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Symbol Fills CVS Prescription for Wireless Communications

Posted May 13, 2010

Symbol Wireless Hand-Held ComputersCVS Corporation is the United States’ largest retail drug store chain. CVS attained this position through aggressive marketing and growth strategies that included the acquisitions of rival chains, Arbor Drug and Revco. Headquartered in Rhode Island, the CVS organization currently counts over 4,100 stores operating in 28 states. CVS employs over 100,000 people and is still growing.

CVS recognized that sheer size alone would not assure future market leadership. Technology would have a significant role to play in the chain’s growth and helping to maintain its competitive edge. So, the drug store leader turned to Symbol Technologies, the wireless technology leader, to improve worker productivity, inventory management and customer service through the implementation of Symbol-based solutions.

The Challenge: Maximize Store Efficiencies

Intense competition in the drug store industry forces players to rely on low prices, wide selections, fast turnaround and slim margins. As such, the technology solution implemented must maximize store associate productivity and enhance customer satisfaction while serving multiple functions.

Imagine the complexities of coordinating merchandise receiving and inventory logistics for a retail operation selling everything from prescription drugs to greeting cards. On any day, there could be hundreds of trucks moving between thousands of stores across the country. And with every shipment comes the related inventory and putaway tasks, as well as shelf stocking, price checking and item reordering activities.

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Stanley Steemer Streamlines Field Service Operations with Rugged Handheld Computers

Posted May 13, 2010

Intermec 761 Handheld computersStanley Steemer performs on-site carpet cleaning and floor-care services nationwide. Thousands of technicians are in the field daily fulfilling orders, selling, routing to various job sites, and recording and reporting completed transactions back to a central office. The task of managing all of these transactions and company assets can be daunting.

For decades, Stanley Steemer relied on a paper-based process for order taking and fulfillment, payment processing and dispatch. The process was time consuming and at times inaccurate.

In the mid-1990s, Stanley Steemer International, Inc. began researching hardware and working with prototype applications to move the company’s system from a paper solution to an electronic process. Stanley Steemer first trialed consumer-grade handheld computers and implemented a prototype system in 2002. This system proved ineffective because of the device’s lower durability in comparison to a ruggedized commercial-grade solution. Stanley Steemer also quickly learned that this type of system lacked many of the capabilities inherent in a commercial grade device.

“We learned quickly that this type of equipment wasn’t going to work because of durability and capability limitations,” said Dale Bevins, IT Director, Stanley Steemer International, Inc. “We determined that deploying a commercial grade handheld computer to meet the challenging demands placed on the equipment was our only option.”

In 2005, Stanley Steemer turned to Intermec for the company’s ruggedized Intermec 761 handheld computers and PW40 mobile printers. Stanley Steemer now uses more than 900 Intermec handheld computers, printers and accessories at over 60 different branches, satellites and franchises across the U.S. and estimates a complete branch/satellite rollout by January 2007. To help monitor assets, Stanley Steemer has also deployed WebTech GPS boxes mounted inside Stanley Steemer service vehicles.

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Entertainment Wholesaler Super D Saves $1 Million in Annual Warehouse Costs

Posted May 13, 2010

Intermec 2425 RF ComputerFor media wholesaler Super D, the “unplugged” movement in the music industry has reaped million-dollar rewards. The company has a 45,000-square-foot warehouse full of music, sitting in bins and ready to move. Among rows of compact discs, cassette odd vinyl albums are the industry’s elite: compilations that have connected so powerfully with the public that they have sold a million units or more. Now the company is ready to reap yet another “unplugged” million-dollar reward – with a wireless mobile system from Intermec.

Three years ago, Super D Chairman and Chief Technology Officer David Hurwitz began casting about for a way to make his company stronger, more resilient. “We’ve lost a bunch of competitors in the last couple years,” he said, “primarily because with shrinking margins in a shrinking market, if you don’t have your systems in place to get every last nickel and dime you can, you’re dead. We’ve been investing in the technology side so much that it’s paid off.”

The new wireless system included handheld computers from Intermec Technologies Corp., integrated Great Plains software and Microsoft SQL servers.

That move transformed Super D’s warehouse operations, enhancing not only its speed and accuracy, but slashing overall warehouse costs, letting Super D keep more money from every sale. How much more? Three years ago Super D’s warehouse costs were running at 4 percent. Today that cost is down to 1.8 percent. Using current sales figures, warehouse cost savings for fiscal year 2003 total more than $1 million. “As sales continue to grow, that number’s just going to keep getting better,” Hurwitz said.

Twenty-five Intermec 2425® radio-frequency (RF) keypad handheld computers comprise the new system’s front end. They replaced the old method, which Hurwitz described as using “our hands and a clipboard” to pick from and stock the 150,000 bins at the Irvine, Calif., company.

