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Tips for RFID Smart Label Printing/Encoding

Posted March 21, 2012

Zebra Technologies introduced the first integrated, on-demand radio frequency identification (RFID) smart label printer/encoder in 2001, and since then we have worked with hundreds of customers around the world who use different RFID protocols, frequencies, inlay designs, and standards. This experience has taught us several best practices that are applicable to any smart label printing operation.

Accurate RFID encoding is critical to every deployment. If the printer/encoder does not perform the tag data and item association correctly, the errors can propagate throughout the entire supply chain. Following the tips described in this white paper can help you get more from your smart label printing system by improving reliability, minimizing operator intervention, reducing wasted labels, preventing encoding and printing errors, and yielding more usable labels per media roll.

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Blood Bag Labeling

Posted March 21, 2012

Industry Need

With nearly 5 million Americans requiring blood transfusions annually, there is a tremendous need for blood products to supply these important therapies. Blood banks and collection centers require robust labels to reliably track blood from the donor to the final recipient; these labels need to survive multiple processing, testing, and storage steps through challenging environmental conditions. Intermec’s blood bag labeling product set enables durable, positive tracking of these critical components.

Bar coded blood bag labels enable the high degree of accuracy required for successful transfusion therapy. Clearly identified blood typing prevents serious complications that could result from donor type incompatibility. Different blood components and storage conditions yield varying shelf life; clear expiration date identification guarantees patients receive only safe, effective products. Formats configured in compliance with ISBT-128 standards provide interoperability with multiple collection centers, processing locations, and hospital systems.

In order for essential data to follow the contents of the blood bag, labels must endure a series of challenging conditions. Labels must maintain a strong bond to the flexible blood bag during centrifugation while whole blood is separated into components. Labels must remain positively attached during standard or cryogenic freezing (plasma and some red cells), refrigeration (red cells), or continuous shaking at room temperature (platelets). The bond must then be maintained during warming, which often includes immersion in a water bath.

Beyond the physical performance needs, blood bag labels must also meet regulatory requirements. The United States Food and Drug Administration mandates compliance with 21 CFR175.105 to increase safety should components of the adhesive migrate through the plastic into the blood bag.

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Adopting Bar Code Labeling in Hospital Pharmacies

Posted March 20, 2012

One of the most proven and effective methods to prevent medical errors is to use bar coding to identify medications at the unit-dose level for dispensing and administration. By taking action to ensure all medications used in the hospital include a bar code, pharmacists can set a strong foundation for patient safety initiatives and align their organization with patient safety goals established by The Joint Commission and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).

This white paper will illustrate how bar code systems improve patient safety; summarize the ASHP, The Joint Commission, and FDA policies and recommendations that are driving the current surge in bar code-based patient safety programs; present bar code marking options for pharmacists; and provide guidance for developing a practical strategy for bar code-based patient safety programs.

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Wireless Printing Delivers Efficiency and Cost Savings in Retail

Posted March 20, 2012

Wireless bar code and radio frequency identification (RFID) label printing is widely recognized by major retailers globally as an essential technology for enhancing store operations. The ability to print real-time information in the aisle, on demand, saves time, effort, and money—creating competitive advantages.

Once a retailer deploys a wireless network, the benefits of in-store wireless printing become self-evident. Employees can generate tagging labels, coupons, receipts, or tickets on demand at the point of need, and place products on promotion at a moment’s notice. Store associates can complete shelf price audits and re-labeling tasks within a short time period. Store managers can be more confident of shelf price integrity, resulting in fewer price checks at the register. Checkout clerks can print receipts as part of a mobile point-of-sale or customer line-busting solution. In addition, item-level RFID tagging enables precise inventory management and improves store efficiency.

Wireless printers, especially handheld mobile printers, can help lower total in-store printing expenses, reduce total cost of ownership (TCO), improve labor productivity, boost return on investment (ROI), and increase customer satisfaction. The pages that follow detail the far-ranging benefits of wireless bar code and RFID printing, and present innovative wireless printing solutions from Zebra.

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A799 Collection Hits High Fashion

Posted March 20, 2012

Challenge

When a high-fashion designer and retailer, best known for its designer handbags and accessories decided to replace its receipt printing laser printers, they needed a thermal receipt printer that was capable of doing justice to their famous designer image. The challenge was finding a thermal printer capable of printing the company logo to their satisfaction.

Scenario

The switch from laser to thermal printing in any environment involves not only a financial decision but also operational considerations. A combined need to reduce printing costs, as well as the desire to reduce printer downtime and increase workspace, drove this high-end retailer to seek an alternate solution to their current laser printer setup. Thermal printers require no toner and have a footprint of up to three times smaller than that of a desktop laser printer.

Once the retailer made the decision to convert to thermal receipt printing technology, the next step was to decide which manufacturer could provide the best solution for their particular application. The overriding factor in their final decision would be the printer’s capability of accurately reproducing the designer’s logo on the receipt. Although simple in design, the thin lines of text and levels of grayscale in the logo required precision manipulation of the logo artwork and customized support to ensure the level of print quality would meet the designer’s standards

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Anti-Counterfeit RFID Labeling

Posted March 19, 2012

Industry Need

Counterfeiting is a global phenomenon affecting a wide range of industries. Companies are becoming increasingly aware of the potential negative ramifications of counterfeit parts with altered serial numbers being sourced and distributed in the supplier networks. These substandard parts can escape detection and be deployed in areas such as vehicle and aircraft spare parts and maintenance. Poor product quality, deterioration of the brand, and concern for consumer safety pose a very real threat. Counterfeiting can affect a company’s revenue and do incalculable long term damage when a substituted product is associated with a brand causing system downtime or even critical system or product failure. The costs associated with counterfeit parts just in the automotive and aerospace sectors are estimated to be in the hundreds of millions. Companies look to Intermec for labeling solutions that can ultimately protect their products and their brands.

