How Much Does a Smart Locker Cost?

Mobile device smart lockers are an essential piece of your device management strategy. They are a smart investment for schools and organizations alike. As with any investment, you need to weigh smart locker costs and benefits to determine which one is right for you.

Not all smart lockers are created equal, and to get the most from your investment, you need to ensure you have all the features you need – without breaking the bank on functions you don’t. 

The Three Levels of Smart Locker Prices

The cost of a smart locker depends on many different factors, including whether it has a cloud connection, the complexity of your workflow, and the extent of software and hardware features. We’ve broken them down to three primary levels of smart locker prices – low, mid-range and high – each with pros and cons. 

Low Cost (<$3,000)

Pros: These entry-level, low-cost lockers are simple to use and can facilitate secure public charging on demand.

Cons: Low-cost lockers are often miscategorized as smart lockers, but because they typically aren’t connected to a cloud platform, they are not actually “smart.” Limited hardware features and absence of a cloud connection restrict remote management capabilities. These lockers are designed to solve the specific pain point of uncharged devices and don’t offer flexibility for future growth opportunities.

Mid-Range Cost ($3,000-$12,000)

Pros: Mid-range smart charging lockers offer many useful features at a reasonable price. They include charging ports inside to securely charge devices while not in use. Their primary purpose is to enable automations for broken device exchanges, check in/out or loaner programs and public charging with remote visibility. These lockers typically feature open API that allows for external software integrations – such as IT help desk ticketing systems. They’ll likely be more future-proof and longer-lasting than low-cost lockers.

Cons: These lockers may have more features than you need if public charging is your goal. Many organizations who purchase a mid-range locker for public charging eventually find value in other workflow options. On the other hand, mid-range lockers generally facilitate the most common mobile device workflows for business or education. If your device program is highly unique or extremely complicated, mid-range may or may not meet all of your top needs.

High Cost ($12,000+)

Pros: High-cost smart lockers often provide a very robust feature set with advanced hardware and cloud software capabilities. They may also offer modular size bays, customization for a wide variety of hardware and software features, complex device tracking and more. They can likely accommodate a broader range unique mobile device workflows.

Cons: Many lockers in this category are extremely expensive and may include more features than you need if broken device exchanges, check in/out or loaner programs and public charging with remote visibility are your main workflows.

Finding the Right Smart Locker Price Level

Smart locker costs aren’t always cut-and-dried. Before you can find the right type for your business or school budget, there are several things you need to think about. 

What Features Do You Really Need?

Often what’s more important than your smart locker price is the extent to which they solve your biggest pain points. On the flip side, does it solve problems that are irrelevant to your organization? There’s often no need to overpay for fancy features like UV light in bays, vending machine capabilities or complex inventory scanning systems, while other features can be extremely useful no matter what you’ll use it for, like external LED lights to show the status of each bay, open API with no call limits, external ticketing system integrations and modular replacement parts.

How Big Is Your Mobile Technology Program?

It’s important to consider the number of individually-lockable bays when comparing the cost of a smart locker. Calculating the cost per bay can give you a better apples-to-apples comparison of the total investment.

For a busy device management program or an organization with a large fleet of mobile devices, it can be beneficial to select a locker with a slightly higher capacity than you expect to use. Even if all locker bays aren’t utilized immediately after your locker implementation, having a few extra slots allows flexibility should your program grow or change. 

What is the Total Cost of Ownership?

Calculating the total cost of both hardware and software, beyond initial purchase is key. In the long run, future-proof lockers will save your organization money in several ways. With improved efficiency throughout your organization, your investment will quickly pay for itself as it saves your staff time and headaches. To get an accurate picture of your organization’s lost productivity for manual device management, you’ll want to account for lost time of staff who are managing devices as well as downtime for device users.

Purchasing durable, future-proof lockers means you won’t need to replace them as frequently, because they’re able to flex with you as technology changes and as your organization grows. The ability to switch from public charging and to break/fix or check-in/out workflows ensures that lockers flex to ever-changing environments. 

Regular software and firmware updates ensure lockers will remain useful as device workflow changes. Be sure to note whether software is included or if there is a subscription or renewal fee. 

Warranty, hardware longevity and customer service matter, too. Some locker manufacturers only offer a handful of years of warranty protection, even for higher smart locker price levels.

