Part 4 of a small series on mission critical rugged pda’s, to see the index go here for the 5 tests that a rugged PDA should pass. Today we’re talking about Rugged PDA Parts.
Other than having a decent Roadmap for your rugged handheld, I think this is the next most important indicator of a fully rugged PDA. We interchange the term “Rugged” with “mission Critical” here. We kind of see rugged PDA’s as the servers of the mobile PDA market, so they tend to be a little boring, a little behind the latest technology but always there, working away and allowing you to do the fun srtuff with your customers.
Spare parts are essential to a long PDA life and they also show a true committment from the manufacturer to the “rugged” cause. When buying a Rugged PDA always ask about the repair and parts processes so that you know you have something that will work for the term you need it to. We wake up thinking about Rugged Handhelds and Barcodes here but the chances are you probably don’t, so having a rugged PDA that isn’t going to change for years is what you need.
Parts should not just be guaranteed if you take out a service contract, they should be available for anything you buy. You wouldn’t buy a car if someone told you that the parts are probably not going to be around after 10 years so why should you buy a Rugged PDA if the parts might not be available for 3? Ask the reseller what the parts scenario is, ask for any guarantees but the most important thing to ask is about really old PDA’s and if you can still get the parts for them which will test the brand you are proposing to buy.
We have many customers, for one reason or another, who simply can’t buy service up front but they still need something that they can rely upon for years and that has a decent repair solution regardless of whether they have a full on service contract,or if it’s a warranty or out of warranty repair. Having to wait for 4 weeks (which is what we have had to wait for our latest Motorola kit, 7 weeks and counting for Psion) is too long, in fact it’s insulting. There are many brands now that are filling this void and offering great service, great repair solutions and parts guarantees all as part of the rugged PDA’s life. I think lack of greed of the manufacturer and reseller plays a big part in how well you will be looked after you buy.
So inevitably parts will go south but it’s not necessarily the end of the story as we live in a very different world these days. If we can’t find it for you then we make and we have access to fabrication facilities, we have our own fabrication right here and we do our best to keep you running. We only offer this on certain brands though that have committed to this ethos.
The Rugged and Mobile blog.