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Wristband Formatting Best Practices

Posted March 19, 2012

Key Considerations for Improving Patient Care

Bar coded patient wristbands are an excellent way for medical centers to improve the safety and quality of care while meeting industry mandates. To gain the most benefit, the information provided on the wristband must afford easy readability, and deliver the right information in the right way. Healthcare personnel who are starting to look at a patient ID solution need to know the key considerations of patient wristbands from a formatting perspective. This is especially crucial during the first 30 days of looking at a patient ID solution.

Like any technology or process, following proven best practices helps ensure a smooth transition to deployment and beyond. The purpose of this white paper is to help healthcare IT staff launch the right wristband system with the right format. Proper wristband formatting makes it easier for nurses and clinicians to perform patient care tasks so that there is no need for workarounds. The result is improved efficiency and quality of care—medical staff is more productive, there are fewer chances for errors, and nurses can provide more focused attention to their patients.
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RFID and Your Privacy— Myths and Facts

Posted March 19, 2012

Businesses and consumers today are asking, “Does radio frequency identification (RFID) invade the public’s right to privacy?” With any emerging technology, this is certainly a valid question to ask. And now is the time to answer that question.

Fact is RFID has become a critical technology for a wide range of industries—from the supply chain, through manufacturing, all the way to the retail store and beyond. The return on investment (ROI) RFID delivers comes from reducing the time and labor required to track assets and materials, decrease losses and theft, improve maintenance operations, and streamline efficiency through better asset availability and utilization.

Even though RFID offers unprecedented value, some people have viewed RFID as a threat to privacy. However, like any wireless technology, including cell phones, wireless networks, and Bluetooth connections, RFID devices provide remote readability. In theory, any technology that relies on radio frequency (RF) is inherently insecure. As a result, businesses and legislative bodies continuously seek ways to understand and lock down wireless security issues, while protecting the public’s privacy—and RFID is no different.

This white paper presents the facts about RFID and dispels the myths that RFID is invasive to privacy. The discussion that follows provides an overview of RFID, the primary consumer privacy concerns, and measures that are currently or that will soon be in place to protect businesses and consumers from misuse of this
vital technology.

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Puritan Bakery Expedites Each Customer Delivery with Mobile Solution

Posted March 19, 2012

Route Drivers, Accounting Team Complete Work Faster

Touting “the best buns in town,” Puritan Bakery has served Southern California since 1938. The continuously family-owned and -run company delivers fresh hamburger buns and breads daily to restaurants, fast food stands and coffee shops, including many of the area’s iconic establishments. Now serving more than 1,000 customers, Puritan attributes its growth and longevity to quality products and superb customer service.

Challenge

Due to the short shelf life of bakery products, Puritan bakes and delivers its breads each day based on customer demand. All customers must have their orders in by noon the day preceding delivery.

Although Puritan delivery drivers used mobile devices previously, they were not integrated with the main office. That meant order changes given to drivers in the field were not received until drivers returned from delivery routes.
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How POS Receipts Build Sales And Loyalty

Posted March 19, 2012

The coupon revival continues, and the source of those most often redeemed might surprise you.

According to the Annual Topline U.S. CPG Coupon Facts Report for Year-end 2010, released by NCH Marketing Services, Inc., marketers distributed 332 billion coupons for consumer packaged goods last year, marking the largest singleyear distribution of coupons ever recorded in the United States. Those coupons redeemed totalled $3.7 billion in savings for consumers. Fueled by frugal recession-weary shoppers, coupon usage has climbed from 63.6% in 2007 to 78.3% in 2010, according to NCH.

Most of those coupons distributed — a full 90% — came in the form of free-standing inserts, according to Inmar, the company that handles the bulk of coupon processing in the U.S. But retail marketers take note — that’s not where the leading growth in redeemed coupons lies.
Checkout coupon redemption rates grew 39% in 2010, faster than freestanding insert coupons, digital promotions, shelf-pad, and in-ad coupon offers. Indeed, coupons printed on receipts enjoy a redemption rate that’s three times higher than that of direct mail and newspaper circular-based receipts. Bob Carter, president of promotion services for Inmar, says the data his company is gathering tells us that consumers are still looking for deals, but appear to be less motivated to seek out and redeem out-of-store offers.

The ability to leverage receipts to communicate brand awareness, promotions, coupon offers, and other forms of customer engagement is not new. Consumers’ enthusiastic return to interest in that messaging certainly is.

The consumers who are most enthusiastic about coupon redemption might surprise you as well. Assumption might lead you to believe that the lowest income households are the heaviest coupon users, when in fact it’s your best customers who seek them out and cash them in. Coupon usage in 2010 was dominated by households with incomes greater than $70,000, with 38% of what Inmar labels “super heavy” users and 41% of “enthusiasts” coming from that demographic. Households with income of more than $100,000 drove coupon growth in 2009.

Finally, lest you think the coupon craze has come and gone, the latest figures show coupon redemption was up 4% in the second quarter of 2011 compared with the same period in 2010.

As in-store couponing goes, nothing beats the receipt. Modern, powerful software tools allow endless and easy customization of designs and parameters on receipts, such as targeted offers to customers who meet specifi c purchase thresholds. Chain-store retailers can even create store-specifi c messaging and offers, enabling location based messaging that’s custom-fi t for the demographics of their consumers.

The writing is on the wall — if you’re not promoting special offers on your register tape, you’re missing a powerful opportunity to delight customers and drive repeat traffic.

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