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Shoe Zone’s Feat of Logistics

Posted December 11, 2009

Zebra QL 320Hands-free scanning technology has helped to double output for a leading UK shoe retailer, Shoe Zone. Its warehouse now handles 1,000,000 pairs of footwear per week and delivers to the company’s 400 shoe stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

• Lengthy manual data-entry process of product codes for warehouse stock items

• Heavy reliance on printed packing lists which can get lost

• Short implementation time

• Equipping warehouse workers with a mobile solution

Zebra mobile QL 320 bar code printers (for printing labels on demand for each filled warehouse carton)

Motorola wrist-mounted computer and ring scanner

• All scanners, computers and printers link to Shoe Zone’s host system

• The scanning software is integrated in real time to the company’s stock- replenishment system

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Pharmaceutical Distributor solves communication Breakdown with Bar codes

Posted December 9, 2009

Datalogic PowerScan ScannersThe Challenge
Errors in pharmaceutical reordering are documented sources of negligence in the healthcare industry and can lead to patient endangerment and malpractice suits for healthcare facilities, physicians, and pharmaceutical companies. Despite this reality, many healthcare environments still use a traditional reordering system. Traditional reordering occurs when a nurse discovers a patient’s medication is below a specific level, pulls off the reorder sticker and then faxes the sticker to a pharmacy. These stickers not only ‘gum up’ the customer’s fax machine, but transmit unclear information to the Medicine Centre’s pharmaceutical staff.

The inherent problems of using this traditional method are clear; not only are there substantial opportunities for data capture and transmission errors, but an inefficient use of valuable resources. According to Justin Funk, the Medicine Centre’s Vice President of Information Technology, “We wanted a solution to completely eliminate opportunities for error and to save customers time on the ordering process by reducing inefficiencies on both ends that come from a traditional reordering system.”

The Solution
Funk determined that a wireless bar code system and a tailored software application in concert would facilitate a quick, error-free reordering process. In order to be successful, the Medicine Centre needed to find a barcode scanner that met the following criteria:

  • Cordless with long range capabilities
  • Highly durable and capable of surviving drops to floor surfaces
  • Reliable and intuitive for any nurse to use
  • Centralized, 99.9% up time (regardless of power and internet outages)

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6 Illinois Counties Expedite Traffic Stops with Fast, Streamlined Ticket Printing

Posted December 8, 2009

Zebra RW 420Challenge
No one enjoys getting a traffic ticket. But at least the experience should be as quick and painless as possible for officers, citizens and administrative staff.

That’s the driving force behind an initiative in six greater Chicago area counties. Circuit court clerks from the counties of Kane, Will, DuPage, McHenry, Cook and DeKalb are switching to electronic citation systems to nearly eliminate data entry throughout the public safety and court systems.

As the counties move from traditional handwritten tickets to generating tickets from mobile laptops, they need a way to print tickets legibly and without consuming too much space in squad cars. When one county tried an impact printer with pre-printed forms, the units required too much cab space and were nearly impossible to load straight, making them print illegibly.

“The biggest complaint with the old printers was that they were constantly jamming or printed in the wrong spaces,” said Tim Bosshart, Commander, Carpentersville Police Department.

In order to address these concerns, Kane County has turned to Zebra Technologies. For the citation software, the counties use QuickTicket from APS. With it, officers issue citations via laptops, auto-populating an electronic version of the state’s citation form. They can obtain data from motor vehicle queries, or from a swipe or scan of the offender’s driver’s license.

That system reduces the time for officers to issue citations and eliminates the need for law enforcement to re-key data back at their office—replacing a time-consuming, error-prone process.

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Filed under: Case Studies

A slice of Auto ID corrects Wholesale Grocer’s Inventory challenge

Posted December 7, 2009

Datalogic Gryphon Bluetooth

The Challenge
Heiderbeck was using an outdated data collection system to track and update thousands of products in its inventory. Heiderbeck specifically used a manual recording system, in which warehouse employees would print out inventory lists, make hand-written adjustments and then give the lists to other employees for updating purposes.

