Do Rugged Computers Cost More or Less?

On a fairly frequent basis, Group Mobile provides a price quotation to a prospective customer on a ruggedized computer…and when we follow-up the prospect says something like, “Well, the decision was made to buy commercial computers since the ruggedized computers were higher in price. We felt like we could save quite a bit of money and if the plastic computers break, we can just buy new ones and we would still save money over buying ruggedized equipment.”

Then invariably, a few weeks or months later, the same person calls back and says something like, “I guess we are ready for those ruggedized computers now. We tried the commercial plastic computers and they were failing every couple of weeks. Our guys were ‘down’ and without their computers for days at a time. It was costing us a fortune in lost productivity, not to mention the hassle of losing data and having to constantly re-load our software on the repaired computers.”

So why does this scenario repeat itself over and over again? We can only blame ourselves…the people who are involved in manufacturing and selling rugged, mobile computers. We have not done a great job of educating people about the necessity of ruggedization when using a computer in a vehicle, in a factory, in a warehouse, in a service bay, or out in the field. Construction companies, utility departments, service, repair, inspection, delivery companies, police departments, etc, think nothing about spending thousands of dollars for the equipment specialized for their job or their business, but balk when it comes to buying specialized computers. They are just not fully aware that commercial grade computers are not designed for vehicle, warehouse or field use.
We all know that there is a difference in price and cost. The price is what you pay up front for an item. The cost is what you spend over the course of the life of the item. Rugged computers are priced higher but cost less. The primary reasons for this are less down time, less lost data, fewer repair costs and increased worker productivity. Obviously, this is only true when said computers are to be used in or on a vehicle, in a dusty dirty environment, in a hot or cold environment, outdoors, or on-site.

In every job there is a right and a wrong tool for the job. Commercial portable computers are perfect for indoor, white-collar, taking home at night, or flying on a business trip. Rugged mobile computers are the right tools for those with jobs in demanding environments. Rugged computers actually cost less! Read More…

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