One of the most challenging aspects in any business — big or small — is improving logistical efficiency with growth. As the ebb and flows of your business becomes more complicated, how do you build a network that sustains accuracy and productivity?
A key solution is finding reliable technology that enables you to trace and identify goods no matter where they are in the supply chain. In recent years, barcode systems have transformed business processes, allowing goods traceability along with all of the necessary, real-time data to save time, avoid mistakes, increase revenue, and significantly improve the bottom line. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the medical industry reduced its medication error by 86 percent by using barcode scanners over a nine-year period.
To provide today’s much needed end-to-end solutions, Netherlands-based company, Flextronics, specializes in every aspect of the logistics process from assembling to transporting products. The company loads 300 trucks with products every day to leave warehouses for deliveries across the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region. With operations in more than 30 countries, Flextronics processes an average of 819,000 pallets annually.
“We want to offer our customers a reliable service. This means that we need to have our logistics process in order,” says Johan Berghs, ICT Manager at Flextronics.
“For us to save time and money, it is important that goods are easy to trace. As we mainly transport expensive items, the security aspect is also extremely important. If these items didn’t have barcodes we would be considerably less productive.”
“Our distribution centre operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” continues Berghs. “The printers must be able to endure this intense heavy workload and need minimal maintenance. Of course, you cannot compare these at all with the printers used in an office environment.”
The Solution: Interconnectedness of an Entire System
To enhance overall asset tracking systems, companies can look to Flextronics, which uses different types of labels to more easily identify goods. As a result, the company uses more than 200 Zebra printers from mid-range, ideal for standard goods tracking; the high-performance Xi™ series, used for businesses specific to 24-hour environments; and the PAX™ series, print engines for automatically applying labels.
Each label printer is assigned to various units within Flextronics’ distribution center, and all of the printers are connected to the inventory management system. The inventory software interface is connected to SAP, as this is the standard software used by most of Flextronics’ customers.
“This system allows us to easily design the barcode labels ourselves, tailored to the customer’s specific wishes,” explains Berghs. “The labels are then printed out by our staff at our distribution centre and stuck on the product or pallet. We use Motorola scanners to read the barcodes and monitor the goods management process, providing the perfect combination. It is a stable system, which is important for our productivity.”
Related Article: What is Inventory Management Software?“The most important reason is to make the logistics processes more efficient,” he says. “We are often working under great time pressure. It is vital then that we don’t make any mistakes or waste time.”So, why use Zebra barcode printers? Berghs says the brand is “reliable and robust,” meaning maintenance costs are also low. “Industrial environments impose huge demands on printers,” he says. “They must be able to operate properly in dusty environments and keep going almost non-stop.
“Given that we have been happy with our printers’ performance for more than 7 years already, this shows that we are confident about the return on investment (ROI),” says Berghs
Additionally, Zebra printers are user-friendly, says Berghs, a key factor as to why Flextronics chose to use the brand. As the company prints out a lot of labels every day, delaying production with unnecessary operation hassles, like difficulties in tearing off labels or changing the roll when labels run out, is costly.
As the business world continues to move at a rapid pace, manufacturers have to keep up or risk losing out. An effective barcode labeling solution should be at the core of every business’ logistical system. With the right technology, companies can keep a tight and accurate control over goods whether in the warehouse or traveling across the country in delivery trucks. When using an end-to-end service like Flextronics, businesses thrive with real-time inventory management data that are vital to staying ahead of the competition.
To enhance your inventory management software with Zebra barcode printers, Click here to schedule a live, free consultation.
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