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Small Mobile Printers Make Big Difference for Tracking Government Port Activity

Posted July 14, 2010

Zebra Mobile Printers

When the Department of Defense (DoD) was looking for new bar code label and receipt printing solutions for a wide variety of demanding applications, Zebra Technologies clearly stood out from its competitors. Zebra’s line of rugged, mobile, and easy-to-use printers and accessories provided the speed, power, and durability that the DoD’s various agencies needed.

One of the agencies currently using Zebra® printers is the Virginia-based Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC), which provides worldwide single-port management, transportation and traffic-management services, and deployment planning and engineering for the DoD.

MTMC has used the Worldwide Port System (WPS) to account for military cargo being shipped around the world through water ports. This Automated Information System(AIS) supports MTMC units operating in both domestic and overseas water terminals.

An early proponent of the use of bar coded labels, the DoD has utilized Military Shipping Labels (MSLs) to label its unit equipment being transported around the world since the mid-1980s. The label included a linear bar coded Transportation Control Number, which functioned as the number by which cargo is tracked. Labels were scanned when cargo arrived at or left one of MTMC’s water ports, or when it was lifted or discharged from a military-owned or leased ship. Although this was an improvement over a totally manual process, scanning linear bar coded labels still required significant human resources to track and manage cargo coming in and out of its ports around the world.

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Zebra Ensures Reliability for Innovative DOD RFID Compliance Service

Posted July 14, 2010

Zebra R110xi

Challenge
Many suppliers to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)—especially those who use radio frequency identification (RFID) printer/encoders and supplies from Zebra Technologies — have learned that producing accurate RFID labels for shipments is the easy part of meeting the DOD’s compliance requirements. The hard part is matching shipments to contract numbers and orders, generating the documentation for each shipment and electronically submitting it to the DOD’s Wide Area Workflow (WAWF) and other computer systems.

“RFID labels are just one part of meeting the DOD’s requirements,” says Anne Ramppen, government products coordinator at New Dynamics, which provides monthly shipments of earplugs to the DOD. “The Wide Area Workflow system needs contract numbers, CAGE codes, and product numbers, and each RFID label number associated with each shipment is also required—that’s a lot of numbers to be typing in.”

“The term ‘slap-and-ship’ is a gross over-simplification of the reality of meeting the DOD RFID mandate,” says Cotty England, chief technology officer of Odyssey RFIDTM. “The common misconception is that generating the RFID tag is the core challenge, but as the DOD’s commercial suppliers get actual exposure to RFID, they quickly realize that the core challenges are the work flow process control, flexibility and seamless WAWF integration.”

Solution
Data management is a common problem for DOD suppliers. Odyssey RFIDTM has created a solution to handle data entry, encoding, label printing and reporting needs by pairing an easy-to-use Web-based application for data entry with reliable Zebra printer/encoders to output compliant shipping labels.

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Patient Wristbanding: The Advantages of Thermal over Laser Solutions

Posted June 10, 2010

Executive Summary

Bar code systems help hospitals deliver accurate information in a variety of patient care and clinical settings, making them an important component in improving patient safety and process efficiencies. Therefore, these systems should be developed and executed with care, using dedicated printers that are optimized to provide reliable, accurate bar code output.

When hospitals evaluate their patient wristbanding solution, they often consider modifying existing laser printing systems to do the job. While many laser printers are capable of outputting bar codes, dedicated thermal printers are a more reliable, efficient and cost-effective option.

This white paper will explain the differences in thermal versus laser printing for patient wristbanding in hospitals and will provide an overview of the four reasons thermal printing is a better solution, including:

  • Enhanced Patient Safety

  • Lower Total Cost of Ownership

  • Patient Comfort

  • Ease of Use

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Zebra RW4-PS: RW 420 Print Station Introduction Responds to Mobile Workforce Industry Demands

Posted June 9, 2010

Mobile printer offers slimmer, lighter profile, smaller form factor for increased productivity in the mobile workforce

Zebra Technologies, a global leader in specialty printing and automatic identification solutions, today announces the new RW 420 Print Station (model RW4-PS), a printer and hand-held in one unit. The RW4-PS enhances worker productivity by delivering more efficient and effective mobile equipment management. Now workers will carry less equipment and fewer charging devices, allowing for quick end-user adoption.

The RW4-PS is designed to address the evolving business challenges of the mobile workforce by incorporating Zebra’s mobile printing technology into a single, compact, lightweight and rugged unit capable of supporting the Motorola MC70 and MC75 handheld terminals. Zebra engaged companies such as Andrews Distributing, one of the most successful beer distributors/wholesalers in the country, to gather input on the features and usability of the RW print station.

“The Zebra RW 420 Print Station increases worker output and maximizes efficiencies to the supply chain,” said Marty Johnson, product marketing manager, Zebra Technologies. “This new product helps the mobile worker visit more customers, reduce service time to serve existing customers and relieves the burden of carrying multiple devices and products or making multiple trips to the vehicle.”

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How Mobile Printing Benefits Warehouse Operations

Posted June 8, 2010

Mobile Printers

Executive Summary

To maintain accuracy and efficiency in warehouses and distribution centers, bar coding and radio frequency identification (RFID) systems are indispensable. Businesses can enhance these benefits by using mobile printers to produce and attach bar code and RFID labels at the point of application. Supplementing stationary bar code and RFID printing operations with mobile printers can reduce operator errors, streamline operations associated with labeling in inconvenient locations, and eliminate costs associated with correcting errors.

Using mobile printers to eliminate the distance that workers travel to pick up labels can boost productivity, often providing a full return on investment (ROI) in less than a year when used in warehouse, distribution center, and other industrial environments. The ROI is especially strong for facilities with existing wireless LANs, because a relatively small incremental investment in mobile printers creates new ways to increase efficiency, reduce operator errors, and leverage the wireless infrastructure investment.

RFID is an automatic identification technology that relies on radio frequency (RF) waves to read encoded digital data. RFID is similar to bar code technology in concept. Unlike a bar code, RFID does not require a visible tag or label to read its stored data.

This white paper shows where it makes sense to supplement bar code and RFID labeling operations with wireless and/or mobile printers by:

  • Identifying common operating procedures in warehouses and distribution centers that mobile/wireless printing can improve.

  • Illustrating how businesses can prevent common operator labeling errors by printing at the point of activity.

  • Providing real-world examples of how mobile printing systems have improved operations.

  • Presenting formulas and guidance for creating an ROI calculation.

  • Describing how mobile printers can be integrated with wireless LANs and batch operating systems.

  • Presenting an overview of mobile printing technology and capabilities.

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Free Zebra ZXP Series 8 Card printer Enhancements

Posted June 7, 2010

Zebra ZXP Series 8New firmware and driver software for the Zebra ZXP Series 8 retransfer card printer includes a number of enhancements:

Firmware V 1.22

  • Improved calibration for improved image placement
  • Improved magnetic stripe encoding ISO compliant
  • Reduction in flash when printing/transferring to a card
  • YMCKi ribbon support which also reduces the flash on the magnetic stripe and contact smart cards
  • Requires driver V1.02

Driver V 1.02

  • YMCKi ribbon support
  • Certified Microsoft® drivers for Windows® XP, Windows Vista® , Windows Server® 2003
  • Requires firmware V 1.22

Download the new firmware and driver

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New Zebra RW 420 Print Station—Mobile Workers Carry Less, Do More

Posted June 7, 2010

The Zebra RW 420 Print Station builds on Zebra’s success in the mobile workforce market by further enhancing worker productivity and efficiency. This single, compact, lightweight and rugged mobile workforce tool integrates the RW 420 printer directly into the unit’s design, can house a removable Motorola MC70 or MC75 mobile computer, and enables both printer and handheld to be charged at once.

The RW 420 Route Palette continues to satisfy customers who prefer a fixed handle and both a removable printer and handheld terminal, the RW 420 Print Station (aka RW4-PS) expands Zebra’s offering to appeal to customers who prefer a smaller form factor and lower cost. Companies want to reduce strain on mobile workers who already have a lot to carry in their jobs. Now workers can carry less and do more.

Benefits for Companies Currently Using Separate Devices or Manual Processes

Ideal for route accounting, direct store delivery, field service/sales, and e-citation, the integrated solution makes mobile workers’ jobs easier and more productive, and helps businesses reduce operating costs.

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Over 125 Million Zebra Wristbands Sold

Posted June 7, 2010

Zebra Technologies announced today that it has sold more than 125 million of its patient Z-Band wristbands worldwide which will help prevent the number of deaths that are caused by medical errors.

More than 100,000 Americans die annually in U.S. hospitals because of avoidable medical errors, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), which also reports that medical errors rank as America’s eighth leading cause of death – higher than auto accidents or breast cancer. However, organizations like The Joint Commission are continuously committed to improving health care for the public by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in risk-reduction activity.

“Since 1995, Zebra has been committed to the patients and healthcare facilities of the world by developing industry-leading thermal transfer technology that helps track patient and medication information, thereby reducing errors,” said Anders Gustafsson, chief executive officer, Zebra Technologies. “Of the 125 million wristbands Zebra has sold, more than 50 percent were in the last 18 months. This increase can be directly tied to the dramatic rise in the adoption rate of bedside bar code medication administration, which requires scanning a patient’s wristband and then scanning the medication before administering it to the patient.”

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Great Styles, Great Service, and Great Gift Cards Printed on Site with Zebra Card Printers Print Gift Cards on Site for shopLAstyle.com

Posted May 20, 2010

Zebra P330iCynthia Rojas’ original concept behind shopLAstyle.com was to create a site that features great Los Angeles based designers.

“Some great designers, such as Louis Verdad, Gorjana, and Vince, are based out of LA and we were very excited to be one of the first sites to ever carry these lines,” explains Rojas. “Later, we came across terrific lines such as Rebecca Taylor and Notify, who happen to be based out of New York and Italy respectively, and we just couldn’t pass them up. So, although we mainly carry Los Angeles designers, we won’t pass up lines that aren’t LA based.

“We provide our customers with great clothing from a variety of designers and an easy to use site that gets orders quickly to our customers, for which we get raves,” adds Rojas. “From simple C & C California tees designed by two California girls to the sexy, yet feminine, designs of Sass and Bide, designed by two Aussie girls, ShopLAstyle has evolved into a site that is dedicated to showing our customers exciting fashions that can’t necessarily be bought elsewhere.

“Because fashion is constantly changing, so does our site. We receive new merchandise on a weekly basis so customers check back often and sign up for our mailing list to receive emails about new items and special offers,” Rojas emphasizes. “That’s why we felt it was so important to create our own gift cards on site and on-demand. Buying a large quantity of pre-printed gift cards from an outside vendor didn’t make sense to us.”

The solution to the client’s ID verification issues was to create a custom application that would provide real-time verification of ID credentials and access authorization using wireless portable data terminals and Zebra P640i card printers. The enhanced features of the P640i enabled the issuance of highly secure ID badges that serve both as employee identification and access verification. While the current system utilizes bar code technology to verify each distinctive credential, it is designed to accommodate migration to new ID cards armed with UHF RFID technology. UHF RFID credentials enhance ID verification by leveraging time and distance as factors in data recognition and retrieval.

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Zebra Mobile Printers and Motorola Mobile Computers Help Chicago Gasoline Hauling Company Improve Efficiency and Service to Customers

Posted May 20, 2010

Zebra RW 420McMahon Cartage is a gasoline hauling and delivery company that services gas stations and trucking companies in the Chicago area. It employs 32 drivers to deliver approximately 5. 5 million gallons of gas a week to more than 300 gas stations.

Challenge

Three years ago, McMahon Cartage determined that its delivery system was inefficient and decided to streamline the process. “In the old system, a gas station owner called the distributor; then the distributor called us and we entered the load into the system; finally, we called the driver to give him the information,” John McMahon, vice president of McMahon Cartage, explains. “Each delivery had to go through four people before it made it to the driver. As a result, there was a lot of miscommunication and wasted time. ”

“Because we had so many steps in the process,”McMahon continues, “there were more chances of making mistakes. Plus, we had no way to track our orders. If something went wrong, everyone was pointing fingers at someone else. ”

In addition to the lack of accountability, drivers often got lost on their routes or wrote down the wrong name of the gas station on their order, resulting in the driver being held responsible for the billing inaccuracy, which could mean as much as $30,000 taken out of his or her paycheck.

“I spent a lot of time organizing the drivers’ schedules. In order to keep route errors down, I placed drivers only on routes that were familiar to them,” notes McMahon. “I wanted to ensure that our drivers could focus on driving safely to their destinations instead of having to worry about looking down at a map or getting lost. ”

So, the company began searching for a solution that would track orders more efficiently and make deliveries faster, as well as minimize the time customers spent placing orders.

Solution

McMahon Cartage selected an integrator of wireless, bar code and mobile solutions, to establish an online ordering system for scheduling delivery to gas stations. With Digital Fuel Solutions, the Web-based program developed by McMahon Carthage, delivery process time has been cut in half by allowing customers and distributors to order their gas online. The online orders are then given directly to the drivers via a Motorola® handheld device. After the driver delivers the gasoline, he prints a receipt using a Zebra® printer, eliminating errors and illegible writing.

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