Smart lockers with high usage may need repairs at some point. To understand the total lifetime cost of the solution, it is important to consider the cost of replacement parts if not covered under warranty, as well as cost of labor to make needed repairs. Selecting a locker that is easily serviceable in the field can be invaluable to a busy team. 

How to Lower Your Smart Locker Costs

Technology innovations are providing new ways for organizations to save money by giving time back to successful executives, managers, employees, students and teachers. Instead of concluding that smart locker prices are too high, consider how a smart locker can lower your total mobile device program costs and headaches over time.

Start by calculating productivity loss of your manual broken device exchanges or your manual check in/out program so you can quantify your challenges.

How do you know which smart locker price range is right for you for managing mobile devices? The mid-range price level is a good place to start your research. These lockers will have important features you need and the flexibility to grow with you in the future.

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You can also talk to an expert here at LocknCharge to have all of your questions answered. Happy locker hunting!

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The Best Prewired Charging Carts and Stations for Your School

If you currently have or are planning to create a mobile device strategy for your organization, you may already know that charging carts or stations are an essential piece of the puzzle. But did you know that prewired carts can help make deployment even easier?

Prewired carts and stations are out-of-the-box solutions that can save you both time and money. Many LocknCharge carts have a prewired option, plus other unique features. These charging solutions can make your summer deployments faster and easier, so you can get more done over the break and be ready to go when students return.

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Benefits of Prewired Carts and Stations

Time Savings

IT labor shortages are increasing around the world as demand rises for more advanced skills. Lack of staffing means many organizations must find ways that the employees they already have can be more efficient. It takes about 30 minutes to wire a 30-capacity cart. LocknCharge prewired carts and stations come ready to use with USB-C cables already installed, organized and securely fastened.

With prewired carts and stations, IT techs don’t have to spend their summer cabling. Rather, they can focus on larger, strategic projects. They’re also a great option to meet a tight deadline or to help take care of large-scale rollouts quickly and efficiently.

“We were able to install our prewired station in a middle school in a day and hardly spend any time getting them ready.”

– Charri Stratton, Putnam City Schools

Convenience 

With prewired carts and stations, students and employees won’t need to use their own device cord in order to charge. They can simply plug their device into the prewired cable and remove the device when it’s done charging, without having to install and uninstall any cables. For schools that send devices home with students, this leaves their own device cable available to take home with them as needed, helping to reduce instances of forgotten or lost chargers.

Cost Savings

Prewired carts are an economical option. OEM (original equipment manufacturer) USB-C cables can cost $50 or more per cable. The cable hardware that comes with prewired carts is a great value-add – plus, you’re saving time for your IT team. And time is money. When you add in the benefits of charging stations overall – like better security to help reduce the costs of lost and stolen devices, minimized device downtime and more efficiency in check-in/check-out – you really start to see why prewired carts are a good technology investment.

The Best Prewired Carts for Schools

The best charging stations for your school depend on your unique needs. But there are some things you’ll want to look for that don’t change: LocknCharge offers unique solutions that come with future-proof features, lifetime warranties and excellent customer service and support. Here are our best prewired carts and charging stations for schools.

USB-C Prewired Carts

Carts are an excellent choice if you need more mobility in your deployment strategy, for example, moving devices from room to room. LocknCharge carts are also incredibly versatile with shelves, baskets and more for all your devices and learning tools.

Carrier Charging Carts by LocknCharge

Carrier Carts allow you to securely store, charge and transport up to 20, 30 or 40 mobile devices. The top surface of this top-loading cart doubles as a workspace, and the open-concept design makes it easy to customize to your needs long-term as devices evolve. Carrier Carts include Baskets by LocknCharge to easily hand out and pack up devices.

Joey Charging Carts by LocknCharge

Joey Carts are an affordable, top-loading charging cart that accommodates up to 30 or 40 devices. They’re lightweight, yet secure, and the interchangeable baskets and racks allow for greater flexibility. They also include Baskets by LocknCharge.

EPIC Charging Carts by LocknCharge

EPIC Carts are another affordable option that accommodate up to 24 or 36 devices. The space-saving design is ideal for smaller areas, and the front-loading shelves allow easy access for students.

