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The Power of Mobile Printing in the Warehouse and Beyond

Posted June 12, 2012

In today’s precarious economic environment, global enterprises are experiencing a dual pinch: one, difficult times have cut operating budgets significantly, and rehiring to support growth after the contraction remains difficult; secondly, as investments in new equipment and systems have been delayed or denied, the optimization of warehouse and supply chain processes has become a critical factor in balancing costs, labor, and assets. What’s more, this optimization must occur while maximizing productivity and improving responsiveness to customer demands.

With the growing emphasis on cost cutting, companies need to find new and better ways to enhance efficiencies and ensure accuracy across their supply chains and distribution networks. One strategy that is still effective in helping achieve this goal is the implementation of greater mobility into warehousing and distribution functions through devices such as mobile printers.

According to a recent study, mobile devices and software commonly improve workforce production by 20 percent or more. This translates into lower labor costs, lower operating costs, and faster payback on investment. Such gains are not hard to envision. By minimizing the time needed to print labels and apply them to materials, work in process, finished goods, pallets, boxes, and so forth, mobile printers help drive down labor costs while improving performance on the warehouse and DC floors.

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Labeling Solutions for the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Industries

Posted April 9, 2012

Industry Need

The Health Industry Business Communications Council and the American National Standards Institute have developed the ANSI/HIBC standards for packed and item level bar coding for the health care industry. Bar code technology is a proven valuable tool for reducing labor costs, human error and automating data to improve the quality of patient care. Standards for proper identification can be found at http://www.hibcc.org.  Analytical diagnosis begins with specimen analysis in laboratories that submit samples to extreme conditions such as centrifugal separation, cryogenic freezing or autoclave sterilization.

Extreme applications have been at the core of Intermec’s business since the development of the bar code, with solutions ranging from pharmaceutical clean rooms designed for temporary ID to durable military code applications for transcontinental deployment.

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New Features in Bartender 10.0 – Now Includes Card Printing

Posted April 4, 2012

Card Printing, Advanced Drawing Functions, Major User-Interface Improvements, Data Type Support and much more.

BarTender version 10 began shipping on March 1st, 2012. Coming 25 years after the very first version of BarTender, version 10 is the biggest and most exciting software release in its history. Introducing ID card printing, truly professional drawing functions, and major user-interface improvements, BarTender now expands its industry leadership way beyond just label design and printing.

The new user-interfaces have also already been translated into the 22 additional languages supported by BarTender.

Card Printing and Encoding!

BarTender version 10 adds powerful features dedicated to the design, printing and encoding of ID cards, employee security badges, membership cards and just about any other plastic card. You can even encode smart cards and magnetic stripes!

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Mobile Medical Sample Labeling

Posted April 3, 2012

Industry Need

Medical testing provides key information to physicians, serving as a foundational tool for diagnosing patient conditions. Accuracy is critically important; mistakes can lead to undiagnosed illnesses or inappropriate treatments. Current specimen vial labeling methods, however, are error-prone. Handwritten labels are subject to interpretation and manual data errors; labels preprinted at a central station and carried to the patient location introduce the chance for mix-ups. Mobile sample labeling eliminates these opportunities for errors, enhancing patient safety. Printing on Intermec media ensures robust traceability, meeting the application requirements of sample labeling from the point of collection through challenging laboratory conditions.

Automatic identification technologies such as bar coding excel at eliminating human error. Within the high-touch medical environment these systems have steadily improved patient safety. Errors resulting from manual data entry are unacceptable in a diagnostic environment where they can lead to lost samples (increasing time to diagnose and treat) or mistaken patient identities (potentially leading to incorrect diagnosis and course of treatment).

Recognizing the persistence of these errors, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) has made improving the accuracy of patient identification the first goal of the 2010 National Patient Safety Goals document. This goal requires blood and specimen containers to be labeled in the patient’s presence. Printing sample labels in place and on-demand with ID scanned from the patient’s wristband eliminates multiple points of error, enhancing patient safety.

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Mobile Labeling in the Warehouse or Manufacturing Facility

Posted April 2, 2012

Industry Need

Bar coding is a critical component in maintaining accuracy and efficiency in a warehouse environment. Shipping, receiving, and cross docking, picking and packing, shelf labeling, and tote labeling applications are integral to successful operations. Increasingly, companies are leveraging mobile labeling solutions in these applications. By enabling workers to print labels at the point of activity, mobile solutions enable a more flexible workflow, increased productivity, and fewer errors. Intermec’s integrated mobile printer and Duratherm media products deliver a comprehensive array of choices to meet these needs.

Shipping, Receiving, & Cross Docking

Mobile printing solutions enable workers to quickly generate barcode labels and apply them directly to items as they are unpacked or staged for shipment. Workers wearing belt-mounted mobile printers can re-label pallets and individual cases on the spot, reducing transit time between pallets and a central label printing location to optimize efficiency.

