Mobile Printing Streamlines Supply Chain and Warehouse Processes
Efficient mobile printing requires a solution that delivers wireless-enabled communications, unmatched usability and versatile label encoding options. Zebra & Renovotec offers a complete range of mobile handheld and forklift mountable wireless printers that meet diverse environmental and application needs for both barcode and RFID labelling, as well as all the media supplies & accessories you might need.
Zebra mobile printers extend the functionality of centralised thermal transfer printers, enabling workers to print labels wherever and whenever they need them. Printing labels on the spot, on demand, improves worker productivity by eliminating the travel and dwell time to and from a centralised printer. Operations also benefit from improved accuracy and quality control by ensuring the right label is applied to the right item.
- Embedded with common language support, Zebra mobile printers can create barcode or
- RFID labels using the same commands as with other Zebra tabletop or desktop printers.
- Workers can print complex labels, symbologies and graphics quickly and easily. Zebra mobile
- printers enable several wireless connectivity options including 802.11, Bluetooth®, and dual
- radio support for using Bluetooth and WLAN on the same printer.
The most effective way to improve efficiency and keep labour costs under control is to minimise the amount of time required to label materials, work in process, finished products, boxes and pallets. Centralised labelling solutions significantly reduce productivity and inject inaccuracies; thus, even the slightest improvement to the handling process will yield significant cost savings.
Barcode and RFID labels are by far the fastest and most accurate method to identify and track materials and products throughout the supply chain and within warehouses and distribution centres. Used in multiple industries, centralised printing stations affix barcodes and RFID labels to the materials, finished goods and packages. When integrated with enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, these systems are a proven solution for significantly boosting operational efficiencies and reducing costs. However, tightening the supply chain even further calls for mobile printing solutions that equip workers with seamless mobility throughout the warehouse—wherever and whenever they need it.
By using mobile wireless printers at the receiving dock to issue goods receipts, Driscoll Strawberry Associates reduced the time to process receiving transactions by 25 percent.
A common practice for warehouse operations is to print batches of labels for incoming goods at a central IT office after receiving an advance ship notice (ASN) from a supplier. The labels are stored in the office and retrieved by a receiving worker when the shipment arrives. This process requires receiving dock staff to undergo time-consuming round trips between the dock and the office and creates the possibility of incorrect label attachment to the shipment.
Mobile label printers enable productivity gains and accuracy improvements by eliminating this manual, round-trip process. For example, workers can use forklift-mounted mobile printers to apply barcode or RFID labels on incoming materials immediately as they are unloaded from the receiving dock. This procedure ensures items are prepared for scanning and other automated processing systems within the facility.
Labelling items at the receiving area also ensures that incoming materials receive labels so that check-in, putaway, conveyor and other automated applications provide maximum benefits. Because mobile printers can work in a variety of environments, large freight warehouses can receive and label large, bulky items and cargo containers in the receiving yard, port dock or other outdoor locations. As a result, warehouse operations benefit from fewer trips between cargo and stations—saving time and operational costs.
Ensuring packages contain the right materials is a key aspect of warehouse operations. Mobile printers enable inspectors to create clear, legible labels that identify samples taken for quality assurance. Workers can tag items pulled from incoming shipments or from inventory with a tracking label to route the sample through testing and to serve as a work order indicating the required tests. Quality assurance workers can also use mobile printers to identify samples with “pass,” “rework” or “reject” labels. Mobile label printers can help reduce the risk of misidentified items—boosting quality assurance and compliance initiatives.
Warehouse putaway tasks often suffer from delays due to time spent at the centralised printer and routing turnaround. A recent Zebra study determined that using mobile printers during putaway operations improved processing time by 62 percent. These efficiencies become reality when mobile printers work within an integrated system environment that includes mobile computers, wireless networks and shared databases.
An integrated system allows workers to initiate label requests by entering information into a handheld computer. The handheld transmits data to the company’s ERP system over a wireless LAN that covers the facility. The ERP system receives the transmission, updates inventory records and returns the information required to produce the barcode or RFID label.
Wireless-directed putaway operations also benefit from mobile printers. By receiving realtime updates of forklift locations and transaction activity, warehouse management system (WMS) software can balance workloads, calculate the most efficient route for each forklift driver, and communicate instructions in real time to a mobile computer on the vehicle. Then, forklift drivers can use their mobile printers to affix barcodes or RFID labels to the goods—saving as much as 30 minutes daily per worker.
Picking operations also benefit from wireless enabled mobile printers because they enable operators to pick multiple orders simultaneously within a small zone—reducing empty travel time and raising productivity. Mobile printers are used to generate barcode or RFID labels for each item, which can then be scanned in the staging or packaging areas to expedite the sorting of items for specific shipments.
For example, a Midwestern distribution center implemented a wireless LAN to communicate picking instructions directly to its forklift drivers. The new process eliminated the travel time required to receive their pick lists from the office. Instead, drivers pick orders per the instructions received on their wireless computer and scan each item’s barcode label and shelf location label after picking the item. The handheld transmits the scanned data to the ERP server, confirming the item. The host application then formats a barcoded shipping label and sends the print job to a mobile printer mounted on the forklift. As a result, the distribution center realised a 50 percent reduction in picking time and a 100 percent increase in accuracy.
Finished Goods Packaging and Shipping
Printing at the point of use helps improve efficiencies during kitting or light assembly tasks or when workers place items into packaging. When assembly or packaging is complete, the worker can use the mobile printer to generate a label to identify the finished goods. In a similar application, warehouses and distribution centers can also use mobile printers to manage ship to order operations. Rather than identifying and labeling final assemblies, workers can use labeling and scanning to verify the picking and packing of all the items required to complete the order.