USB-C Prewired Charging Stations

Charging stations work well for nearly any type of device strategy, providing a central area where students can securely charge devices. LocknCharge charging stations also offer many other features that help make your students’ and teachers’ lives easier.

Carrier Charging Stations by LocknCharge

Carrier 10 & 15 Charging Stations allow you to charge, store, secure and carry up to 10 or 15 devices. Since the cabinet is stationary, our device baskets make deployment easy, while allowing you to adapt to future needs. The small footprint means they fit just about anywhere or can be mounted on a wall.

Putnam 18 Charging Station by LocknCharge

Putnam 18 Charging Stations are designed to securely store and charge up to 18 Chromebooks, small laptops or tablets up to 13 inches. The tall, slim design is also stackable, with a pedestal that allows you to charge 36 devices with one outlet plug.

Revolution 32 Charging Cabinet by LocknCharge

Revolution 32 is a tall, slim option that takes up half the footprint of a traditional prewired cart. With sliding power strips and a versatile design, it can store up to 32 of almost any laptop or tablet device.

Putnam Charging Staitons by LocknCharge

Putnam 8 or 16 is designed to charge, store and secure 8 or 16 iPads. This prewired cart comes installed ​with lightning cables that are the just the right length to reach each device. They’re also compact, stackable and wall-mountable.

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Best Mobile Device Charging Stations for Schools

The past few years have tested many school districts like never before, but within what sometimes seemed like chaos, opportunities emerged. Both remote learning programs and mobile device programs skyrocketed, and along with them, the need for secure, reliable mobile device charging stations.

Schools quickly learned that there are many options for deploying mobile devices—and that each model comes with its own set of device management challenges. Choosing what makes the most sense for your district can be hard. 

Do you want to give every student a digital device to take home? Provide students with devices that stay in each classroom? Distribute mobile devices to students through a shared cart approach? Or let students bring their own devices from home? 

The way you store, charge and manage devices will depend on the model you choose for deploying mobile devices to students. Read on to learn the pros and cons of the best mobile device charging stations for schools.

1:1 Programs - Devices Stay in the Classroom

Benefits: This model creates consistency and uniformity, making it easier for IT staff to support the devices. Because everyone is using the same type of device with the same platform, teachers know that whatever apps they use will work on students’ devices. And since the devices remain at school, teachers don’t have to worry about students leaving their devices at home or forgetting to charge them. It’s also the smartest investment for schools on a tight budget.

Challenges: When students leave devices at school, they’re not able to use them for homework. This type of program also doesn't allow for distance learning, should schools ever close again in the future.

Best Mobile Device Charging Stations

Because devices don’t need to be moved from one classroom to another in a full 1:1 environment, a wall charging station is a fitting option. These units take up less space and typically cost less than a cart, leaving more money to spend on other tech tools.

When you’re distributing devices to students at the start of class each day, time is at a premium. The best charging stations for schools make this process much easier and more efficient, which saves valuable class time for instruction. That’s why we created the unique basket design of our Carrier 10 and 15 and iQ 10 charging stations.

Another option is the Putnam 8 or 16. While these aren’t basket-compatible, they are perfect for 1:1 “stay at school” programs that use tablets. As an added bonus, the station’s external LED display makes it easy to know if all devices have been put away at the end of the day, and they come pre-wired with MFI-approved lightning cables, making setup a breeze.

1:1 Programs - Students Take Devices Home

Benefits: Letting students take school-owned devices home creates a “classroom without walls,” enabling 24-7 learning. It also addresses the digital divide and the so-called “homework gap,” ensuring that all students have equitable access to learning opportunities and their teachers.

Challenges: Besides the obvious funding hurdles, take-home 1:1 programs come with an increased risk of devices being damaged, lost or stolen. It can be harder for schools to manage the devices, as students might be downloading apps or using devices in unintended ways. What’s more, students might forget to charge their device or forget to bring their device altogether. Another challenge that often comes up is how to store and charge devices over the summer when all of the devices are returned to school.

Best Mobile Device Charging Stations

An excellent solution is the FUYL Tower, which includes 5 or 15 individually-lockable compartments that can store and charge any mobile device. Many schools are placing FUYL Towers in common spaces or media centers so that students can securely charge their devices between classes, during classes that don’t require the use of a mobile device or during lunch. The individually lockable compartments work like a hotel safe, creating less work for educators because students can manage their devices at school without any assistance.

Some schools are also using FUYL Towers for device “loaner” programs or break/fix programs. In these scenarios, they’re fully stocking a Tower with extra devices so that if a device is broken, or if a student forgets to bring his device from home, the student can be given a PIN to retrieve a loaner device without IT staff having to intervene. They have also been extremely useful in distributing devices to students or teachers during distance learning.

Another option is to install secure charging stations for schools to help make sure a dead battery doesn’t disrupt learning. The Carrier Charging Station or iQ Charging Station can be easily mounted to a wall in a library or classroom, and both take up only minimal space.

Shared Device Environments

Benefits: Having classrooms share devices allows schools to keep costs down and extend their resources further. A shared-use environment can be much less expensive than a full 1:1 program, and with fewer devices to support, IT staff aren’t as stretched thin. Shared carts are also great for specialized or expensive equipment, like the devices used for STEM or gaming programs.

Challenges: Teachers have to schedule their use of carts and mobile device charging stations, and students won’t have daily access to the devices for learning. These factors may discourage teachers from using technology for instruction. In addition, the apps that students use for learning will vary from one classroom to the next, so teachers will need an easy way to set up and customize shared devices for their students.

Best Mobile Device Charging Stations

Our Carrier Charging Carts and Joey Charging Carts easily travel from classroom to classroom, and they include our innovative device distribution baskets. These baskets, along with the top-loading design of the carts, cut the time it takes to distribute and collect devices in half. What’s more, teachers can use the baskets themselves to transport devices between classrooms safely and efficiently, or they can enlist the help of students.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Programs

Benefits: BYOD programs are the least expensive way to use technology for teaching and learning because schools can leverage the devices students already own. What’s more, students are already comfortable with their own device, so there’s no learning curve associated with the technology.

Challenges: Teaching in a mixed-device environment can be difficult. Teachers have to make sure the learning materials they use are accessible across a wide range of platforms. There is more potential for distraction because devices contain personal apps, and variations in the age, speed, and processing power of devices—or a lack of resources to purchase their own device at all—could lead to inequities in how students learn.

Best Mobile Device Charging Stations

Even though students are bringing their own devices from home, you’ll still need secure charging stations for schools. A solution that can store and charge a wide variety of device types—such as the FUYL Tower Smart Locker, which contains 5 or 15 individually-lockable compartments—is ideal.

Students will find any outlet they can to charge their devices during the school day, often leaving them unattended. FUYL Towers significantly cut back on missing or stolen devices because students don’t have to leave their device out in the open while charging. FUYL Towers are also extremely flexible. They have two modes, which allows you to facilitate a break/fix program or loaner device program as well as public charging.

While the best mobile device charging stations, charging carts and smart lockers for your school or district depends on the type of program you implement, LocknCharge has a variety of solutions to fit all needs. Contact us today and we’ll work with you to find your perfect charging solution.

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Smart Locker 101

What is a Smart Locker?

A smart locker combines locker hardware with a powerful cloud-based software platform, together allowing organizations to control who can access the locker and at what time. A smart locker can automate the exchange of physical assets without the need for human interaction. Software allows administrators to remotely control access to individual locker bays and track all events happening at the physical smart locker.

What Types of Smart Lockers Are Out There?

There are a variety of smart lockers on the market that vary in size, shape, capacity and purpose. They are powered by software that differs in sophistication, depending on the use case.

The main types of smart lockers are: 

  • Smart charging lockers
  • Day-use lockers 
  • Vending lockers 
  • Food service pick-up lockers 
  • Parcel lockers 
  • Asset distribution and tracking lockers

What is a Smart Charging Locker Used For?

A smart charging locker is used primarily to automate distribution and/or collection of mobile devices such as phones, laptops, Chromebooks, tablets or iPads. Charging ports inside individually-lockable bays ensure devices are always charged and ready to go.

Organizations implement smart charging lockers for several reasons: to streamline broken device exchanges, to simplify daily device checkouts or to offer secure public charging on demand. Smart charging lockers ensure devices are always accessible, charged and ready for employees, students or customers who need devices to work or learn.

How Do Smart Lockers Work?

Smart lockers work by connecting hardware and cloud-based software to provide convenient access to assets inside the locker without meeting in person.

