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12 Jul 2022 | 16:00

How to efficiently manage your workforce mobile device estate with proactive device management

The world is increasingly reliant on mobile internet and communications, and this is good news. The many advantages of a connected mobile workforce include greater efficiency, accountability, audit trail and accuracy; the ability to track people and assets; improved productivity and business efficiency; better, more accurate data sharing and greater scope to provide a genuinely ‘joined up’ or omnichannel service. However, when it comes to managing a workforce mobile device estate, proactive device management is both crucial and complex – you can download our guide to proactive device management here. In this post we’ll explore the advantages of mobile device management, and how they can work to make your estate safer and even more productive.

Mobile devices are crucial to most organisations, but particularly to sectors with dispersed, public-facing or mobile workforces – such as transport and logistics, warehousing, health and social care, field and utility services, and retail. In fact, the entire world is increasingly mobile: 2021 was the turning point at which more than half of the world’s population was using mobile internet, and according to the Cisco Annual Internet Report, ‘By 2023, there will be 8.7 billion handheld or personal mobile-ready devices and 4.4 billion M2M connections (e.g., GPS systems in cars, asset tracking systems in shipping and manufacturing sectors, or medical applications making patient records and health status more readily available …)’.

Your organisation may have a mobile device estate of anything from a few to a few thousand devices, but whatever the estate’s size, it clearly makes sense to have third-party proactive device management in place. This is not only to protect your investment in mobile devices – although that matters a lot – but also to get the very best return on that investment. For example:

  • If your devices aren’t always ready to use, you will suffer unscheduled downtime, which may be prolonged if errors go unreported and unfixed for extended periods,
  • Mobile devices can be easily lost or otherwise removed from your fleet; the costs of this can quickly mount up, making proactive tracking a ‘must have’,
  • The devices in your fleet may vary in terms of software (and updates) required, security settings, etc. Making sure that all of these are up to date for every single item can become complex and time consuming, particularly if you have a medium-sized or large estate, and
  • In an increasingly mobile world, hackers are targeting mobile devices now more than ever. The financial and reputational costs of this can be crippling even for large businesses. Outdated software, along with spyware and other malware deployed through fake or vulnerable apps or phishing emails, are growing threats that you must track and deal with proactively – for every single device. 

How third-party proactive mobile device management works

Third-party proactive mobile device management is the gold standard for enterprise mobile device estates, because it protects your fleet not only from physical loss, but also from incidental losses (e.g., through unscheduled downtime, reduced efficiency) and the risks of cyber-crime. 

Using a third party allows you to allocate an expert team to the management of your mobile device estate, without the very substantial costs and challenges involved in providing that in-house.

Please note that proactive mobile device management, certainly as offered by The Barcode Warehouse, is not the same thing as enterprise mobility management (EMM), which you can read about in this blog post. Proactive mobile device management has a strong focus on the security and integrity of your device estate and is often used alongside mobile device management (MDM) as part of an EMM service. 

However, third-party proactive enterprise mobility management packages can vary a great deal in terms of what they provide. At The Barcode Warehouse we provide a comprehensive managed service that includes:

  • Incident management – with 24/7 service desk
  • Break fix administration – when a fault can’t be fixed remotely, this provides a replacement the next working day
  • Buffer and repair management
  • Proactive device management – monitors battery charge status, device location, whether devices are being utilised correctly and if devices are running the correct software versions of both application and OS
  • Release management – works with your chosen MDM platform to deploy software, patches, settings, enhancements and operating systems ‘over the air’ (remotely) across your estate
  • Problem management – proactively identifies, addresses and solves issues. Detects potential problems and deals with them before they arise
  • Gold build management – permits smooth scaling by taking a copy of a device configuration that can be easily and repeatedly applied to multiple devices
  • Professional services – facilitate deployments, decommissioning and audit activities. The provider takes responsibility for analysing your operational needs, providing the right hardware, software and network solutions, and liaising directly with operational and field teams, manufacturers and other partners
  • Management information and business intelligence – comprises tools and technologies to transform data into clear information about leading and trailing trends
  • Asset monitor – an intelligent cloud-based solution for monitoring, controlling and recovering mobile on-site devices

The table below shows just a few examples of savings made by customers of The Barcode Warehouse during the last three years, who use our proactive device managed service with MDM*.

Exception type


Potential value/savings 
Location2,774£1,387,000Device relocations recorded and updated on systems, e.g., asset management 
Devices found40,540£20,270,000Potentially prevented the loss of equipment worth millions of pounds
Version control4,306574 hours/
23.92 days
Saved hours of phone calls by proactively identifying and updating incorrect and/or old software*

*This enhanced the security of each device (outdated software is often targeted by cybercriminals) and returned all devices to a shared and known point, which optimises management and administration of any device fleet.

As one of our customers puts it, 

  "The Barcode Warehouse have been first class in managing our estate of handheld mobile devices. Their service has meant our team of 200+ customer support engineers have fully functional technology around the clock. [This is supported by addressing the need to swap out equipment ‘in boot’.] This allows our management teams to have full visibility of resource, making real-time operational adjustments, therefore maximising customer experience and operational efficiency."

- Danny Rayner, Service Operations Manager, CoE, Baxi (BDR Thermea Group B.V)

Benefiting from the advantages of mobile device management

As we have seen, the need for enterprise mobility management varies by estate – and what’s more, there are multiple types of services to choose from. However, if your organisation wants to get the very best from its mobile workforce, in order to minimise device losses and maximise productivity and efficiency, then third-party proactive device management is something you should look at. Find out more by downloading our guide to proactive mobile device management, or get in touch with us today.

*Based on The Barcode Warehouse's customer data, correct at 1/12/2023

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