How a Portable Data Collection Terminal can Increase Your Small Business Profitability

portable data collection terminal
Dolphin 9500
A portable data collection terminal or hand held mobile computer is no longer being used for the typical inventory control for retail and warehouse. Its uses are now expanding into receipt signature, scanning a delivery package, taking orders in restaurant, and many more.

Now, despite the relatively pricey device (a Dolphin 9500, on sale at, is tagged at over $1,625,) you should consider it as an investment. What if the hand held computer can boost your business profitability 20% by improving order taking alone?

From my own experience, here is how a portable data collection terminal can help your business to be more productive and profitable:

Increase turnaround time

I have visited businesses using such device – in recent memory: a hardware retail store and a restaurant. Both are using the hand held computer to take orders.

The staff at the hardware retail store take my order “on the fly” – he then bring all the stuffs I ordered to be processed in cashier; all I have to do is to stroll through the store and find myself the final amount to be paid. Convenient, convenient.

In my other case – the restaurant I, with my family, dined in take orders using the portable terminal, speeding up the order-to-fulfillment process. I enjoy less waiting time, and will definitely come back again for the good food and fast serving.

More accurate package delivery

This is probably already a common use of such portable terminal: signing a package delivery receipt.

It’s probably not really a different experience for me, other than the fact that I don’t have to look for a pen to sign on the receipts. But it is definitely a great way to reduce the delivery company’s overheads in managing the receipts (including the missing ones…) and the whole goods-handling process. All are integrated into the system, online, and this (increased accuracy) increase the credibility of the delivery company, which can be translated into more business coming in.

Hassle-free survey taking

I remember while I was in the UK, a particular college student was doing a part-time job taking surveys on the high street of Birmingham, West Midlands. Maybe it’s because of my ignorance, the whole thing is new for me – she approached me for a survey and took my answers on a portable data collection terminal. Pretty cool. This way, she didn’t have to juggling with the paper-and-pen stuffs, and the survey company itself enjoy a more efficient and effective survey taking campaign. Pretty cool.

There are other uses of portable data collection terminal – despite the cost of the device, the impact on your small business profitability is measurable. Just don’t purchase the mobile computer for the sake of prestige and “fancy-ness” – doing so would only be a waste of your hard-earned cash.

Ivan Widjaya
On increasing small business profitability