Without a modern automatic identification system, Heiderbeck was vulnerable to errors and data inaccuracies. After the merger between the two companies Heider and Beck, Heiderbeck decided it was time to invest in an efficient inventory tracking solution. They found the answer in an automatic identification system, which utilizes bar code scanners and customized software for product tracking.

The Solution
By choosing an automatic identification system, Heiderbeck would be equipped to facilitate a real-time inventory record, be able to write off spoiled and damaged goods and create more operational efficiencies. Automatic identification also produces a very low error rate and ensures data is available at all times, which is especially important in monitoring and updating ‘date sensitive’ product inventories.

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Raising the bar for positive patient identification

Posted December 4, 2009

Zebra 2844-ZThe Challenge
The concept of ‘positive patient identification’ is much talked-about in the medical world, and is a fundamental requirement for correct patient care. This phrase covers all types of verification and identification practices which effect patients, hospitals and procedures. Using patient ID wristbands goes a long way to ensure the correct drugs are assigned to the correct patient – as hand- written wristbands can be misread, easily damaged or even lost.

Previously ward nurses would have to hand write all patient wristbands using information from the patients medical history. By eliminating this manual process, the hospital would save time for medical staff, allowing them to focus on other aspects of their jobs.

It was also important that the key patient demographics were taken from the hospital information system to avoid the risk of transcription errors.

Effective barcodes
According to Helena Roddy, Haemovigilance Officer, Portiuncula Hospital: “We wanted to implement a blood tracking system to assist with compliance to the EU Blood Directive. The first step in this process was to introduce barcoded patient identification wristbands.”

“Implementation and support were also key” Roddy continued. ”We needed a solution which required minimal maintenance and expense.”

The hospital chose a Zebra solution of printers and wristbands for use with all its adult patients and installed six LP 2844Z printers throughout the hospital as well as working with hospital staff to design the wristband. This design was key to its success, and had to contain the patient’s name, date of birth, sex, and hospital number.

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DMG Selects Datalogic Scanning’s PowerScan® PM8300 Scanners to Equip its New Warehouse

Posted November 17, 2009

PowerScan PM8300DMG (De Mandemakers Groep) recently opened a new warehouse in Haven Zeven (Waalwijk, the Netherlands). the new facility is 43.000 m2 wide with a 15.000 m2 office area.

DMG has several activities. Among them, DMG purchases, stores and sends kitchen furniture, cabinets, appliances and parts for well-known European home stores. Mandemakers Keukens, Brugman Keukens & Badkamers, Keukenconcurrent, Wooning Keuken & Badkamers, Montel, sanders Meubelstad and Piet Klerkx are all known examples of DMG’s customers database.

The Challenge
The new warehouse contains a lot of kitchen equipment and parts! To optimize logistics operations, the warehouse has 50 loading docks.

DMG contacted a Datalogic scanning Quality Partner to study their equipment needs. DMG needed to track and trace incoming and outgoing goods, and improve stock management, using bar code readers in the new warehouse.

When Mr. Peter van Leijden and Mr. van der Snoek’s of DMG requested help, they realized a complete audit of all processes would be required to understand and identify DMG’s real needs and provide them with the right bar code scanning solution.

When goods are received in the warehouse, they are temporarily stocked and then delivered to the customer according to each order.

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Processing return shipments more smoothly and more quickly

Posted November 16, 2009

Zebra Z4M PlusOtto ranks as the world’s largest mail order company and offers its products by way of two main catalogs it publishes each year, but also through numerous seasonal and special interest catalogs and via electronic media.

Otto’s core business is catalog selling. Therefore, access to a robust Warehouse Management System that allows the company to process return shipments effectively is of great strategic importance. Within this context bar code printing is of particular importance. For example, identification of an article that has been returned takes place solely using bar codes. This means that the printing quality of the bar codes is of the highest importance in identifying items that have been returned and managing all of the other related processes.

In 2001, Otto implemented a new and more efficient system for managing stock and returns. Wolf Hartmann is department head of the returns day shift at Otto in Hamburg. He decided to implement bar code printers from Zebra Technologies in Obertshausen, Germany. This brand of printers has been used successfully by Otto for many years and has proven to be extremely reliable. In addition, Otto was convinced that ZebraLink, the innovative method of connecting and controlling printers, could be of great value to their company.

