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Newcastle NB Series Mobile Powered Carts used for Mobile High-Volume Printing Stations

Posted May 18, 2010

Newcastle NB470

“Operators would attempt to carry multiple tickets and other documentation back and forth to the parts staging. There were significant quality issues of wrong paperwork being attached to the wrong job.”

About the Company*:

The company is a leading global manufacturer of agricultural and construction equipment with about 11,300 dealers in 170 countries and net sales of ~$18.5 billion.
*It’s the customer’s policy to keep the company name withheld.

With 1.3 million sq. ft of office, warehouse and yard space, the Indianapolis Distribution Center (IDC) located in Lebanon, IN is the company’s largest depot in North America, stocking over 240,000 sku’s.

Application Description:

The IDC receives multiple large shipments and then ships smaller orders to their regional distribution centers throughout North America.

Challenge:

There was one central area where 8 – 9 operators would walk to 1 stationary PC/printer station. Here, they would print multiple product labels, depot tickets, routing tickets, and other documentation.

According to the IDC’s Ops Manager, "Operators would attempt to carry multiple tickets and other documentation back and forth to the parts staging. There were significant quality issues of the wrong paperwork being attached to the wrong job."

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Convenience Store Cultivates Customers, Boosts Profits with Computerized POS System

Posted May 18, 2010

Star TSP100A woman rushes into a convenience store, looking for a loaf of her favorite brand of bread, one dozen eggs and a can of the ground coffee her husband likes best. She locates the items right away and brings them to the cashier, who quickly scans and bags them. In less than five minutes, she is out the door and on her way home.

Today, scenarios like this are the regular order of business for Bobby Patel, owner of three ABC Convenience Store locations in Northwest Georgia. But not long ago, things were quite different. Because the stores used traditional cash registers, clerks were unable to check the cost of merchandise that was not clearly marked with a price. Long lines would form while cashiers determined what they should charge for unmarked items, causing frequent frustration on customers’ part. A slow dot matrix receipt printer also contributed to delays at the cash registers, while a lack of inventory management capability made it difficult for Patel to formulate accurate orders for his vendors.

For help, Patel turned to a VAR that specializes in equipping small businesses with high-caliber POS hardware and software at affordable prices. After a careful evaluation, the VAR put together a solution for each store that comprises Cash Register Express Pro version 12.0 POS software from pcAmerica, running on an HP RP3000 PC; plus a Star Micronics TSP100 futurePRNT receipt printer, with an auto-cutter feature. Other components of the solution include a Motorola LS9208 omni-directional laser bar code scanner; an Elo 1515L touchscreen; an HP cash drawer, keyboard, and mouse; and a Logic Controls LD9000 pole display.

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Filed under: Case Studies

SATO Corporation Celebrates 70th Anniversary

Posted May 17, 2010

SATOSATO Corporation, a pioneer in the Automatic Identification and Data Collection (AIDC) industry and a leader in barcode printing, labeling, and EPC/RFID solutions, celebrates its 70th Anniversary in 2010.

SATO Corporation, with headquarters in Japan, was established in 1940 to manufacture and sell packaging machinery. In 1962, SATO was a pioneer in introducing one of the first hand-held labelers and established operations as an international supplier of labeling machinery. The U.S. subsidiary was established in 1977 and eventually became SATO America, Inc. in 1987. During that period, SATO developed the world’s first thermal transfer barcode printers for JAN/UPC/EAN POS systems and became the leader in applying the technology to the market.

SATO has remained at the forefront of thermal printing technologies. Our product line includes direct thermal and thermal transfer printers, OEM print engines, printer accessories, label design software, labels and thermal transfer ribbons. Today, SATO continues its tradition of designing and manufacturing high quality printers for a wide variety of industries and applications that deliver reliable and dependable performance with every print job.

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Seagull BarTender 9.3 Barcode Label Design and Printing Software Now Shipping

Posted May 14, 2010

Here’s a summary of what’s new in Seagull Bartender 9.3. For more extensive details on all of the new features, please see What’s New in BarTender 9.3 (PDF).

The World’s Most Powerful Scale Support

BarTender can now directly accept data from weighing scales. Simply drag the scale control from the on-screen toolbox into a data entry form, specify the desired model, and start weighing and printing!

  • Easy Design: Simply “drag and drop” into forms. (Choose from 8 different scale displays.)
  • Compatible: Predefined support for a variety of industry-standard scale models.
  • Tare Support: Use the value built into the scale or source it from a field in your database.
  • Versatile: Have either your scale or your PC determine when you have a “stable weight.”

