprise-grade, built for warehouse durability. They provide processing power, ergonomic design, and improved Wi-Fi for efficient, comfortable work.

LifeGuard coverage also ensures the paper manufacturer can keep its devices running for years with guaranteed patch and update support, while VisibilityIQ tracks device location, usage, and health, promoting best practices for maximising investment value. Furthermore, the availability of remote technical support also minimises physical site visits, cutting IT expenses.

“By moving to Android devices in our warehouses, we have enabled our users to use new devices that have the familiarity of their mobile phones. For us, as the IT team, we’ve been delighted by our experience of working with Newbury Data Systems and Zebra Technologies. Problems have been resolved quickly, and the Mobility DNA platform gave us the confidence to transition from Windows to Android and ensured this was a seamless and successful process.” Project lead, paper-based packaging manufacturer.

To learn more, visit Zebra’s website.

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