Category: Shop Management, Shop Floor Data Collection, Paperless

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Global Shop Solutions Certified Hardware and Media: More Than a Convenience – It’s a Must

When you decided to partner with Global Shop Solutions, you made a smart choice to simplify your manufacturing — from CRM, inventory management and agile project management, to job costing, scheduling, tracking and efficient quality management, every application you need is right at your fingertips.

These efficiency gains can quickly be lost, however, if you select barcode scanners and other shop floor hardware or media that’s incompatible or unreliable.

Selecting barcode scanners, printers, and label media can be overwhelming. Here is just a quick summary of the problems and challenges manufacturers’ experience:

  1. Mobile computer mishaps. Besides the dozens of brands to choose from, mobile computers come in six major varieties — basic, phone sized, full-sized, gun-grip, wearable, and fixed/vehicle mount. A basic mobile computer, for example, may be ideal for simple inventory and asset recording applications, but it doesn’t provide the advanced functionality necessary to run an instantly-updated inventory system like your Global Shop Solutions ERP solution offers. In addition to choosing the proper form factor, you have the choice of three scanner types — laser, long range laser, or 2D imager. A laser scanner is a common choice for reading 1D barcodes up close, but in a warehouse environment, for instance, the ability to read barcodes at up to 30 feet away can be a huge timesaver. Most mobile computers offer Wi-Fi connectivity, but there are additional types of connectivity you may need as well, such as Bluetooth (e.g., to connect to a mobile label printer) and/or WAN (wide area network) connectivity. The operating system (OS) is another important consideration. Some of the more popular choices are Windows Mobile or Windows CE, but some mobile computers use Palm OS, Android or a proprietary OS.
  1. Media mayhem. When it comes to choosing barcode labels, there are a myriad of pitfalls. A common we see is using direct thermal labels on items used outdoors or in hot environments. In these environments, direct thermal labels turn yellow and the font or image on the label will fade. If the heat is intense enough, the entire label can turn black, making it unreadable. Some companies learn this lesson the hard way after labeling thousands of products. If they’re lucky, the problem is caught before the product is shipped to a client and corrected. In some instances, we’ve heard of scenarios where large customers reject entire shipments based solely on the supplier using labels that were smudged, faded or just didn’t meet the retailers’ criteria.
  1. Printer perils. Printer options can be almost as complicated as mobile computers mentioned earlier. For instance, there are multiple types of printers, such as mobile barcode printers, desktop barcode printers, and industrial barcode printers. Among these printer types are various connectivity choices, such as USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet, and Serial ports. Additionally, some printers are designed to print no more than a few hundred labels a day. When used in environments where 500+ labels per day is the norm, these printers simply won’t hold up.
  1. A few words about warranties. Almost all mobile computers and printers come with manufacturer warranties, but these warranties typically cover a short period in the life of the hardware, and they usually only cover defects in workmanship and materials. If the hardware is damaged during use, for example, the warranty won’t cover it, and the unit will need to be replaced. Purchasing an extended warranty protects users from these scenarios, but that opens up a lot of other choices. How long of a warranty should you buy and from which provider?

As a Global Shop Solutions customer, all the above decisions have been simplified for you. We have partnered with EMS Barcode Solutions to provide you with the best options and pricing on shop floor hardware. EMS Barcode Solutions has already vetted and tested several types and categories of shop floor hardware, and we’ve certified that it works with our ERP software. In fact, EMS Barcode Solutions has created a custom landing page specifically for you where you can see these products for yourself. And, don’t worry, EMS Barcode will never ask you to make a buying decision based on a picture and a blurb; they offer free demo equipment and 30-day trials for everything they sell.

Eric Sutter
is a business development professional with more than 20 years of experience in barcoding, building solutions for asset tracking and warehouse management across a wide range of vertical markets. Sutter founded EMS Barcode Solutions on the premise that customers need more than data collection devices and software — they need solutions. By combining and integrating components such as mobile computers, software, labels, and ribbons with professional services, EMS delivers solutions that provide its customers with a tangible return on their investments.

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