Fuel oil and propane businesses are automating their mobile operations by adding tablets to their service and delivery trucks. Adding tablets means eliminating stacks of paper, increasing efficiency, and streamlining processes between the back-office team and service/delivery team. Part of the transition into automated mobile operations involves selecting the tablets that your team will use to take out into the field and to access your back-office, service, and delivery software, such as Ignite.

A common question we’re asked during the tablet selection phase is “Can’t I just buy consumer grade tablets?”  The answer is yes you can, BUT you will end up spending more in the long run on your mobile operations if you do.  It really comes down to Total Cost of Ownership.

  • Rugged tablets are designed to survive the workday and have been tested and proven to be more durable than consumer grade devices. They are resistant to outdoor conditions and hazards which can be part of your technicians and drivers day:

  • You will likely need to replace a consumer grade device multiple times. There are many costs associated with replacing the device when they break.
    • It costs money to buy a new device
    • There can be hours of IT costs associated with setting up new devices
    • The driver / technician will not be able to work until they get a new tablet
    • There are costs associated with managing returns and repairs
    • Lost time and opportunity to focus on new business opportunities
    • There may be retraining time needed
  • Rugged tablets come equipped. Consumer grade tablets can require adding applications before you can use them.
  • Rugged cases do not offer the same durability protection as a rugged tablet. Rugged cases are also an additional cost.  They also add weight and may prevent use with some docks and mounts.
  • Rugged tablets are designed to expand or evolve with your business
    • Usually more powerful than a consumer grade tablet.
    • You can easily add peripherals such as a bar code scanner or keyboard.
  • Independent studies have shown that rugged tablets have a Total Cost of Ownership which is more than 50% less than consumer grade tablets.


*At Blue Cow Software, we want your fuel oil, propane, or HVAC business to have the best experience going mobile. As a reminder, be sure to check with your back-office, service, and delivery software provider to make sure the tablet you choose to purchase is compatible with your software system.