India’s largest e-commerce company improves product-tracking efficiency with TSC ME240 printer

MARKET: Retail e-commerce
APPLICATION: Shipping labels/invoices, dispatch management, centralized printer health-status monitoring
MODEL: ME240

Background:
T-flip-kartFlipkart, a major Indian e-commerce company that owns the 10 most popular websites in India, was having trouble tracking its increasingly diversified online product offering – thousands of items ranging from movies, music, games, computers and mobile phones to stationery, clothing, toys, health care products and home appliances. The company’s old product-tracking system was unable to keep up with its rapidly expanding product line and high volume of customer orders.

Flipkart decided it needed to replace its aging product-labeling equipment with a reliable, easy-to-use barcode printer that would improve tracking efficiency and expedite goods delivery. The company issued a request for proposal for a barcode printer meeting the following requirements:

  • Barcode printer optimized for warehouse management and dispatch management
  • 24 x 7 operation
  • Expandable printer memory
  • Ethernet connectivity for improved printer working-status traceability
  • Centralized monitoring of remote printers
  • Linux OS integration
  • 203 dpi resolution logo printing (graphical) based on ZPL

Solution:
Flipkart decided to evaluate and test barcode printers from several manufacturers, including products from TSC and its Indian partner. The systems were graded based on reliability, durability, ease of use, programming support and service.

Working closely with Flipkart’s senior management and technical team and financial team, TSC and its Indian partner were able to develop a solution – with the ME240 printer as the centerpiece – that met all of Flipkart’s requirements, including the integration of the ME240 with Flipkart’s required application and logo printing (a performance feature competitors were unable to offer).

TSC’s solution included the following powerful performance features:

Performance and Monitoring Dashboard System (PMDS)
The TSC partner’s PMDS software enables Flipkart to monitor ME240 printers from any location via their Internet IP Address or MAC Address.

Dashboard software constantly monitors printers, providing following notifications:

  • Number of labels printed (per day and cumulative totals)
  • Printer stoppages and duration
  • Open print head and duration
  • Label-gap sensing problem
  • Out of label
  • Date wise error
  • Date wise labels
  • Error List:
    • Carriage Open
    • No Paper
    • Paper Jam
    • No Ribbon
    • Printer Offline
    • Head Open

 

Automatic Information System
If there is a print head problem or other major error, the TSC partner’s Automatic Information System automatically sends a Short Message Service (SMS) to a specified representative at Flipkart and to the partner’s Division technical engineer or Division head. The software also will send a notification if there a problem (e.g. print head/ribbon finish/label finish) that lasts more than 20 minutes.

Dashboard Online Monitoring System
Using the TSC partner’s Dashboard Online Monitoring System, an administrator sitting at a central location can view the status of ME240 printers installed around the globe. The web-based application connects printers directly via an Ethernet LAN Switch, extracting information from printers using their IP address or MAC identification and uploading software updates remotely.

TSC passes technical evaluation, wins competition
After undergoing a series of demonstration and application tests, the ME240 passed all of its technical evaluations and met all of the following Flipkart requirements:

  • Designed Dashboard to monitor all the 260 printers from all locations.
  • Deployed Dashboard to manage from a central location all 260 printers across multiple remote sites.
  • Fully integrated Linux.
  • Provided “out of the box” emulation of popular ZPL printer language, making it easy to print FlipKart’s logo.
  • Maximized memory with 4 GB SD card.
  • Eliminated Flipkart’s planned purchase of 280 laser printers
  • Helped design an information label that also serves as an invoice (see below).

Benefits:

  • Reduced costs
  • Lower error rates
  • Enhanced process efficiency
  • Real-time printer-status monitoring
  • Rapid error notification
  • Plug-and-play Zebra™ and Eltron™ language emulation

Swiss retail group implements the CipherLab 1500 handheld scanner throughout Europe

Profile
The Swiss retail group Valora is implementing new technology at its points of sale (POS). The Muttenz-based company is using handheld scanners from CipherLab to improve its performance in three areas that are decisive to remaining competitive and increasing market share: speed, economic efficiency and reliability.

Valora, with around 9,000 employees, 1,400 sales outlets and 60,000 wholesale customers in ten countries, is one of the most successful retail companies in Europe. It concentrates on consumer markets with high sales potential through the following corporate divisions: Valora Retail for small retail outlets at frequently visited locations, Valora Media, responsible for selling media products, and Valora Trade, the distribution partner for food and non-food brand name articles.

cipherlab-1500-1560-15622.jpgIt is a company driven in every respect by trade and fast and reliable data input has always been crucial to it. Christian Würger, Head of Corporate IT Operation and Support at Valora, remembers the initial plans regarding the evaluation of new barcode readers for all sales outlets of the Swiss retail organization: “We wanted to introduce a new inventory management system for 1,100 sales outlets.” The team quickly dropped the idea of using the cash register scanners for scanning incoming goods. This didn’t work because the scanners could not resolve certain items of information satisfactorily.