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POS at the LPGA

Posted May 13, 2010

Wasp QuickStore POS

A Small Business with History

For over 27 years, The Wegmans Rochester LPGA has been one of the most popular stops on the LPGA tour. It combines the world’s best golfers, the most enthusiastic crowds and many eager volunteers that join to raise funds for special causes. Disabled Children of Monroe County (DCMC), benefiting Camp Haccamo and the Sunshine Campus, uses the Wegmans Rochester LPGA as their main fund raising event. DCMC operates a store front that sells thousands of hats, shirts, shoes, and umbrellas during the week long event. The success of the event for DCMC increases every year, and the importance of correctly stocking, monitoring and reporting sales in such a short time frame increases each year as well. With this event being the main fund raiser for DCMC, “we just can’t have anything go wrong during the week” says Tim Groth, head of technology for Disabled Children of Monroe County.

The Technological Problem

“Our prior DOS based system was brutal,” states Tim Groth. “It was so difficult to use that we ended up with inaccurate data of what was sold. To add to the problem, the final inventory count must be completed before the vendors pick up their merchandise within hours after the tournament ends. The sales staff just could not keep up. By the end of the tournament they had no idea what they had sold,” Groth adds. It was obvious that help was needed in four main problem areas. First, DCMC needed a system that provided accurate inventory control and monitoring of shrinkage. Second, the system must be easy to implement and use, especially since the staff had little computer training and, in fact, were fearful of using new technology. Third, the system had to provide for quick and easy check out since there were a large number of transactions that were to be performed throughout the day. Fourth, the results had to be fast since this operation begins and ends in one week’s time! The challenge was to make the sales run as smooth as the green!

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Improve Truck Freight Carrier Productivity and Cost-Effectiveness with Mobility Technology

Posted April 26, 2010

The Case for Automating Freight Logistics

In today’s tough business conditions, over-the-road freight carriers are looking for ways to increase productivity, decrease operating expenses, and retain customers. The cold truth is that unpredictable fuel costs, rising labor rates, and other expenses continue to whittle away at freight trucking profit margins. Just as challenging, truck freight customers demand supply chain management solutions that offer reverse logistics and forward/backward traceability.

As many businesses have already discovered, mobility technology delivers exceptional benefits to a wide range of operations. Handheld computers, networking, and mobile thermal printers are proven productivity enhancers. When deployed to truck freight carriers, drivers could quickly enter information into networked handheld computers, scan labels, or tag shipments with bar code or radio frequency identification (RFID) labels. In fact, personnel throughout a trucking enterprise could benefit from instant access to accurate information—while in the office, at the customer location, or on the road.

This white paper discusses key considerations when selecting mobility solutions, and unveils how mobilityenabled operations can improve freight trucking efficiency, reduce operating expenses, and boost customer satisfaction.

The Business Value of Mobility Technology

To help identify, classify, and categorize the benefits of mobility technology across a trucking organization, Zebra developed the Zebra Business Value Map. The map relates how mobile computing and printing applications affect people, processes, and profits.

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Socket Barcode Scanners Help Humanitarian Groups

Posted April 23, 2010

Socket SoMo 650

By MICHELLE MAN

When you think of adopters of mobile technology, charities may not immediately come to mind, but Socket is seeing a rising number of international humanitarian organizations that deploy our mobile solutions. Some government agencies in the U.S. have also begun using Socket devices in their international relief work.

Businesses in healthcare, hospitality, and other industries usually choose to implement mobile technology as a way to eliminate inefficient paper-based processes, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are no different. Humanitarian organizations typically need to collect a lot of data from beneficiaries to assess people’s needs, measure the effectiveness of programs, and ensure the fairness of aid distribution.

Most NGOs generate high volumes of paperwork by collecting data in handwritten forms, which clerks need to transcribe into a spreadsheet or database. Adopting mobile technology enables organizations to spend less time in administrative paperwork, thus allowing them to serve more people and/or improve the quality of aid while also improving accountability to donors, board members, and other parties. Many NGOs are also involved in research studies or complex logistical operations which greatly benefit from mobile computing and data collection technology.

The Task Force for Global Health, based in Decatur, Georgia, uses Socket bluetooth barcode scanners in its program to eradicate lymphatic filariasis (also known as elephantiasis), a parasitic, disfiguring disease that afflicts more than 120 million people worldwide and is a leading cause of permanent and long-term disability in many tropical countries.

Health workers use Socket barcode scanners with GPS receivers and PDAs or laptop computers to track mosquito specimens as well as to scan wristbands and blood/urine samples while visiting households, schools or other sites within a community.

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CognitiveTPG Printer & Labels Help Skiers Race Through the Rental Process at Copper Mountain

Posted April 20, 2010

CognitiveTPG CXi

Challenge

Copper Mountain Resort needed a system to effectively manage its rental equipment inventory between five store locations and to expedite the rental process for its skiers and boarders.