Drop-resistant and lightweight, the user-friendly QLn mobile printers help you print barcode labels, receipts and more, wherever and whenever needed.
Zebra’s compact ZQ500 Series mobile printers are the industry’s most rugged, featuring a military-grade design, the latest connectivity options and user friendly functionality to keep you operating in the most challenging environments.
This lightweight, compact mobile printer makes it easy to simplify transactions with receipt and invoice printing on demand. Choose from a variety of wireless options, including the ability to work with the latest smartphone and tablet operating systems.
Print receipts and tickets on demand and on the go with the ZQ110 mobile 2-inch receipt printer. As Zebra’s smallest and most affordable mobile receipt printer, the ZQ110 is equipped with key basic features and offers a selection of competitive accessories.
The P4T printer enables you to print long-life barcode labels and documents up to 4” wide where and when you need them — resulting in enhanced data and asset-tracking accuracy and improved workforce efficiency.
Keeping your operations running smoothly and efficiently is your top priority. You rely on printers and tools that are dependable, durable, easy to use and don’t require much space. Zebra’s desktop printers are compact, simple to operate, reliable and cost effective. And, they leverage our long history of innovation and industry-leading capabilities
The ZD420 is the easiest thermal transfer printer to load, period. The simplicity of the ZD420’s ribbon cartridge takes the time and trouble out of replacing the printer ribbon. Regardless of experience level, end users can replace the ribbon and get back to work in seconds — with significantly fewer support calls to IT.
Zebra’s G-Series™ GX™ and ZD500™ desktop printers provide the fastest print speeds with the widest range of cutting-edge features and options, including Ethernet and an LCD screen with Wireless or Bluetooth®. Extended media handling capabilities include peel and present, precision cutter for labels, receipts and tags, and linerless labels.
Zebra’s G-Series GK420 and GT800 desktop printers, including the GK420 Healthcare model, combine dependable printing with fast print speeds and network manageability. With their easy-to-use design, GK420 and GT800 printers enable you to improve operational efficiencies.
Zebra’s G-Series GC™ desktop printers provide an affordable, entry-level option for your essential bar coding needs. GC420™ printers deliver the quality and reliability that Zebra customers trust—in a compact design.
Zebra’s mid-range, ultra-compact ZD410 and TLP 2824 Plus™ desktop printers fit in the smallest of workspaces and are ideal for printing 2-inch-wide labels or receipts. These printers are network manageable and have a variety of options including label peel and present and cutter.
Zebra’s HC100™ wristband printers enable user-friendly, hassle-free printing with easy-to-load wristband cartridges. Zebra offers a wide variety of wristband sizes, materials and colors to meet any requirement.
Not all printers are built the same – some are more robust and rugged than others and are better suited to working in industrial environments or places where printing is essential.
When do we need an industrial class printer?
1.Where are you printing?
Outside of your carpeted spaces you may need to print on the floor of the manufacturing plant, in the warehouse, in goods-in or goods-out and many places in between. In these areas, where technology can be bumped and knocked – and is subject to many environmental extremes – your printers need to be as tough as the conditions they’re operating in.
2.How much are you printing?
If you’re doing a huge volume of printing – perhaps labelling parts for use in car production or pharmaceuticals destined for the high street – you’ll need printers that are designed to print, print and print some more, day in, day out.
3.How important is printing?
If you’re printing labels used to mark parts or validate quality – for example, electronics components or a car door – you can’t stop the plant if the printer breaks. In short, if what you’re printing is critical to any workflow process in your plant, you’ll need an industrial printer.
4.How important is quality?
If you’re printing tiny parts labels with dense data – as is typical in the electronics industry – then there’s a need for high-quality print performance. What’s more, in many markets, such as CE part marking in electronics or GHS labelling in the chemical industry, you’ll need to use printers that can print on specialised labels designed to remain in place for extended periods (often years).
5.How important is maintenance and management?
If you’re running numerous printers across lots of sites, being able to remotely manage them is critical to helping keep costs down. For example, we offer a cloud-based Operational Visibility Service that provides detailed insight into the status, use and health (e.g. Wi-Fi connectivity) of every printing device on your network. The configurable dashboards provide the insight to help you proactively manage and improve the performance, availability and life cycle of your printers.
If you’ve a requirement for any of the above, the likelihood is you need an industrial printer. Our printers are built to be robust using metal frames and chassis to house highly reliable components. Most of our customers run their printers for between 5 and 7 years. This lengthy service results in significant cost savings and a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) that more than justifies any price premium for the units.
When you’re printing high volumes, in demanding environments, and where you’ve no time for downtime, the best option is an industrial printer.
Boost productivity in the most demanding conditions with Zebra’s most rugged line of label and tag printers. Count on high print speeds and outstanding quality.
Ideal for economical, high-performance printing, the all-metal 105SLPlus printers provide reliable and durable printing for demanding applications. Multiple connectivity options means the 105SLPlus is an easy fit into existing operations.
The ZT400 Series is designed for durable, reliable printing in tough environments. Loaded with advanced features, RFID capabilities and Zebra’s Link-OS environment, the ZT400 is ideal for a wide array of applications.
Designed with ease-of-use in mind, the ZT200 Series offers reliable printing for a wide variety of applications. Whether you are adopting bar coding for the first time, upgrading your printers or replacing printer models, the ZT200 Series offers the right choice for most labeling applications.