Park Logisitics - Creating Supply Chain Solutions

Park Logistics - Creating supply Chain Solutions

Creating Supply Chain Solutions
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The mobile revolution

Jörk Schüßler, European Marketing Manager for Citizen Systems Europe, explains how leaps in the capabilities of mobile devices are being supported by advances in portable barcode printing technology.

The mobile revolution, sparked by technology such as Apple’s iPhone, holds the potential to revolutionise the way in which bar codes are designed, produced and used. Ultimately, however, in most applications a bar code still has to be printed before it can be scanned. Although the science of printing has not leapt forward at the same rate of that for mobile scanning and data recognition, portable printer technology has nonetheless been quietly evolving in the background. The latest generation of portable printers have been made smaller, lighter and more robust, while incorporating greater functionality, performance and a longer battery life; this additional functionality has included Wifi and Bluetooth, offering further benefits in warehouse and logistics applications. Mobile printing is now a major focus for manufacturers and cloud computing via mobile devices is leading customers to request facilities to print from mobile devices, which is why the market leaders are expanding their capability to print from mobile devices.

The development of portable printers is being driven by the need for fast and reliable printing virtually anywhere in any commercial facility, such as in the logistics industry where a delivery driver will print and directly apply a tracking label to a package that has already been loaded onto the truck for dispatch. This eliminates the need to go to a central point to collect labels and printouts and thus brings significant improvements in efficiency and productivity.

Operational flexibility can be increased through the use of this new generation of portable handheld printers, which can ensure long print runs without the need for frequent media changes. High capacity Lithium Ion batteries enable the capability to print for long periods with easy to change power modules giving extended day-long operation, without the need for recharging. Two station multi-chargers are normally available and give non-stop capabilities where prolonged continued use is required.

Many of today’s mobile printers are simple to integrate into mobile data capture and output systems, using standard wireless communication, including Bluetooth and WiFi, as well as serial and USB connections to other equipment. And because they are low weight, small and compact, they are easy to move about and carry on belt loops and wrist straps. Equally, they can be positioned in fixed locations and are tough and hard wearing enough for even in the most challenging of warehouse environments.

In order to work effectively and enable efficient stock management, barcode printers must print clearly and consistently. Discrepancies in barcode printing can lead to scanning errors and even product recalls, damaging customer relationships and increasing costs, but the latest printers from the market leaders minimise the likelihood of error. For example, the CMP-20 and CMP-30 mobile printers from Citizen have been designed to provide quick and easy media change over with drop-in paper loading and paper out indicators, while simple feed paths eliminate the risk of tangling or jamming. These innovative elements help to improve efficiency considerably and reduce the risk of human error in warehousing and logistics applications, leaving staff then being free to focus on more important tasks. The printers also feature an integral tear bar to cut paper to the required length, while the robust construction of the units means they can withstand being dropped from up to 1.2m.

The leading label and barcode printer manufacturers now supply a comprehensive range of portable printers to meet many specific application requirements in terms of functionality. In addition, support is provided by value added resellers who are able to evaluate the available technologies and provide the most suitable barcode and label system to help warehouse and logistics operators identify the solution that will enable them to carry out tasks effectively.

Appropriate labelling is critical to the success of any warehouse and logistics business, allowing products to be identified and tracked as they pass through every stage of the supply chain. Over the last 25 years, bar coding has fulfilled this role, becoming the standard labelling method for product packaging; in the future, the ability to produce this product information in a simple, compact and universally recognised format will become ever-more reliable, thanks to enhancements in technologies such as mobile bar code printing.

Citizen System Europe

Jörk Schüßler

Tel: 020 8893 1900


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