The Barcode Experts. Low Prices, Always.

Barcodes,Inc.

Barcoding News

Data tracking news, product updates, tips, and more

Southeastern Container turns to Motorola for RFID asset tracking

Posted May 13, 2010

Motorola MC9090-G

The company: Southeastern Container

Southeastern Container was formed in 1982 as a privately owned company under the ownership of a group of Coca-Cola® Bottling companies. Today the company operates as a manufacturing co-op with ten manufacturing locations producing plastic bottles. Southeastern Container handles nearly 70 percent of the bottle production for Coca-Cola in the U.S. and also works with bottle manufacturers outside of the co-op. The company keeps quality and service high with a focus on continuous improvement.

The challenge: Inventory control and traceability for specialized product containers

With roots in the southeastern U.S., Southeastern Container now has ten manufacturing facilities across the East Coast, Illinois and Wisconsin. At the company’s three injection molding facilities, bottle blanks called preforms are manufactured. The plastic preforms are blown into bottles at Southeastern Container’s blow-molding facilities and at bottle manufacturers outside of the co-op.

The preforms are shipped to bottle manufacturing plants in cardboard containers or existing plastic bins. Ideally, these containers are returned empty to the injection molding facilities to repeat the cycle. However, problems with this return process were costing Southeastern Container thousands of dollars each year.

Some containers are lost or damaged in transit and must be replaced. In addition, the design of the existing containers prohibits Southeastern Container from maximizing the capacity of shipping trailers, resulting in the company paying to ship “air” for each load. Finally, cardboard containers are often pre-assembled to save time, and the fully assembled containers take up warehouse floor space. In the process of shipping billions of preforms, these issues add up.

Southeastern Container planned to address these problems by replacing the existing containers with a new version — a specialized returnable plastic bin. While the new folding bins are designed to significantly reduce costs and increase efficiency, each of them is nearly ten times the cost of a cardboard container. Thus, cycle counting would be introduced to track bin lifetimes against the number of cycles guaranteed by the manufacturer.

“We decided to cycle count for inventory control, traceability, and to validate bin lifetime, and we chose RFID tracking as the most effective method,” said John Underwood, Engineering Manager, Southeastern Container, Inc. “We already use barcoding extensively, and have looked at RFID on a number of occasions during the years. RFID was the right choice now because it’s affordable and the technology is at a point where it can provide the reliability and accuracy we need,” Underwood explained.

The solution: RFID system with Motorola handheld RFID readers and fixed readers and antennas

Southeastern Container worked with Motorola to architect an entire end-to-end solution to tackle this challenge. The system implementation started with a pilot RFID system for cycle counting the new bins. The solution includes Motorola XR440 industrial-class fixed RFID readers, Motorola AN400 RFID antennas, Motorola MC9090-G RFID rugged handheld readers, and OATSystems’ Oat Asset Track software. In addition, Southeastern Container relies on the Motorola Service from the Start program for repair coverage for its Motorola RFID handheld readers. They worked very hard to analyze the RFID tag selection with the Motorola devices to maximize successful reads for both full and empty bins.

Continue reading »

Filed under: Case Studies
Tags:

More than just a checkout, POS solution drives bottom-line efficiency

Posted May 13, 2010

Wasp QuickStore POS

Mastering the POS basics – quickly

As Rod Works was growing its business, the company struggled to find the right point of sale (POS) solution. In trying out various options, Rod Works fell into the same conundrum faced by many smaller retail businesses. Affordable POS systems marketed to small business lacked the high-level inventory functionality of the enterprise-sized systems used by large chain retailers. Yet these costlier solutions were too time-consuming for the small retailer to learn and use.

POS software should change your business to be more effective, not change your business just to use the software,” said Aaron Brackett, retail director for Rod Works. “We built our business in a what-if environment, where we continually evaluated best-case and worst-case scenarios for the future. That way, we could weather various financial circumstances and challenging economic times. As a result, we wanted a POS solution that provided great management insight and could grow with us over time – without costing a fortune.”

Five years ago, Rod Works purchased QuickStore POS from Wasp Barcode Technologies. Because the enterprise version of the software offers multi-location functionality, as the company grew it was able to install QuickStore at each of its four retail locations and two clearance centers, as well as its corporate headquarters and warehouse.

Designed for specialty stores, Wasp QuickStore strives to offer smaller retailers the same kinds of efficiencies that larger chains already enjoy from their expensive
enterprise-version POS products. These include high-end capabilities such as automated inventory tracking, e-mail invoices, report generation and more.

From shuffling items to managing inventory

Once Wasp QuickStore was in place as a checkout tool, customer satisfaction quickly increased. Rod Works then was ready to tackle its greatest challenge: bridging the gap between the warehouse and retail stores.

“We had struggled with this for years,” Brackett said. “We didn’t have an efficient way to identify store needs from the warehouse. This affected the entire process, from transferring product to the stores all the way up to product purchases. Too often, we had products sitting on warehouse shelves instead of store shelves.”