Here's how a smart locker works for broken or lost device exchanges:

  1. Smart locker is stocked with loaner devices
  2. User breaks or loses their device
  3. User contacts appropriate party (typically the IT team) and waits for response
  4. IT checks locker stock remotely; contacts user with instructions to access the locker
  5. User goes to locker any time, opens specific door with admin-assigned PIN or RFID
  6. User takes loaner, leaves broken device; Cloud records transaction
  7. If device needs to be swapped once fixed, IT contacts user
  8. User collects fixed device any time at same location
  9. Cloud records transaction so the Admin can see activity happening at the locker

Here's how a smart locker works for check in/out or shared device programs:

  1. IT team sets up users in the cloud portal and assigns users access to groups of lockers, individual lockers or even specific bays
  2. User selects assigned locker bay, opens door with assigned RFID/PIN
  3. User takes charged loaner device
  4. When finished, user returns device to same bay; if device is shared with another user, it's ready for next person
  5. Admin can see device has been returned via Cloud or via other ticketing system integration

Here's how a smart locker works for secure public charging on demand:

  1. User identifies an empty smart locker bay and enters bay number on the locker keypad
  2. User swipes RFID badge or creates a PIN to open selected door
  3. User places device inside bay and plugs in device
  4. User closes the door to lock it
  5. Device is securely charging
  6. User repeats process when ready to retrieve device
  7. Locker usage is recorded in the Cloud

 

What Industries Use Smart Lockers? 

Smart lockers are used by industries who need to remotely control access to physical assets like mobile devices while keeping devices charged, secured and ready to go. Some of the top verticals are: 

  • Education
  • Manufacturing 
  • Energy 
  • Airlines 
  • Transportation
  • Hospitality & Entertainment

Who Can Access a Smart Locker?

Smart lockers can be used in different modes to streamline user access:

Assigned Access

For assigned access, remote admins set up users in the cloud portal and designate who they want to access a specific locker or bay at any given time. Once the bay has been opened, the remote admin can view who accessed the bay via the cloud software portal.

Periodical (Daily/Weekly) Use

Employees such as shift workers, field crews or substitute teachers can easily access specific Towers or bays to check out assets needed on a regular (daily, weekly, etc.) basis.

One-Time Use

A smart locker can be used to swap assets, like mobile devices, through an automated process on an as-needed basis. This may include triaging broken, lost or stolen device issues that need to be addressed quickly.

Unassigned, On-Demand Access

For public, on-demand access, a smart locker is a secure and convenient place to store personal belongings such as mobile devices.

The user simply identifies an available bay and tucks their items inside. They can reserve the bay by following prompts on the locker display to create a user-defined PIN or by presenting an RFID card.

Once they close the door, their items are secure and charging until they retrieve their items using the same PIN or RFID.

Public usage is tracked in the cloud for remote admins to monitor as needed.

What Problems Does a Smart Locker Solve?  

Organizations install smart charging lockers to combat the following problems: 

  1. Wasted time of skilled staff doing entry-level tasks such as delivering, tracking and managing broken or lost devices. 
  2. Inability to work or learn while device users wait for a loaner device or wait to check out a device.
  3. Unorganized processes and delayed work caused by devices that are not readily accessible nor ready for use. 
  4. Lack of accountability for devices that are mistreated during use or are not properly returned after use. 
  5. Increased theft and data breaches for devices that are not physically secured after use.

Why Should You Use a Smart Locker?

A smart locker can be used to save an organization significant time and money by automating cumbersome tasks that would normally require scheduled meetings between multiple people.

Why would an employee, teacher or student use a smart locker?

Smart charging lockers can minimize device downtime by ensuring convenient, around-the-clock access to mission-critical tech. 

Broken, lost or stolen devices can bring about serious working and learning disruptions, causing employees or students to fall behind.

Employees (such as shift workers, field crews or substitute teachers) who need access to a charged, ready-to-go device rely on an efficient check-out process to start their day.

Why would a department manager or tech professional use a smart locker?

A smart charging locker can automate the delivery and tracking of assets. Rather than being interrupted by broken, forgotten or lost mobile devices–managers or teachers can stay focused on more important work.

The cloud software that powers the locker can track locker usage for "who, what and when", adding a layer of accountability to ensure devices are cared for during use and returned after use. Accountability reduces breakage and device loss.

