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Case Study


Wholesale and Retail Nursery Goes from PaperIntensive to Paperless Inventory Control

Posted September 19, 2016

Janam XP20 Handheld ComputersSituated on 20 acres of land, Tri City Nursery delivers high-quality large caliper trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals to retailers, contractors and wholesalers across Utah, Colorado, Idaho and Wyoming. Tri City’s previous inventory process required 8-10 people hand-counting trees, bushes and shrubs which range in size from five- to 25-gallon pots. Inventory counts were noted on paper and later entered into the computer system manually. To improve productivity and efficiency, Tri City Nursery moved away from pads and paper and implemented a mobile computing inventory solution to keep a current count of every item on their lot.

Working with Automated Office Systems, Tri City Nursery chose Janam XP20s running Counterpoint software from Radiant Systems with a Magic software interface that easily runs on the Palm OS. The software handles Tri City’s inventory management and retail operations. The Palm OS-based Janam XP20 was chosen because of its barcode scanning capabilities, compact form factor and durability in tougher climates.

Today, Tri City’s inventory control process is fully automated and expeditious. To keep an accurate count of every item on the farm, each tree, shrub, bush, perennial and annual is tagged with a barcode. This contains all relevant information, including price, description and location. Using the XP20’s stylus, the employee taps the screen to choose a section of the lot and begins to scan the tagged items in that area for an accurate count. At day’s end, the Janam XP20 is returned to the cradle, and data is synchronized to the company’s inventory control system.

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Printer “POSse” in Montana Saves the Day

Posted September 8, 2016

Posiflex KS-6715 Point of Sale TerminalsBackground

Set in the background of picturesque Montana lies a busy collection of restaurants known as the Montana Club. Known for their outstanding service and quality of food, the Montana Club prides itself in having a top-notch operation. One of the key issues the Montana Club faced was having food and drinks spill onto their critical POS hardware, causing potential failure of the station, which in turn, disrupts the entire operation.

A Solution to a Messy Problem

When Marcus Stenslie, President of Softbridge Technologies, heard about the spill-resistant, environmentally-hardened features of the Posiflex PP9000 printer, he knew the perfect place to install them. Stenslie has done numerous service calls because the wait staff accidently spills food and liquids in the printer, which has included rice kernels, soy sauce, sugary drinks like daiquiris drying into a sticky mess, and pieces glass from liquor bottles falling off the shelf and exploding on the counter. Stenslie, in busy locations like the Montana Club, recommends thermal over impact printers because of faster speed and greater reliability. “I chose the thermal Posiflex PP9000 printer because it is designed to be impervious to liquids and food spillage and it has a four year warranty, almost twice that of many competitive printers.”

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TSC Alpha-3R Printer Helps DRIM Quickly and Efficiently Change Price Labels

Posted August 31, 2016

TSC Alpha-3R POS PrinterDRIM is a family-run company located in Catalonia, Spain specializing in children’s playthings offering a wide range of toys and childcare products as well as hobby items. DRIM recently undertook a huge expansion by making a strategic investment in a 16,000 qm logistics center so they could quickly and effectively deliver to their 75 retail stores. To further increase efficiency, DRIM also needed a system to label its products on a daily basis and facilitate price changes for special offers or during the very critical Christmas season.

“Most of our storefront employees are women, so a lightweight and easy-to-use printer was needed. After testing multiple printers, we finally chose the Alpha-3R “, confides Raul Lleberia, IT Manager at DRIM.
DRIM developed its own software to manage the price labeling application, with all labels being printed directly at the point-of-sale. DRIM uses two label sizes – a standard label to identify everyday prices and a larger, round and two-color label to identify special offers. This allows customers to see the everyday price, then the special offer with the more visible label.

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Zebra’s FX7500 and AN480 Help Danish Hospital Improve Quality of Care

Posted April 20, 2016

Zebra FX7500 RFID ReadersZebra has announced that Det Nye Universitetshospital has selected its RFID technology for a pilot conducted at Åarhus University Hospital (AUH). The solution is designed to improve operational visibility, staff productivity and quality of patient care. It includes Zebra FX7500 fixed RFID and AN480 RFID antennas which are used to track equipment, medication and staff throughout the hospital.