More Powerful Print-Time Data Entry Forms

Now it’s easier than ever to design powerful, user-friendly data entry forms when it is desirable to prompt users for certain data at print-time.

  • New Controls: Many more data entry objects, including radio buttons, check boxes, weighing scales, and pictures.
  • Drag and Drop: Create controls and link them to label data sources with simple mouse motions.
  • More Versatile: Now, optionally design forms without designing your labels first.
  • Automatic Text: Most form controls are now automatically created with text objects right next to them, which saves you that extra step.
  • Pop-Up Tips: Optionally pop up helpful hints when your users hover their cursor over selected form controls. 

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Hypercom L5000 Series Payment Terminals for Multilane Merchants

Posted May 14, 2010

Hypercom L5300Interactive Multimedia, Cordless Bluetooth, Barcode Scanning, Linux Operating System and Top Security Deliver Revolutionary Multi-Purpose Capabilities and Flexibility

Hypercom Corporation today introduced the L5000, a revolutionary new product family of customer-facing, multipurpose, multimedia payment terminals featuring the broadest range of functional and communication capabilities for the widest spectrum of multilane retailers.

Hypercom’s L5000 family represents the industry’s most comprehensive line of high performance, multilane terminals that will connect to any point-of-sale register system with any communications protocol including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth®.

The new product lineup enables multiple in-store use beyond the traditional checkout line, including in-aisle product locating, barcode price checking, health insurance card processing at the pharmacy, gift card loading and wedding registry processing at kiosks.

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Zebra Supports Philips Roll out Largest RFID Supply Chain

Posted May 13, 2010

Zebra R-2844-Z RFID Printer

Challenge

Philips Semiconductors is a top 10 supplier of semiconductors with several top three positions in targeted markets such as RFID technology, where over 1 billion chips are sold into RFID & contactless smartcard markets. From its manufacturing facility in Kaohsiung Taiwan, to its distribution center in Hong Kong alone, the company ships and tracks several million wafer cases and carton packages per year. To ensure warehouse efficiency and customer service satisfaction, Philips’ semiconductor manufacturing and distribution supply chain must operate at the most efficient levels of inventory turns, stacked lead time and delivery reliability.

Philips looked to the latest in radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to improve efficiency in its supply chain. A leader in the RFID market, Philips has been offering business improvement solutions to its customers since 1988. “We decided to take the RFID technology we’ve been offering customers and use it internally to get the benefits ourselves,” said Mathieu Clerkx, CIO and senior vice president, Philips Semiconductors. “We have a great deal of experience in providing RFID chips to the market, and we decided it was time for us to benefit from the technology ourselves by implementing it in our own supply chain.”

With implementation costs of RFID in the supply chain still high, and the long time needed to achieve quantity at a low cost, most vendors have taken a ‘wait and see’ attitude. Philips knew that RFID would be advantageous to its business processes and thus to its customers. This was the impetus for Philips: to prove that RFID could benefit the integral supply chain and at the same time, be at the forefront to showcase a successful deployment of RFID on such a large scale. With goods being RFID-ready, Philips and its customers could benefit from low cost and time efficiency. This in turn would eventually generate maximum returns on investment.

As with all changes to existing workflows, it was necessary for Philips to first identify the areas which could benefit from the introduction of RFID. Philips decided to carry out an initial rollout in Kaohsiung Taiwan manufacturing facility and Hong Kong and identified a number of processes in both locations which could be improved. The company then developed a view of the future processes they wanted to implement and installed a change process to manage the transition. As RFID technology addresses operating efficiencies, Philips focused on getting benefits as quickly as possible by addressing those areas which would gain most.

Solution

Philips chose Zebra Technologies as a partner in the project because of its diverse product portfolio and leadership in RFID. Globally, Zebra and Philips already had a long history of collaboration on RFID projects. As a pioneer in RFID printing/encoding technologies, Zebra has been researching and developing RFID ‘smart label’ technologies for over 10 years and was the first company to produce an integrated, on-demand RFID printer/encoder. Zebra has been working with some of the industry’s foremost technology companies in the advancement and development of RFID solutions.

An RFID test lab in one of Philips’ warehouses was set up by Zebra to conduct the initial tests, where Philips analyzed the results to calculate the potential ROI and benefit to customers. Based on the potential savings the RFID system delivered and the effective trial run, the company’s senior management made the decision to deploy the technology throughout the Kaohsiung and Hong Kong supply chain operations.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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