Scenario

Copper Mountain Resort was using an inefficient system to track and manage its inventory of ski rental equipment between each of the five different rental locations. According to Gary Deetz, Warehouse Supervisor, the self made system was faulty and labor intensive. Basically they combined 3 pieces of construction paper to determine store location, shelf location, and product information – the color paper represented the store location.

They needed a system to effectively manage its rental equipment inventory between five stores and to expedite the rental process for its customers. The system had to operate as a stand alone because of limited workspace to include a computer. They also needed to print serialized labels and be able to easily enter the variable information on the spot for the replacement labels. Finally they needed a label that would adhere to the ski, pole, boot, or snowboard without falling off due to the wide array of environments from freezing cold to 70 degrees and very wet conditions.

Solution

CognitiveTPG worked directly with Gary Deetz and his team to find a customized labeling solution to meet the ski resort rental facilities’ requirements. The C Series printer (4” Cxi) was the printer of choice because of its durable construction, LCD user interface menu, and its ability to attach a keyboard/scanner peripheral for a stand alone solution.

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Teklynx SENTINEL Drives Global Labeling for Eaton

Posted April 20, 2010

Teklynx CODESOFTEaton Corporation is a global technology leader in electrical components and systems for power quality, distribution and control; hydraulics components, systems and services for industrial and mobile equipment; aerospace fuel, hydraulics and pneumatic systems for commercial and military use; and truck and automotive drivetrain and powertrain systems.

Eaton’s Electrical Sector provides electrical power distribution, power quality systems, industrial automation and control products and services for industrial, utility, commercial, residential and information technology markets. Eaton’s Electrical Sector recently consolidated its worldwide label printing using TEKLYNX® SENTINEL™ to interface with its enterprise systems, and CODESOFT® to manage worldwide formatting and printing.

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World’s Largest Furniture Retailer Selects Datalogic Skorpio for Goods Flow

Posted April 14, 2010

Datalogic SkorpioThe world’s largest furniture retailer invests in a mobile computing solution with Datalogic Mobile

A world renown furniture retailer has chosen the Datalogic Skorpio™ to facilitate the handling & tracing of incoming goods. The investment amounts to several thousands of units in the company’s furniture stores around the world.

The Datalogic Skorpio™ was chosen among its competitors to be used in the company’s new logistics system to handle goods flow. This handheld device offers a Windows operating system, simplified numeric keyboard, excellent ergonomics and extreme ruggedness. In addition, the Datalogic Green Spot assures good read feedback, even in noisy environments. This, along with its service program and management software, Wavelink® Avalanche, guarantees an effective, stable, secure and user-friendly solution in hundreds of stores every day.

The Datalogic Skorpio™ also offers other advantages. The Ethernet 4-slot cradle is the most compact in its class, allowing the mobile computer to be recharged even in the most crowded areas of the warehouse. Thanks to this accessory, the Datalogic Skorpio™ installed in-field can be remotely managed using the Wavelink® Avalanche™ console. The option of using the handheld terminal or the Gun model is also given. The furniture store can choose between these two options, based on its needs for the various store applications.

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Intermec Printers Give RH Foster a Fresh Approach to Food Labeling

Posted April 13, 2010
Intermec

Benefits Summary

RH Foster saved approximately:

  • 10 seconds per food item
  • 2.5 labor hours a week,
    equating to 130 hours saved

Convenience store chain eliminates the need for computers, reducing costs and improving worker productivity

Not all the sandwiches RH Foster makes and sells at its chain of Exxon-Mobile convenience stores in Maine are triple-deckers, but labeling them for sale was always a laborious three-step process. Once sandwiches were made and wrapped, the store clerk would apply a preprinted label that identified the sandwiches and its ingredients. The clerk would then grab a labeling gun to set and produce the price label. Finally, the clerk would take a separate labeling gun and set the date to make a "use by" freshness label. That’s three separate steps, and the final product wasn’t even bar coded, resulting in an extra manual step to ring up the sandwiches at the point of sale.

The process also created support requirements at headquarters, where the sandwiches and other food product labels were printed. The foodservice manager would personally print all the labels and either ship or deliver them to retail locations, and was responsible for ensuring each store had enough of the dozens of different product labels that were used. Stores would sometimes run out of preprinted labels and would have to create handwritten ones until a new supply arrived, or end up throwing away labels when ingredients changed or sandwiches were discontinued.

RH Foster wanted to find a smarter way to label its Freshies®- brand products, which are made fresh in each of the company’s 12 retail locations each day. What it found was a smart labeling process that takes advantage of intelligence embedded in an in-store label printer to take time, steps, guesswork and errors out of preparing product labels. RH Foster credits the system for saving at least 130 labor hours per store, per year.

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