Constructed to extend the existing Åarhus hospital, the new AUH is one of several ‘super’ hospitals being built in Denmark. When the construction is complete, AUH will be the largest hospital in Northern Europe with 9,500 employees and 4,000 patient visits daily. The RFID system tracks 20 different RFID tagged assets – from hospital personnel with staff name tags embedded with RFID to wheelchairs, beds and medical equipment to labels used on patient specimen samples. Staff can now quickly track and locate these assets through a map on their mobile devices to optimize workflows, increase accuracy and improve patient care.

The RFID solution provides AUH with a real-time, accurate and fail-safe view of its resources from staff to equipment. Staff will spend less time looking for equipment, nurses and doctors are more easily located and moved to where they are needed, and patient samples are tracked in real time to avoid errors.

“We now have a reliable, high-performance system in place, which allows our staff to locate our resources quickly and accurately. The feedback from our staff has been very positive, and we’re looking forward to exploring many more uses of the RFID system.” – Lars G. Knudsen, chief information officer, Det Nye Universitetshospital


Plant Access Grows Its Competitive Edge: Industry-First RFID Case Study

Posted March 14, 2016

Plant AccessIntermec IF2 RFID Readers is a specialised logistics services provider, catering for the green life industry. Plant Access provides a highly efficient service utilising a unique, innovative steel stillage design used to pick, crossdock and deliver nursery plants to Bunnings Warehouse locations across Victoria and South Australia.

Weeding out manual processes

Plant Access manages the orders and provides the steel stillages that are used to transport plant products from over 67 nursery supplier sites to Bunnings stores across Victoria and South Australia. Shipments from different suppliers are consolidated at the Plant Access cross dock facility before orders are transported to Bunnings locations and plants are sold to consumers direct out of the steel stillages.

At any one time, Plant Access has thousands of re-usable steel stillages spread across hundreds of sites throughout the supply chain. Knowing the location of all these stillages and the status of an order was a serious challenge for Plant Access under a legacy paper-based manual ordering system.

A new automated tracking system was necessary to capture real-time data from nursery supplier sites, the Plant Access cross dock logistics facility and the Bunnings stores, in order for Plant Access to have an accurate and instant visibility of their stillage assets and the products they were transporting.

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Datalogic PowerScan PM8300 Improves Tracking Processes for King Living

Posted October 27, 2015

Datalogic PowerScan PM8300 Barcode ScannersDavid and Gwen King began designing foam furniture from their home in Australia in 1977, selling the few items they created at the local Paddy’s Market.  Customers really liked the furniture, and year after year this small family business grew and expanded introducing new designs, materials and models.  Today, King Living is a major player in the Australian furniture industry with 14 showrooms and 5 depots across the country.  The company has been recognized with several awards and has been featured at famous events such as Vanity Fair’s Oscars After Party.  King Living attributes its success to the company’s commitment to uniqueness and excellence.  The company always guarantees high quality products with a touch of style.

The Challenge
In order to keep up with demand and ensure customer satisfaction, King Living must have smooth running processes in all aspects of the business, especially regarding product management and tracking.  Therefore, the company wanted to streamline the work flow and started looking for a solution that could provide real-time information on stock levels and locations throughout the warehouse.  It was also essential that the solution be implemented with the least amount of disruption to day-to-day business activities.

The Solution
Datalogic’s partner, BCDS Solutions, an industry leader and specialist in barcode and RFID solutions, suggested using the PowerScan PM8300 rugged industrial scanner from Datalogic with a materials tracking system.  The PowerScan scanner is the smallest and fastest device on the market for this type of application, offering outstanding performance and unyielding reliability.  Its narrow band radio communications with Datalogic’s STAR Cordless System provides the key to increased productivity and flexibility in the workplace.  BCDS took this optimum solution and integrated it to suit the specific needs of King Living.  The company provided a commissioning service so the scanners were ready to use out of the box, along with simplified user instructions.  Once integration was complete, the PowerScan PM8300 scanner went to work.

The PowerScan PM8300 scanners have become invaluable throughout the facility for tracking, identification, and picking purposes.  The device reads the bar code on an item and enters the information into an in-house developed program that manages and tracks it from the production line through the warehouse and on to the customer.  The system shows the last scan of the item so staff can tell customers exactly where it was located.  Using a special label specifically designed for picking, the company makes an instant count of all its items available in real time.  Stock levels, item whereabouts, accountability, product history, and KPI figures are calculated using the PowerScan PM8300 scanners.

Results
Since deploying the PowerScan PM8300 devices with the tracking system, missing items have been reduced from approximately 12 items per day to an average of 2 per day.  The resulting missing items can be attributed mostly to human error.  Picking time for delivery order runs has dropped from 3 hours per truck to 1 hour, 45 minutes.  Other advantages have also been noted with the staff experiencing less stress due to diminished missing items.  The PowerScan PM8300 industrial scanner and tracking system have won the praises of management; managers cannot imagine going back to a system without it.  The system works so well that King Living requires all its partners to use it as well.


Case Study: Use Authentic Parts to Safeguard Customers

Posted September 8, 2015

CipherLab 9700 Series Handheld ComputersAre you aware that some aftermarket parts are installed at service centers? These inferior parts may put customers at risk and also jeopardize corporate reputation.

One of the most prestigious automotive companies for heavy-duty vehicles in China runs more than 900 service centers all over the nation. A large variety of replacing parts are required. The service centers fix customers’ vehicles at the front line, while the company manages the parts providers for these service centers. All contract suppliers have been proven that their components comply with standards and regulations to ensure customers’ safety. However, 90 % of service centers are franchised and the operators rely on paper-based process to collect data. It is very difficult for the company to have a snapshot on the inventory levels in a timely manner.

Without automated data management, identifying and collecting a large number of specific parts are very time consuming and ineffective. To begin with, the central office receives all kinds of material requests from respective service centers. When the package arrives at the receiving dock, an operator identifies the package and transfers it to the storage location. A warehouse operator takes delivery and confirms the right parts and quantities before they reach the storage shelves. It takes a long time to do and inevitable labor cost is increased. In addition, the retrieved parts cannot be traced and cross checked before the service is accomplished. During the process, missing data is likely to occur. At the end, discrepancy among receiving, sales and inventory is often seen. What is worse, the lag of data consolidation gives unethical franchised service centers some chances to take aftermarket parts for their own interest.

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Friendly’s Express Improves Order Accuracy with Epson’s TM-T88 ReStick

Posted June 1, 2015

Epson TM-T88 ReStick POS PrinterFriendly’s Express is a fast-casual concept of Friendly Ice Cream Corporation, a full service family dining chain of more than 500 restaurants. Based in Wilbraham, MA, the corporation has sales of over $700 million and has strong brand recognition throughout the northeastern U.S.

Friendly‘s expands into fast-casual service

The first Friendly’s Express fast-casual restaurant opened its doors in Mansfield, Mass. “With our Friendly’s Express locations we have introduced our loyal customers to a fast, new way to order their favorite items,” commented Richard Delvalle, Director of Restaurant Systems for Friendly’s. “Their orders are prepared in a matter of minutes which is ideal for customers on the go who do not have time to eat in one of our full-service restaurants.”

New technology for fast, accurate service

To help insure that the Friendly’s Express concept would be successful, Friendly’s needed to deploy new technologies that would make food ordering, preparation and the labeling process accurate, quick and easy. Friendly’s chose to work with NETS Products Group, an Epson Envision partner, to develop a solution to meet their needs. NETS recommended Epson’s TM-T88 ReStick label solution using MAXStick liner-free labels with Friendly’s POS system. “By installing an intelligent label interface into the Epson ReStick TM-T88 printer, we were able to easily configure the point-of-sale (POS) system to print individual item labels,” said Tom Niedzwiecki, Executive Vice President of systems integrator NETS Products Group.