Smart lockers can mitigate theft of loss of devices, protecting organizations from costly data breaches.

With the influx of mobile devices in schools and businesses, tech teams are becoming overwhelmed with daily device management. It can be difficult to find adequate talent to fill necessary IT roles. Smart lockers can help bridge the IT labor market shortage by eliminating lower-level tasks that would otherwise be laborious to complete. 

How Much Do Smart Lockers Cost?

Smart locker costs start as low as $1,000 and go as high as $20,000+. The cost depends on many factors including available hardware features, features of the cloud software, and possible customization of hardware or software.

Organizations looking to facilitate broken device exchanges, manage loaner or daily device checkout programs or offer public charging on-demand often select a smart locker in the mid-range. These lockers typically offer a wide breadth of useful hardware and software features, open API to integrate with other external systems and provide regular cloud upgrades/updates.

When budgeting for a smart locker, consider the costs of your current process:

  • Lost time or wages of staff managing the program
  • Missed opportunities caused by device downtime

When comparing costs, narrow in on:

  • Features you really need
  • Longevity and long-term flexibility of the solution
  • Total cost of ownership
  • Quality and responsiveness of customer support

What Important Features Should You Consider When Evaluating a Smart Locker?

When evaluating a smart locker solution, here are some key features to consider.

Agile, In-House Software Development Team 

Internal resources dedicated to consistent Cloud feature releases and enhancements ensure smart locker software will pivot to meet your tech program needs well into the future. 

Security Features 

The cloud-based software should include features like Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) and Single Sign-On to protect your organization’s data. Quality locker construction will keep devices physically safe while stored inside a locker. 

Administrative Access 

It is important that smart locker administrators can remotely control locker access (who, what, when) via a cloud-based portal. It is also important that lockers can be accessed locally via the locker display, so on-site staff can manage day-to-day usage as needed. 

Wi-Fi Compatible 

Choosing a smart locker that can work over Wi-Fi gives your organization flexibility to install the locker in the best possible location without investing in costly cabling infrastructure. 

External System Integrations 

Managing locker users and workflow with tools–such as external directory integrations, help desk software integrations, open API with no call limits, and web hooks–makes process automation endless.

Why Choose a LocknCharge Smart Locker?

Organizations choose LocknCharge as their smart charging lover for a variety of reasons.

LocknCharge’s FUYL Tower™ Smart locker is designed to solve pain points that organizations experience using and managing mobile device technology in day-to-day operations.

FUYL Tower can save valuable resources and time for staff and students. They maximize productivity by ensuring devices are accessible and ready-to-go when needed – and that they're secure when not in use.

Organizations looking to facilitate broken device exchanges, manage loaner or daily device checkout programs or offer public charging on-demand select LocknCharge for the wide breadth of critical hardware and software features, open API able to integrate with other external systems, consistent customer-centric cloud enhancements, superior product quality and exceptional customer support.

We are dedicated to making life easier for our customers.

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Everything You Need to Know About Smart Charging Lockers
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Calculate Your Lost Productivity for Manual Broken Device Exchanges

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Many organizations now provide one laptop, tablet, Chromebook or phone device for each employee, student, teacher and others.

Due to the sheer volume of devices now in circulation, highly-successful executives and managers who are responsible for managing these tech programs tell us they are frustrated by the following:

  • Specialized IT staff are wasting valuable time on entry-level tasks such as delivering, tracking and managing broken or lost devices.
  • Device users are unable to work/learn while they wait for a replacement device, putting them behind.
  • Organizations are unable to acquire adequate talent to keep up with increased workload.

If any of these pain points sound familiar, the first step toward finding a solution is to quantify the problem at hand.

Calculate Lost Resources and Productivity for Manual Broken Device Exchanges

Productivity Loss
5.8
Hours spent every week
$758
Cost of employee time every week
93
Device downtime hours every week
Recover Lost Productivity
Engage with a LocknCharge expert to uncover how you can maximize efficiency with FUYL Tower Smart Lockers.

Calculate Lost Productivity for Check In/Out Device Programs

Many organizations also experience frustrations with managing devices that are checked out on both a short-term or long-term basis. Click the link below to calculate the productivity loss of your check in/out program.

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