While many office environments have closed during the global health crisis, warehouses are one area of the business that have seen physical activity skyrocket. The explosion in ecommerce has driven new investments in warehouse infrastructure, including IT, and has put a spotlight on one area in particular – the warehouse PC purchase.
Traditional PC buying over the last 12 months has been challenging thanks to inventory shortages, supply chain slowdowns, etc. Unfortunately, many of the pain points are similar for mobile warehouse PCs. However, there are some unique challenges that are amplified when buying solutions from vendors like Zebra, Datalogic, Honeywell, Wasp, Janam and others.
Three Challenges for the Warehouse PC Purchase
Reviews of Accessory Pricing Becomes Crucial
In vanilla PC purchase scenarios for typical end-users (desktops/laptops), NPI stresses the importance of reviewing accessory purchases attached to the main PC assets. When looking at specialty warehouse PCs, this focus is amplified.
While not a concern for regular laptop/desktop purchases, things like precise scanning requirements, camera specs and accessibility factors often lead to additional line items for warehouse PC solutions. Accessories like holsters, extra batteries and charging cradles are generally more expensive than end-user PC peripherals. And don’t forget form factor printers that may be included like those from Zebra or Intermec. Depending on warehouse workflows, this may be as significant a spend as the scanners themselves.
The point? The actual PC is just one element of your total warehouse PC solution cost. Be sure to perform price benchmark analysis on all facets of your purchase – from the core hardware to all accessory purchases – to ensure you’re paying a fair price.
Stocking Issues Remain Prevalent
Stocking issues have caused headaches for enterprise PC purchasing. This is an even bigger challenge for warehouse compute solutions, especially for newer models with updated tech.
As a result, NPI is seeing a need to identify potential ‘stand-in’ solutions if stock is limited on a preferred model. Strong demand is leading many distributors to be charging above fair market value pricing on alternatives in certain cases. Having different potential options remains an important part of sourcing warehouse PCs, but NPI cautions that this is an area where opportunistic channel partners may try to take advantage of a lack of familiarity on new tech or different OEMs.
Upgraded Tech is Pivot Point for Sales Teams
The ecommerce explosion comes at a time when many warehouses are undergoing expansion and/or large-scale tech refreshes. Features like advanced camera technology, high resolution mobile touch-enabled devices and new scanning tech offer increased value albeit at higher overall cost.
NPI observes that many vendor sales teams are using these circumstances to their advantage. Greater demand for more sophisticated warehouse PC solutions and functionality have created a pivot point that allows vendors to push more expensive pricing to customers. Their rationale is that new tech obviously holds higher per unit costs than the customer may be accustomed to.
Again, it’s crucial that validate vendor pricing for all aspects of the warehouse PC purchase regardless of how new, advanced or sophisticated the solution may be. In fact, NPI is seeing that the newer the functionality the greater the pricing disparity between similarly-scoped purchases as vendors figure out what the market will bear.
Reduce Warehouse PC Purchase Costs
If you have a warehouse PC purchase on the horizon, NPI can help. Our IT price benchmark analysis and vendor negotiation intel services help clients achieve material savings on their PC spend.