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TSC Alpha-3R Mobile Printer Helps NGOs Deliver Aid to Thousands in Nigeria

Posted May 29, 2015

TSC Alpha-3R Portable Label PrinterRed Rose, a 30-year-old UK-based company, has turned to TSC and its Alpha-3R mobile printer to assist in its humanitarian mission to help some of the world’s largest non-governmental organizations (NGOs) deliver cash and other forms of aid to thousands of suffering families in Nigeria.

The nucleus of Red Rose’s logistics effort is an e-money solution, called ONEsystem, an encrypted web-based platform that enables NGOs to distribute cash and other forms of aid to beneficiaries via vouchers, smart cards, and SMS mobile money.

How ONEsystem works

After a beneficiary is registered and a “beneficiary profile” created, he or she receives a smart card or wristband that makes it easy to access cash and purchase food and other necessities electronically.

Local vendors are equipped with handheld terminals to input orders, and the recipient swipes his smart card over the terminal to complete the purchase. TSC’s Alpha-3R thermal printer then prints two multi-language receipts – one for the vendor and another for the beneficiary. ONEsystem is fully customizable, easy to install and can be quickly integrated into new and existing emergency-response programs, regardless of the scope of the program or crisis.

Performance of the Alpha-3R

Red Rose has ordered 50 Alpha-3R units so far, and the printer continues to perform extremely well, despite Nigeria’s harsh environmental conditions. The mobile printer is easy to operate, even for non-trained users. It is durable, lightweight and equipped with Bluetooth technology, which supports direct network-independent printing.

Equipped with high-capacity 7.4V/2500 mAh rechargeable Lithium Ion battery, a fully charged Alpha-3R can operate two days in harsh conditions. The printer also features a tough IP54-rated environmental case that is built to resist dust and moisture.


Retif Improves Order Delivery Times and Accuracy with Upgraded Multi-Modal Picking Technology

Posted May 20, 2015

Motorola WT41N0 Handheld Computers

The Challenge

Industry leader RETIF already knew the value of utilizing voice in its picking application — the wearable voice-picking solution that had been in place since 2006 had provided a 10 percent increase in the productivity of the warehouse picking workforce as well as a significant reduction in errors. The original solution had already been replaced in 2010. In 2014, the devices were ready for replacement again. As RETIF began the process of selecting a new device, several issues led to the identification of new device criteria. The TekSpeech Pro multi-modal picking solution and the WT41N0 wearable mobile computers from Zebra Technologies were chosen as the next generation solution, since VoCollect could not satisfy the new criteria.

Training

The current speaker-dependent hardware required every user to spend a minimum of 30 minutes training the device to recognize his or her voice. In order to accommodate accents, voice speed and more, users needed to repeat a list of 50+ words multiple times. The company wanted to switch to a speaker-independent solution that would eliminate the need for users to train the software for their specific voice — but Vocollect did not offer a speaker-independent option.

Lack of multi-modal input

While pure voice input had served the company well, RETIF realized that adding a display would help further streamline the picking process for a multitude of reasons.

  • Some users weren’t comfortable with voice only. The ability to read the information on screen would not only provide the versatility to meet the needs and preferences of the entire picking workforce, it would also help users become more comfortable with voice commands more quickly, reducing errors as well as the learning curve.
  • Exception processing procedures were challenging. Users were forced to remember which sequence of words were required to delete or change an item. A touchscreen would give users the flexibility to complete exceptions with a few taps on the screen or the press of a few keys on the soft keyboard.

In addition, while the existing voice-only devices did a great job, they could only be utilized for one thing — voice picking. The company was interested in a multi-function device that could improve other warehouse processes. For example, bar code scanning would allow users to process incoming and outgoing shipments faster and more accurately. In addition, additional functionality would improve device utilization — and provide a faster return on investment. But the mobile devices available from the current provider didn’t offer this flexibility.

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