Picking & Packing

The picker’s belt-mounted printer, responding to print commands from the wireless network, generates a pick ticket to guide order fulfillment. After collecting all items needed to close an order, this receipt material serves double duty as the customer’s packing slip. Once the order is scanned complete, a new pick ticket is automatically printed for the worker’s next task.

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IUID Item Unique Identification

Posted March 27, 2012

In October 2008, the US Department of Defense published version 2 of the UID (Unique Identification) guidelines requiring a broad range of assets to be marked with a 2 dimensional data matrix code that is unique at the item level. Implementation is increasing, covering both new items and assets already in service. With an extreme assortment of surfaces and durability requirements, finding a product to reliably track these items can pose a significant challenge. Intermec’s comprehensive UID media offering simplifies this daunting task with proven labeling solutions.

Mission-critical tracking has been at the core of Intermec’s business throughout its history. Intermec media offers a number of products available off-the-shelf to meet UID requirements, and offer custom materials and configurations to meet particularly stringent requirements. Using these proven products and printing technology to satisfy UID requirements limits exposure and minimizes cost of complying with this mandate.

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Horticultural Tracking

Posted March 27, 2012

Application Description

Horticultural tracking requirements place special demands on labels and tags. Long days in the hot sun, sudden downpours, wild temperature changes, and soil and fertilizer exposure can quickly compost typical label and tag products. However, the efficiency gained by accurately tracking plants through growth, care, and distribution does not have to degrade with the changing seasons. Intermec has the products and experience to enable reliable identification of these items from initial growth through final purchase.

Intermec Solution

For trees, shrubs, and vines, Intermec offers nursery tags in a variety of sizes, colors, and configurations. These self-locking tags shrug off outdoor conditions, allowing identification of these growing items from initial growth to final retail.

For pots, stakes, planters and other outdoor items, Intermec offers outdoor-durable labels and ribbons. Adhesives and label stocks that endure outdoor exposure for a year or more survive for the entire growing season; highly aggressive adhesives offer strong bonds on difficult-to-label items or tamper-evidence for retail labeling.

With Intermec thermal printers, these durable labels and tags can be custom-imaged onsite to meet immediate needs in the quantities required, eliminating long lead times and costly obsolescence. Colorful pre-printing can add logos, full-tint color, or provide simple solutions for large production quantities that do not need variable print.

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Durable Printing for Lockout/Tagout

Posted March 26, 2012

Industry Need

Ensuring employee safety is a foundational focus of any world-class industrial operation. Fully functional equipment has well-documented procedures and robust safeguards in place to eliminate hazardous conditions. However, during installation and maintenance, significant additional risks such as exposed sources of electricity, mechanical force, or pneumatic/hydraulic pressure are encountered. These risks are mitigated by a well defined set of lockout/tagout policies. As a frequently cited OSHA violation in 2009, the importance of compliant and effective procedures to fully de-energize and communicate equipment status is underscored. Selecting the optimal printers and media to support lockout/tagout helps ensure success of this critical process.

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Cryogenic Sample Tracking

Posted March 26, 2012

Industry Need

Modern life sciences commonly require long term preservation of biological material; cryogenic processing and storage provides a means to this end. With a large quantity of small samples in storage, accurate tracking is critical. Barcoded labels (with linear or 2D symbols) are the preferred method, but the extreme environmental stresses can cause failure with standard media.

Cryogenic conditions have become commonplace in multiple applications, ranging from pharmaceutical processing to lyophilization of vaccines. Cryopreservation of tissues and cell suspensions in small vials provides its own set of challenges, requiring conformability to small diameter surfaces and adhesion to low surface energy plastics such as polypropylene and polyethylene. Increasingly common cryogenic shipping of vaccines, tissues, and medicines in liquid nitrogen with temperatures as low as -112°F /-80°C now subjects a greater range of barcoded items to these stresses.

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Block Out Labeling

Posted March 23, 2012

Industry Need

Labels are commonly used to convey important information about the products they mark. However, an important element of labeling has become more prevalent: concealing inaccurate or out-of-date information previously in place. These kinds of labels can clearly communicate changed pricing without drawing customer attention, or may enable use of re-tasked or inaccurate packaging. Intermec’s specially designed Duratran and Duratherm Block Out labels provide this important function, reducing costs and improving efficiency.

  • Retail/Price Markdowns – When retail items need to be price-adjusted or product information must be modified, relabeling with a material that obscures the original information saves time and maintains the integrity of the original packaging.
  • Pharmacy/Unit Level Dose – On prescription items, labels are commonly applied over original packaging for distribution to the customer/patient. It is often important that the original printing does not show through. For reliable retail barcode scanning, it is critical to eliminate interference from underlying codes.
  • Warehouse/Logistics – In shipping and receiving operations, labels are sometimes applied to materials that frequently go through multiple use cycles. Shipping containers arriving in a facility can be reused to send materials to another facility by applying a new label over the existing label on the container. Previous information must not be visible through the newly applied label, especially in automated handling systems where it could interfere with routing of the container or carton.

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