Hardware devices and equipment are essential parts of running a business. Whether you own a retail store or a local restaurant, obtaining and maintaining any tech hardware can be tedious and costly. This kind of management decision is vital as it can impact different operations and processes, from daily service, production quality, to employee efficiency.
Among the widely-used types of hardware include a desktop computer, smartphones, input and output devices, primary and secondary storage devices, to processing tools. Unfortunately, all kinds of hardware have a shelf-life too. Not sure when to upgrade or replace your existing devices? Here are eight things you should take into account before doing so.
1. Age of equipment
First and foremost, be sure to consider the age of your equipment. A good rule of thumb is anything that is around three to five years old can be upgraded, as for those that are less than two years old should still be fine. For computer hardware older than five years, be sure to check how well it’s still working before upgrading. Devices that are ten years or more are likely due for replacement.
2. Impact on productivity
This should be obvious. If any of your employees are bringing computer problems to your attention, that’s already a bad sign. While it’s typical for a computer hardware to have issues, an upgrade or replacement should be considered if they’re disputing the progress or completion of your employee’s tasks. Such problem could potentially lead to other areas of your business such as employee retention and customer service. Furthermore, holding on to faulty hardware can lead you to spend more money on repairs.
3. Money factor
Another big concern when it comes to upgrading your business’ hardware, particularly full-scale, is whether to lease or buy. The decision highly depends on the number of devices to be upgraded and the size of your company. If you’re on a limited budget, leasing is more ideal.
On the other hand, if you’re upgrading for smaller operations, buying the equipment outright can be a better idea. However, before purchasing the new devices, you’ll need to conduct a proper cost-benefit analysis first. Have a clear idea of your budget and assess the perks you’ll get from upgrading. You’d probably also need to consider the ongoing costs that come with the hardware. Shop around for a competitive price.
4. Device warranty
Next thing to consider is your hardware’s warranty. The majority of consumer-grade computers come with one to three years of the warranty period so be sure to make the repairs during the time. Once the hardware’s warranty expires, you obviously have to pay for the repairs out of your own pocket. Now the problem is, is it worth it to pay more money to fix your equipment? That depends.
Generally, good devices outlive their warranties. For instance, it’s still recommended to acquire a Zebra repair service for your store’s barcode scanners or mobile computers that are just a few years past their warranties. To ensure the quality of repair and your money’s worth, work with only reputable repair companies.
5. Team buy-in
In upgrading your equipment or devices, it’s vital that your company’s engineers or IT team are involved and supportive. You’d want your people to be involved with the research, testing, and implementation of the potential new devices. They could help you decide when and how to upgrade, and what devices will work best for your team or improve workplace productivity.
In addition to that, you should also consider if the end-users will be comfortable with the upgrade. If possible, you can perform a pilot testing where your staff can have a hands-on experience with the new equipment. Keep in mind though that resistance is expected on big changes.
6. Deployment plan
Planning for the deployment of the new devices is necessary. Ideally, the roll-out should be done as quickly as possible once the replacement devices are already on-site. Organize and schedule a solid deployment to reduce surprises and ensure a smooth transition. In case the vendor is assisting with the deployment, check on their depot footprint. A vendor with nearby warehouses can keep turnaround times shorter and shipping costs down. Communicate with your team and the vendor when creating your deployment plan.
There are just a few considerations to decide whether to upgrade your business hardware. Still, there’s no hard or fast rule as it can be different for every business. Make it a habit to gauge where your technology or equipment to have a clearer idea of which decision is best for your business.