Tough enough for the factory floor
ThinkPad X1 Carbon: The Take Everywhere, Do Everything, All-in-One, Convertible Dream
Quatro Composites needed a single mobile platform to standardise on:
- Making it easy for IT to manage and update laptops
- Meeting the needs of business users in the "office" – from the conference room to the lunch room to the factory floor
- Working on the go, in the air, on the road, in the hotel room
Sometimes, all in the course of a day.
Read this case study to learn why they chose Lenovo.
For many of today’s manufacturing businesses, the modern workplace has become mobile, with employees moving between offices or workstations, or even working from home. Employees can’t be tied down to desks or stations—and neither can their PCs. But simply having a mobile device isn’t enough for an effective mobile strategy. To get work done in the prospect’s office, in the field, or on the manufacturing floor, employees need a powerful, trustworthy and tough mobile device.
The problem is, not all laptops are created equal, as Jared Bowlsby, systems administrator, and other users have discovered. Bowlsby, one of Quatro’s three fulltime IT staff members, provides desktop, end-user and network support.
Iowa-based Quatro Composites, which manufactures and engineers products for the aerospace, industrial, and medical markets, has a lot of mobile workers—salespeople in the field and onsite workers who use laptops as they work in and move between Quatro’s two facilities in Orange City, Iowa and Poway, California.
“We have mobility challenges,” he says. “We’re in a production environment, so sometimes the wireless connection isn’t as good as it could be. And because we’re in a dusty production environment, there’s a lot of wear and tear on our machines.”
Over the years Quatro has tried different devices to meet its mobility needs: HPs, Dells, and Toshibas. All of them had occasional connectivity issues and frequent hardware problems, Bowlsby says.
Then, Quatro bought some Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbons. Constructed with satellite-grade carbon fiber, the Carbon is one of the toughest ThinkPads ever made, and at 2.6 lbs., it’s the lightest 14-inch business Ultrabook. At just 0.65 inch thin, it’s also extremely portable.
All of that wouldn’t matter if it didn’t have the portable power to drive productivity and didn’t stay connected to the network, Bowlsby says. Fortunately, it does both.
“Our X1s have always worked well on Wi-Fi,” he says. “We’ve never had issues with their connectivity. These have always been very solid working in different places, even where other laptops wouldn’t work.”
Thin form factor meets longer lifecycle
Quatro had used ThinkPad T430s and T530 before and was happy with them, Bowlsby says. “We found ThinkPads in general have such a long lifecycle that even when it’s time to retire them from production or an office, they’ll still work great.”
What attracted them to the X1 Carbon is that it has the same great hardware sets in a smaller form factor, making them truly portable. “They’re a little thinner, a little lighter, and that just makes a huge difference for people walking around on the manufacturing floor,” Bowlsby says.
Quatro’s X1 Carbons are primarily used to monitor processes and to run enterprise resource planning software. “We have people who just carry them around everywhere,” Bowlsby says. “People will bring them home and work remotely with them, or use them in a facility. We haven’t had an issue with the X1 Carbons being limited in any way. They’ve been able to do everything we’ve wanted them to do, both working onsite and working remotely.”
In fact, getting the X1 Carbons back can sometimes be problematic because users like them so much, Bowlsby says. One user refused to trade in her Carbon when it was time for a refresh; it was working great and she loved it, so why switch, she reasoned.
When Bowlsby and a co-worker travelled through an airport together, the co-worker got through security quicker because she was carrying an X1 Carbon. It took Bowlsby longer to get his Dell out and into the bin for inspection.
Fewer problems for users-and IT
With the Carbons, we’ve had less than half of the amount of problems we had with the other laptops we’ve used, Bowlsby says. With other laptops, there were not just connectivity and hardware failures, but also driver issues. “The Lenovos just work. Once you set it up to run, it just runs. We don’t get crashes with the Lenovos like we do the other ones.”
“Most of the problems we’ve had with the Carbon have been user problems. Comparatively, the X1 is just a better unit.”
Those fewer problems are leading to fewer calls for tech support, Bowlsby says. He’s been with Quatro for two and a half years and has only had to call Lenovo about a ThinkPad once or twice. “I’ve had to call Dell tech support a lot, and I’ve had to call Toshiba tech support a lot. And HP, we only have a couple of those floating around, but I’ve called their tech support, too, and I haven’t had to call the Lenovo tech support barely at all.”
“That’s a measurable time saving.”
The Carbon packs a lot of power and dependability into a small form factor, which is really a big plus for mobile users, Bowlsby says. “I highly recommend them. They’re solid machines. They’re solid builds. You will go past your warranty period with these machines still working. That’s what we’re finding.”
WE’VE NEVER HAD ISSUES WITH THEIR CONNECTIVITY. THESE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN VERY SOLID WORKING IN DIFFERENT PLACES, EVEN WHERE OTHER LAPTOPS WOULDN’T WORKJared Bowlsby, System Administrator