Distributor Improves Bar Code Scannability, Reduces Non-Compliance Fees

Posted October 30, 2009

Compliance chargeback fees due to unscannable shipping labels.

Dedicated printers provide maximum readability for error-free scanning.

Productivity has increased by 20% and label accuracy is 99.9% or better.

High-performance Xi Series printers for their reliability and mission-critical performance.

The US distribution center for Waterford Wedgwood PLC, maker of luxury crystal and ceramics, developed a negative reputation with retail customers and incurred compliance chargeback fees due to unscannable bar code shipping labels. The sub-ANSI-standard bar codes, produced on cut-sheet printers, degraded from C or D grade to completely unread- able by the time they arrived at customers’ docks. This meant that customers, unable to compare goods at receiving with Waterford Wedgwood USA’s advance ship notices, had to spend extra time manually checking each box. The extra time resulted in customers charging the distribution center from $25 to 25 percent of the total purchase order per incident.

Waterford Wedgwood USA installed Zebra® Xi Series direct thermal printers, which provide maximum readability for error-free scanning. While line and laser printers are susceptible to printing bar codes out of spec, durable Zebra thermal printers deliver crisp bar codes and graphics. Zebra’s Xi Series in particular is built for high performance in industrial environments requiring heavy-duty and high-resolution printing.

The company installed an AS/400 host system running a warehouse management system (WMS) on a 2.4 GHz spread spectrum network. Waterford Wedgwood USA purchased IBM Infoprint laser printers for printing picking tickets and Zebra Xi Series printers for printing shipping labels. In the distribution center, Zebra printers generate bar code shipping labels that are applied to cartons. Sealed cartons are routed through a sorter to appropriate shipping bays where they are scanned out of the system and onto trucks. Scanned product data is transmitted to the company’s EDI system which generates and sends advance ship notices electronically.

Since introducing the WMS system and bar-code process, the company has increased productivity by 20% and brought label accuracy to 99.9% or better, eliminating label- quality-related compliance fees. The company has also added procedures to make their products more “floor-ready,” labeling and pricing product for a number of customers.

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