When going out to purchase new mobile computers, most businesses may be tempted to base buying decisions solely on a product’s purchase price. But because the purchase price does not reflect the real cost of the unit, this could turn out to be a costly mistake. To truly evaluate what a product costs, we need to look at the cost over the life of the product. This is known as the product’s total cost of ownership (TCO).
Even if we do not know the term TCO, we often apply it in other areas of our life. When we are buying a new car, most buyers will do at least some research to find out about the vehicle’s repair record. A cheaper car that spends half the time in the repair shop is no bargain.
The same concept applies with mobile computers. Computers taken outside of a safe office environment are going to be subjected to a lot of rough treatment. Drops, vibration, water, dust and extreme temperatures are only some of the conditions a computer may face in the field. It seems logical that you would not take a delicate piece of electronic equipment into a rough environment, but that is what happens more often that you would think.
Why? Because many buyers of mobile computers are lured by the lower initial purchase price into buying non-rugged or minimally ruggedized equipment solely because of the cheaper purchase price, failing to take into account the higher costs of actually using this equipment in the field. By failing to purchase the right kind of unit for the job and the environment, they will be paying a lot more in the long run than if they had purchased a more rugged, but more expensive, piece of equipment initially. In other words, the more expensive unit is actually the cheaper unit.