Mobile Device Management – Boost Productivity, Increase Security & Reduce Complexity

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A digital inventory

Everyone in the logistics industry has at least heard of “MDM” – Mobile Device Management. MDM has become a buzzword that’s been bandied around for years now, but just what can it do and how can it help your business?

In a nutshell, MDM helps you remotely manage all of your devices throughout their lifetime both inside and outside of your enterprise. MDM keeps track of the physical assets themselves as well as managing content and applications on those assets, keeping everything up to date, safe and secure.

Mobile Device Management works through an MDM server that resides on premise or in the cloud, and a software agent installed on every device. And by device we’re not just talking about rugged computers, we’re talking about scanners, wearables, cell phones, tablets, laptops and so on – everything you are using in your business. A single MDM installation, if properly done, can be used for all a company’s connected devices, including office machines. Within the MDM, IT creates a company-wide policy that covers access, rules, configurations, updates, installations and whatever else needs to be handled and managed, and the selected actions then get pushed out automatically via the MDM system to all target devices.

 

Managing fleets and supply chains

Logistics is much broader than just fleets or transportation. In any logistics operation, individual devices work together to manage the storage, flow, safety, security and delivery of goods. Making it all work together determines success or failure.

As the name suggests, MDM is all about helping you manage your devices. It’s a gargantuan undertaking, considering the diversity of tasks, locations, and technologies. Many of the MDM options on the market run across platforms and device form factors, so you can give your users a unified experience from a single point of control, no matter how many devices you manage.

Note that MDM isn’t just for large corporations operating across multiple sites and having thousands of devices. Even small companies can benefit from a good MDM installation, reducing overheads and maximizing profitability.

MDM can be used for different types of tasks and roll outs. One area is deploying and managing all of the applications, updates, security patches, and changing configuration settings in all participating systems in a fleet or warehousing operation. MDM can also help in quickly revoking apps and versions that are no longer supported, optimizing functionality for maximum productivity, remotely wipe and flag devices that have been stolen, and change or remove access as needed.

A major advantage of a good MDM system is that it removes the need for IT to respond to every support request or problem ticket via phone call or in person. Most routine problems can be diagnosed and fixed remotely. A well-functioning MDM system will reduce diagnostic and repair time when something goes wrong. Devices can quickly be brought back online, reducing downtime and loss of productivity.

 

Security first

Security is a top priority in every business and a modern mobile device management system can help you keep it watertight. You can mandate access and data encryption policies centrally and be safe in the knowledge that they are implemented and enforced on all of your devices. MDM will report non-compliance, transgressions, and missing or unreachable devices so that appropriate action can be taken.

With devices getting ever smaller and more mobile, misplaced, lost or stolen units are becoming more common. MDM can handle that, too. The software can locate and report on lost or stolen devices. If there is a risk of a security breach, the system can lock a device or even remotely remove business-sensitive information.

 

Keeping track

The logistics industry relies on reliable, optimal functioning of all aspects of supply chain networks employing multiple transportation modes. This means proper use and management of often vast numbers of individual devices deployed on the ground, on rail, in trucks, in maritime transport or in the air. MDM keeps track of all devices, no matter where they are, shows how they are used, what apps are being used, and that everything on every device is as it should be.

MDM can whitelist and blacklist apps as well as web pages, monitor how each individual device is being used, help track down misuse or related problems, and even keep an eye on the safety and wellbeing of your workforce.

 

Benefits beyond the technical

Alongside the obvious compliance, management and monitoring advantages, perhaps the biggest MDM benefit is that IT support staff doesn’t need to locate and process each device individually to perform updates or changes. Whether it’s the rollout of an app or an update to an existing system, implementing a new security policy or setting a new configuration – all you need to do is to apply it at the server end, and the software does the rest.

Clearly, this is a huge advantage in logistics industries where company devices are routinely deployed over vast geographic areas. And it’s still a considerable benefit even if all the devices are in one location or just one warehouse. No longer having to physically find and touch every device to apply fixes and changes will dramatically cut down man hours.

The inherent MDM advantage runs beyond the technical. Having an MDM helps increase productivity in many other ways as well. Updates can be scheduled to be performed during non-working hours, without interfering with a shift. Troubleshooting and repairs can be remote and instant, without sending a device in for service, repair or replacement. And well-performing, well-managed devices improve workforce morale and thus productivity.

 

Partnership helps you make the most of your MDM

MDM has become an invaluable part of any logistics organization’s mobile strategy. But things change fast in the MDM world and new functionality is added all the time. If you want to stay up to date or find out more about how to leverage MDM to boost productivity, increase security and reduce complexity, check our Knowledge and Inspiration section regularly.