Buying a rugged tablet? You should consider the total cost.

16 May 2022

Rugged equipment is designed to perform and survive in challenging environments. A total cost of ownership analysis can justify the cost of a rugged tablet versus a commercial option.

The cost of equipment is typically one of the most important factors for companies during the purchasing cycle. Sales people would love to hear, ‘don’t worry about the price just give me what I want’!

When the individual signing off on the purchase sees the upfront costs there is typically a 30-40% price difference between rugged devices vs. non-rugged ones.  However, the overall value and savings that a rugged device brings to an operation may easily justify the higher initial costs. So consider outlining the total cost of ownership

The real cost of device downtime – how would it affect your company?

Device and IT downtime refers to a time when any part of the IT system becomes unavailable. It can happen for several reasons including power outages, equipment failure, human-made error, software failure, or many other reasons.

According to Gartner*, the average cost of IT downtime is $5,600 per minute. Because there are so many differences in how businesses operate, downtime, at the low end, can be as much as $140,000 per hour, $300,000 per hour on average, and as much as $540,000 per hour at the higher end.

Those figures encompass a wealth of scenarios and your reaction maybe there is no way it would cost my business this much, but have you ever evaluated the true cost of IT equipment downtime?

Of course, this figure will vary depending on the operational area you are evaluating but it can be a valuable task to justify the equipment you really believe will do the best job.

Rugged device Vs a commercial device

In the short term the effects may not be obviously financially. However, it can impact other areas of your business. For example, poor productivity, unsatisfactory customer service or tasks that remain undone or deadlines which are missed.

Though the short-term downtime maybe frustrating if it consistently occurs this can snowball into persistent issues. Examples include: -

Inaccessible key systems- for example the loss of software or apps that the team needs to complete their job may lead to the inability to communicate, update data or manage systems across the wider organisation. A tablet with poor connectivity can interrupt tasks, frustrate the worker and reduce their productivity.

Inaccurate data- for example the inability to input data. A common issue with commercial grade tablets is an inefficient battery which dies within hours whilst out in the field. This may result in double entry for the worker from paper to PC increasing the risk of data integrity. For some industries loss of data can result in a range of regulatory penalties with significant cost implications.

Safety risks- rugged mobile equipment is commonly used in maintenance. Examples include railway lines, automation facilities, on an oil rig to monitoring gas pipes. Failure of a device could impact schedules, with mandatory downtime to protect staff and possibly the wider community.

Total cost of ownership- what you should consider

Defining total cost of ownership (TCO); TCO is the purchase price of an asset (device) plus the costs of operation.

This means gauging the total cost of ownership represents taking a look at the bigger picture at what and how much the product is and its value is over time.

To assess total cost across the ownership, compare devices based on the expected cost of:

  • Direct costs: Initial capital outlay, number of repairs and replacements, total repair cost
  • Indirect costs: lost time while devices are repaired, replacement device cover, supplier bias to replace devices early, speed of service
  • 3-year expected life service: the most common expected timeframe for a business computer
  • Independent industry data: failure rates for rugged and non-rugged devices over 3-years

The answer to choosing between rugged and commercial devices is to understand the actual demands of your business. Overall, teams that require constant connection but also exposed to harsh environments will benefit more when using rugged devices. Just one example is water or dust ingress which can cause a mobile handheld to malfunction. Furthermore, malfunction will soon equal downtime – which could mean significant financial consequences.

Do you want to learn more about total cost of ownership? Drop us an email.  

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