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Queues disappear with wireless printing solution

Posted November 12, 2009

Zebra RW 420 Portable PrinterByggmax sells building materials and has premises at 27 locations in Sweden. The product range consists of base products needed for construction work e.g. timber, insulation materials, plaster and cement. They have a drive-in service, which means that the customers drive their cars into the premises and load the goods they require from the yard and the storage area, themselves. Byggmax staff register the goods in the cars, whereupon the customers are given a sales order to take to the checkout. It used to take longer, as the sales staff wrote down all items by hand on the sales order and made all calculations on a pocket calculator. At the checkout the items on the paperwork were registered together with those the customer wished to purchase from within the store. There were often problems with queues forming, when the checkout staff needed to enter all the items on the hand-written slip.

After a six month trial period of the new system, it has been installed in all stores. The sales staff at Byggmax are equipped with handheld computers and mobile printers from Zebra Technologies. The handheld computers always have an up-to-date item register and communicate wirelessly both with the checkout environment and with the mobile printers. The sales order is printed out for the customer within one or two seconds of the goods being keyed in. There is a bar code on the slip referring to the customer (usually the registration number of the car). The checkout staff only need to scan the bar code in order to take payment for the goods, which the customer has loaded into the car. If a customer leaves the premises without having paid, the registration number can be used to contact the customer.

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Pricing Accuracy Through Wireless Portable Printing

Posted November 11, 2009

Zebra Mobile PrintersChallenge
One of America’s largest retailers faces a daily challenge of maintaining accurate pricing of all merchandise across its entire chain of stores.

Further complicating the task is that the prices of more than 1000 products change every week, and up to five percent of the company’s inventory changes in any given month. As recently as the early 1990s, these changes were sent via fax or e-mail and were printed out by store managers at each location. A night shift was required to print out appropriate shelf labels, canvass the store to put these labels on corresponding shelves, and manually update pricing information in the store’s main computer for the check-out terminals. For the average store, these tasks required 20 employees to work six hours after the store closed.

“Every week we’d forfeit nearly 20 percent of our profits from each promotion through the cost of setting up for the sale,” recalled the chain’s operations manager. “Even after spending all of this time and money, human error was nearly out of control. The price of merchandise on the shelf frequently didn’t match the price at checkout. Our customers were frustrated, which was compromising customer loyalty and company reputation.”

To correct these problems, the retail chain adopted a corporate-wide pricing network with frame-relay host-to-store communication; a wireless, 2.4 GHz frequency-hopping LAN in every store, and network addressable Zebra® portable mobile printers to move the operation onto the floor.

Today, the company uses a team of price checkers to update prices and ensure that shelf labels match checkout counter prices. Each price checker is armed with a small handheld terminal capable of scanning existing shelf labels and a Zebra portable mobile printer that wirelessly connects both devices to the store’s network.

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Purchase Goods Anywhere: A Checkout Counter on the Move

Posted November 10, 2009

Zebra Cameo 3 Portable PrinterChallenge
During the holiday season, long checkout lines mean angry customers, decreased customer loyalty and lost sales. To keep customers in the holiday spirit, one of the nation’s largest discount chains tested a mobile checkout system to eliminate check-out lines, even during the busiest shopping days of the year.

“Even with all of our check-out counters open and our associates working as fast as possible, we still lost dozens of sales each day because people were scared away by the long lines during the holiday season,” commented one store manager. “We had to find a way to add check-out lines during our busiest time. Temporary mobile checkout was the only answer.”

For the store’s mobile checkout needs, the company turned to Zebra printers—the same brand of printer it relies on to label goods in its critical shipping and receiving operations. “We had used Zebra printers in a variety of logistics applications and they always worked flawlessly,” noted the company’s retail systems manager. “As a very public operation, our check-out operations system had to be fail-proof. Once we realized that Zebra offered a perfect retail solution, we never considered another vendor.”

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