Article | September 25, 2017

Why Retailers Should Equip Their Temporary Holiday Workforce With Mobile Devices

By Samuel Mueller, CEO and co-founder, Scandit

Retail Tablet POS

The holiday season is quickly approaching. This means retailers need to start preparing for the influx of seasonal temporary workers required to get through the holidays.

Hiring temporary help is a major task on its own. But even once retailers have recruited and placed seasonal associates, they need to train them and make sure they have the tools they need. Fortunately, mobile devices are available to alleviate these potential holiday headaches.

It doesn’t make sense to purchase scanners, mobile computers, and other dedicated hardware devices for temporary workers who will only be around for a few weeks or months. Yet retailers now rely on mobile data capture as a cornerstone of numerous front and back-end activities. Product lookup, checkout, inventory management, and shipping and receiving are just a few core retail use cases for mobile data capture.

However, none of this means retailers who depend on temporary seasonal associates are doomed to suffer the holiday blues. The evolution of sophisticated, cloud-based mobile data capture software enables retailers to leverage mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, for workflows they previously managed with dedicated hardware devices.

There are many advantages to providing temporary holiday workers with mobile devices instead of dedicated hardware devices. Mobile devices can be quickly plugged into existing workflows and use cases with fewer integration issues. Mobile devices are cheaper than dedicated hardware devices, with a TCO (total cost of ownership) up to five times less than legacy devices.

If you support a BYOD (bring your own device) policy, then the appeal of using mobile devices for temporary workers gets even stronger. Under this arrangement, temporary holiday workers can use their own mobile devices for common retail workflows. All they have to do is install your software and they’re good to go. When their contract has concluded, they can delete the software and you can remove their device from your list of supported devices. As you can see, a BYOD policy provides cost savings for this short-term employment scenario.

Because mobile devices are already familiar, temporary workers won’t need as much training which will save even more resources. One other point: mobile devices are multifunctional. So, for example, a seasonal delivery driver could use the same mobile data capture software-equipped smartphone that scans packages for proof of delivery to perform GPS navigation or communicate with a dispatcher.

Temporary seasonal workers are as much a part of retailers’ holiday strategies as Black Friday sales and store decorations. Forward-thinking retailers will add mobile devices for their holiday workforce to their list of traditions.

About The Author
Samuel Mueller is the CEO and co-founder of Scandit and is responsible for overall strategic direction, marketing, sales, and business development. Prior to Scandit, Samuel was a management consultant and project leader for multinational companies such as Swiss Airlines, Swiss Re and IBM as well as a corporate researcher at the renowned IBM Zurich Research Lab. While at IBM, Samuel was awarded an IBM Research Division Award and a total of three IBM Invention Achievement Awards. He has authored numerous patent applications and has published his research results in leading conferences and journals. Samuel holds a PhD from ETH Zurich and graduated summa cum laude with an MSc in Computer Science and an MA in Financial Economics, both from the University of Zurich, Switzerland.