Reason enough then for Valora to look for an alternative, which was found in the offer from Zurich-based Dataphone AG and including the CipherLab barcode scanner. Würger: “After performing extensive tests, it was clear that the CipherLab scanner performed much better than any of the other solutions. We therefore decided to order 1,100 devices for our Swiss sales outlets.”

In addition to being easier to operate than the rival products, data input is much faster with the models from CipherLab. “Data transfer is much faster. Delivery notes appear on the screen as soon as the button is pressed,” says Würger. A short delay was often noticed after scanning products using devices from competitors. The scanners from CipherLab were extremely reliable though, recognizing all barcodes that were scanned.

“The price was also a decisive factor”
Würger was not only impressed with the technical qualities of the device – the scanners from CipherLab also fulfilled his economic expectations: “The price was obviously not an unimportant factor”. Valora tested “We tried the expensive scanner and found that the value and performance of CipherLab 1500 are far more better.”

The barcode scanner’s new area of application: with the CipherLab 1500, each sales outlet is now equipped with a device for use in the back office or connected directly to the cash register. The scanner, which is plug-and-play connected via USB, scans the barcodes on the delivery notes that Valora requires to ensure consistent inventory management. They can also be used as emergency replacements in the event that the scanners connected to the cash registers malfunction. All data is then transferred to the central server, which is connected to the inventory management system.

Stefan Gerats, Sales Director Central Europe at CipherLab, explained the technical details of the 1500 series: “The CipherLab 1500 was developed especially for use in the retail trade industry, the health services sector and the public sector and can be mounted in three ways. It can be fixed to the wall, placed on a work surface or used as a higher level auto-sense scanner unit.” This makes the scanner suitable for use on shop counters, in all areas along the production chain as well as in environments with a high level of usage, says Gerats. “The new scanner is equipped with ScanMaster, software that allows individual configuration. Two hundred decodings per second guarantee a high level of productivity.” Repair and maintenance costs for the CipherLab 1500 are also low as it contains no laser or moving parts. Gerats: “This is why we provide a five-year guarantee.” The Valora manager, Würger, could confirm these comments almost instantly: “We had no previous experience with CipherLab and were positively surprised with its error-free scans, reliability and the convincing value for money it offers.”

Rugged TSC Alpha-3R helps with parking ticket enforcement

Background:
To expedite parking ticket processing, Taiwan municipalities increasingly rely on handheld citation writers and automated parking management systems to more efficiently issue traffic tickets. The mobile technology decreases human error and handwriting errors, while streamlining city parking operations and generating increased ticket revenue.

Solution:
T-Parking_Alpha-3RIssuing operators ride eco-friendly electric motorcycles to patrol in designated parking areas. Using a hand-held PDA and TSC’s Alpha-3R mobile printer, parking enforcement can complete and print a parking citation in 5 seconds or less. All relevant vehicle information – license plate number, model, car brand, and parking location – is first scanned and populated into the appropriate application fields using the PDA. Two barcodes, the first recording the name of the private agency responsible for the parking citation and the second storing a record of onsite parking photos, are also included in the citation.

The data is then transferred quickly and securely from the PDA to the Alpha-3R via Bluetooth, and the ticket is immediately printed. A printed citation is then left on the driver’s windshield.
Information from the traffic tickets is uploaded at the end of each shift for immediate entry to a parking management database. The database stores all traffic citation records for three years in the event a parking violator decides to challenge his ticket. Electronic ticketing devices and mobile printing systems like TSC’s Alpha-3R deliver accuracy and convenience wherever ticketing operators take them.

Benefits:
• Improved efficiency and accuracy
• Fast print speed increased ticket revenue
• Bluetooth data connection for printing parking tickets and automated record tracking
• High-capacity 2500 mAh Lithium batteries for extended all-day performance
• Compatibility with different ticket widths, allowing operators to easily switch ticket formats
• IP54-rated dust and water-resistant case designed to protect the printer and keep it
operating in harsh weather conditions

CipherLab CP30 mobile computer prevents rat infestation

Overview

Customer : BioTec-Klute
Country : German
Industry : Public health
Application : Field service
Product Solution : CP30 mobile computer
Partner : AISCI Ident

The pest control company BioTec-Klute has equipped its field service technicians with new mobile data collection devices (MDE) of CipherLab CP30 type. They provide reliable information on the kind and the intensity of the infestation and thus further increase the pest control efficiency. The implementation partner is AISCI Ident, a specialist for automatic identification.

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