Continue reading »

Filed under: Case Studies
Tags:

Bank eliminates costly write-offs by Automating Inventory Control

Posted May 13, 2010

Wasp Inventory Control

Mired in spreadsheets

To serve its thousands of customers, Amarillo National Bank ordered large quantities of supplies, including deposit slips, banking forms, pens, paper and more. It relied on between 50 and 60 outside vendors to supply about 160 different items.

The purchasing department at the bank’s headquarters would order and store supplies for all 13 of its branch offices. When an individual office needed to replenish items, it would send a requisition to headquarters. The purchasing department would package and ship out the needed supplies.

Unfortunately, the bank’s inventory was being managed manually on two complex Excel spreadsheets. The first spreadsheet, which tracked vendors, featured between 50 and 60 tabs (one for each vendor) and 160 rows (one for each item). As items were received in stock, they were noted in the appropriate cell. Managing this spreadsheet took about one and a half to two hours per week. Plus, the process was prone to errors. If an error was inadvertently entered, back-tracking to find and correct the data was both time-consuming and frustrating.

The second spreadsheet included about 40 tabs (13 for branch offices and others for the various departments at headquarters), plus about 160 rows (one for each item). When a branch office or department faxed a requisition form, the purchasing agent would note in the spreadsheet which items were ordered. Each week, the agent spent from one and a half to two hours tabulating the orders for various departments and branches. The resulting sheet was sent to the accounting department, which would generate invoices for each branch office and department.

Because of the complexity of this process, numerous delays and errors would occur as the bank worked each month to reconcile inventory on hand and determine which items should be billed back to branch offices and departments.

The accounting department struggled to keep up with this time-consuming process. As a result, billing was constantly behind. This led to significant inventory write-offs of tens of thousands of dollars per year, since the bank could not account for the location of inventory items and bill for them in a timely manner.

Assigning costs – automatically

The bank knew it needed to eliminate the cost of inventory write-offs. Plus, accounting and purchasing personnel wanted an easier, faster way to order and account for items.

The bank purchased Wasp Inventory Control Pro, software that helps small businesses and departments within larger organizations know exactly how much inventory they have, where it is located, and what’s moving and what’s not.

Continue reading »

Filed under: Case Studies
Tags:

Lone Star College System automates asset management for big savings

Posted May 13, 2010

Wasp MobileAsset

Lost in the crowd

With over 70,000 students and employees, Lone Star College System (LSCS) owns and operates over 30,000 IT assets. Each of the community college’s five campuses and seven satellite centers was responsible for tracking its own equipment, including laptops, projectors, servers and switches. Many of the locations utilized Access databases or Excel spreadsheets for managing assets.

Relying on a manual asset tracking solution created multiple problems for technology managers and administration. Without a centralized database, it was difficult to locate specific IT assets.

The LSCS Vice Chancellor and CIO, Shah Ardalan, made having complete and accurate data a priority, and increased technology management accountability system-wide. An asset management solution was necessary to effectively track equipment lifecycles.

Continue reading »

Filed under: Case Studies
Tags:

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.

Continue reading »

Filed under: Case Studies
Tags:

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.

Continue reading »

Filed under: Case Studies
Tags:

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.

Continue reading »

Filed under: Case Studies
Tags:

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!

Continue reading »

Filed under: Case Studies
Tags:

SATO Label Gallery Certified for Microsoft Windows 7

Posted May 12, 2010

SATO Label GallerySATO, a pioneer in the Automatic Identification and Data Collection (AIDC) industry and a leader in barcode printing, labeling, and EPC/RFID solutions, announced today that its label design and printing software, SATO Label Gallery, has been certified as compatible with the latest Microsoft operating system, Windows 7. The Microsoft-designed certification tests represent the highest test standard for compatibility and reliability. The latest release of SATO Label Gallery™, LG3.2.2, successfully met the rigorous certification requirements, thus demonstrating compatibility with Microsoft’s latest operating systems standards.

SATO’s dedication to support the latest IT trends demonstrates its continued commitment to providing its highly valued partners the necessary tools to engage and empower their SATO customers. The Windows 7 compatibility will offer SATO business partners an extended platform to support advanced development for Windows-based applications and thus increase sales opportunities.

Continue reading »

Filed under: Product News
Tags: ,

Free Office Mobile 2010 for Windows 6.5 Mobile Computers

Posted May 12, 2010

Office 2010 ExcelIf you have a Windows Mobile handheld mobile computer with a previous version of Office Mobile, you can download Office Mobile 2010 for free from the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Office Mobile 2010 for Windows Mobile 6.5 includes new mobile versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and SharePoint Workspace. These new mobile versions offer a more touch-friendly layout and greater ability to work with documents on the phone – like editing PowerPoint presentations.

Filed under: Tips
Tags:

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »