Three Reasons Why Maintenance Plans are Always Worth the Money

And the one thing that will almost always happen if you “opt out.”

Five IT team members sit in a row at computer stations
by Matt Rance
June 16, 2021

I’m the guy who will always add on the maintenance plan for my vehicles, household appliances and even mobile devices when offered – and I go to great lengths to extend the coverage as long as possible. Part of it is for peace of mind, but it’s mostly to maximise the life of these assets. Each requires a significant upfront investment, and I have no interest in replacing them any sooner than necessary.

Maintenance plans make it convenient to keep up with the manufacturers’ recommended service actions at the defined intervals, mainly because I get reminders about when service is due and guidance on how to schedule service. Many times, the service provider will come to me. But even when I have to get my car or mobile device into the shop, the time investment is minimal. In fact, I save a lot of time and frustration by not having to figure out exactly what needs to be done. The service provider responsible for executing the maintenance plan handles all of the recordkeeping and follow through.

I can’t tell you how much would fall by the wayside – and how many of my valued assets would fail to receive the proper upkeep – if the maintenance burden fell solely on me. I bet you probably feel the same way.

The thing to remember, though, is it doesn’t always have to be you doing the maintenance!

Mobile Device Maintenance Plans Aren’t Optional “Accessories” Anymore

Many experts say outsourcing is a form of self-care, even in business, and it makes sense. Though we’re still trying to cling to our pandemic-borne habits of balance, mindfulness and a slower life, we’re still very busy – especially at work. (Some of us more than ever!)

Those who have been on the front lines since the start of the pandemic (i.e., grocery store associates, warehouse workers, transporters, and healthcare providers) and those who have always been responsible for maintaining the availability of critical goods and services (i.e., manufacturers, utility technicians, public safety professionals) know just how disruptive it can be when even one mobile device, scanner or printer is offline for some reason. We live in a technologically dependent world.

Though it’s possible to temporarily revert to pen and paper reporting methods, paper doesn’t transmit real-time information across geographically distant teams. Paper can’t tell you the best next step to take right now because it can’t see or analyse the situation at hand. In other words, the pandemic may have forced some of us to get back to the basics in many ways. But expecting anyone within your organisation to add “routine mobile device maintenance” to their long daily to-do lists is unreasonable.

That’s one of the top reasons why you should always, always, add the maintenance plan when buying a new enterprise technology solution. It doesn’t matter how big or small your business may be. If your employees lose access to vital information needed to do their jobs because your devices weren’t properly maintained and they failed for some reason, then productivity will decline, output will slow (if not halt completely), and you will have to explain to customers (and management) why you’re unable to deliver the goods or services they need, when they need them. The predictability and support you receive with a maintenance plan that’s based on your specific operational needs will make it simpler to keep your team up and running and data flowing between decision-driving business systems.

The other reasons?

Spending minimal budget each month on a maintenance plan for your devices will:

  • lighten the load on your team.
  • save you money (by helping to reduce unplanned downtime and keeping your devices running at peak performance levels for a very, very long time)
  • minimise downtime (so your business can make the most of every minute and have the bandwidth to take on more customers/fulfil more orders).

I know that last reason was a repeat of the first, but I really want to drive that point home.

There are currently over 10 million Zebra devices on maintenance plans, and we have gleaned substantial insight to the needs of customers and partners. We know your mobile computers are often the only means by which information can be pushed to front-line workers in real time to keep workflows running smoothly. Your team relies on these devices to know when, where, and how to act when both opportunities and issues arise. And, as thousands of companies across the world have confirmed year after year in our vision studies, having access to real-time, data-fuelled insights is the key to making the best decision – and the most of every minute. If these devices stop working for any reason, so do workers. At the same time, barcode scanners play a key role in capturing accurate data so well-informed decisions are made every time. They must be properly maintained. It’s mission critical.

We’ve had customers opt out of maintenance plans before and then realise it just wasn’t easy to maintain the devices properly – in the way front-line workers needed them to be maintained. In turn, they ended up calling us a few months, sometimes a few years, later asking for help. They knew from the start maintenance was essential. They just didn’t realise how essential it would be to have someone to call when it came time to conduct that maintenance.

Things Might Break. Or They Might Not. Either Way, You’re Covered

Even if you have an IT team dedicated to device maintenance, wouldn’t you feel more confident receiving “service from the source”?

I can’t speak for other technology providers, but I can tell you that with Zebra’s OneCare maintenance plans, customers get live-agent technical support from on-local-shore, Zebra-badged experts when/where you need it. We don’t outsource our support function. We designed, engineered and manufactured these solutions that help run your business based on what our customers and partners have told us will help them run their business better. No one knows Zebra devices – or how to keep them running optimally for your business – better than the Zebra team. (Plus, most third-party service providers don’t have teams that can speak 17 different languages like ours.)

We also provide all the tools our customers need for 24/7 online self-service support, including access to software downloads for device firmware updates as well as a community of experts who may be able to help you fix a simple issue. (You’d be surprised at how often devices are sent in for repair when the issue could have been self-diagnosed and fixed within a few minutes by users.) The cloud-based VisibilityIQ™ OneCare portal is also where you can find insights into contracts, case lifecycles, and LifeGuard™ analytics reports for mobile computer and scanning devices.

Of course, there are going to be times when something needs to be fixed by the professionals. If you have a Zebra OneCare maintenance plan, you’re covered – at least with Zebra. Whether the issue is due to accidental damage, normal wear and tear or something else, all you have to do is open a ticket in the self-service online Repair Order Portal, submit a ticket, and follow the instructions to ship in the device. Zebra engineers will then get it back up and running with qualified parts and schematics (or replace it if they can’t, per the terms of your warranty.) And with our Zebra OneCare Select maintenance plans, you could have a new device replacement, pre-loaded with your software and applications, at your doorstep ready to go the next business day.

The Takeaway

When you buy a new device for your organisation – whether it’s a handheld mobile computer, tablet, printer, wearable, scanner, or something else – the question isn’t “should I add on the service plan?” It should be, “which service plan is best for this device and my planned usage?”

Maintenance is not an option. It’s a part of technology (or home, vehicle, etc.) ownership. And maintenance plans are not warranty extensions. Nor are they intended for use only when something breaks and needs fixing – even though that is part of their benefit.

Maintenance plans are the means by which you can best prevent devices from breaking in the first place and the best way to extend the overall life of your devices. They are also the best way to protect your business from unbudgeted expenses and costly interruptions.

If you don’t have a maintenance plan for your devices today – or even if you do but want to verify you have the right coverage – I encourage you to reach out to your Zebra representative to learn more about the support we offer via the Zebra OneCare service. He or she can help you strategically craft a maintenance plan optimised for your business based on how – and how much – your Zebra devices are used, your current resource availability for maintenance actions, and your budget.

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Editor’s Note:

Watch this video for a quick overview about the coverage and support provided by Zebra’s OneCare Maintenance plans:

You can also learn more about the coverage available for your devices and how to schedule service here.

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Matt Rance
Matt Rance has more than 20 years of experience in Services and Portfolio Management, Business Development and Customer Service roles. He is currently the EMEA Lead for Zebra’s Managed and Support Services Portfolio.
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