J Z Flowers Moves To Zero Tolerance Ensuring 100% Accuracy of its Barcode Labels With On-line Verification

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INFORMATION: Free information is available from Hand Held Products on the subject in this story. Click here to request a copy

J Z Flowers International is amongst the top 5 UK producers of floral bouquets. 

It produces and supplies a range of cut flower bouquets for some of the UKs leading supermarket chains, including Morrisons, Aldi and Netto.  Bouquets supplied range from small, single variety bunches, to complicated hand tied mixed spiral arrangements, which are all hand produced by over 220 staff at three sites across the UK and Ireland.
 
Because of the nature of its business, JZ Flowers is reliant on staff to manually create the bouquets, wrap, apply labels and pack them.  Although the production line historically operated at high performance levels achieving around 99% accuracy, even the smallest inaccuracy or error results in harsh financial penalties from the retailers.  In the face of continuing pressure and heavy financial penalties, Bill Bradnum, Quality Control Manager at JZ International, strives to achieve 0% errors in deliveries to customers.
 
Bill stated, Punitive measures for even the most minor errors can be measured in thousands of pounds.  The worst-case scenario for us is incorrect quantities or the wrong flowers arriving at a distribution centre, or bouquets with unreadable barcodes ending up in store.  Because our business is based on a manual production system, we have to use stringent quality checks at all stages of production to ensure that we pick up any potential human errors that occur before the bouquets leave our factory.
 
The factory in Plaxton Bridge, near Beverly in Yorkshire, is dedicated to fulfilling the UK contract with Morrisons, and the production line set up there is similar to that of the companys other factories.  In a typical week, the factory produces over 100,000 bouquets that it distributes to Morrisons stores across the UK.  Seasonal celebrations and special occasions such as Christmas, Valentines Day and Mothers Day have a massive impact on production, which can double to over a quarter of a million bouquets.
 
Typically, customer orders are received the same day as a delivery is expected, so the speed at which the production line can turn the orders around is critical.  To get a head start on the orders, JZ Flowers estimates order quantities and creates provisional orders that can be prepared in advance of the official order.  These are then topped up when the final quantities and stock requirements are confirmed by the customer.
 
For each provisional and actual order, a set of labels is produced including bouquet sleeve, box, batch and delivery labels.  Historically, samples of the first and last labels printed for each were manually checked with a barcode scanner to check the accuracy and veracity of barcodes.  If any errors were identified in this sample, then each label on the reel would be scanned and if any additional errors were found, the whole reel would be discarded and reprinted.  All the labels for each order are then sealed in a job bag, labelled with the order details and stored until the time comes for the order to be fulfilled, when the job bags are sent through to the production line.
 
Bill Bradnum, who also runs the print room, commented: Labels form a key part in our quality control process.  I realised that our printing process was fast and reliable enough for our business model but felt there was more we could be doing to improve the accuracy of the labels.
 
After some research Bill decided to implement an on-line verification system that would ensure 100% accuracy of each and every label coming out of the print room.  He turned to barcode labelling solution specialist Label Store, for a solution.  Label Store recommended and supplied Hand Held Products SV200 On-Line Verification Solution and four Datamax printers.  The SV200 integrates with the printers and performs all common verification including ANSI method, traditional method, encoded data format checks, and laser scanning type analyses.  It verifies printed labels on the fly checking everything from contrast, symbology, direction and reflection, ensuring 100% barcode accuracy and readability.  The number of labels is also checked by the SV200 allowing it to detect missing or undetectable barcodes.  Its state of the art digital signal processing technology ensures high processing speeds for fast printing and more analysis per label.
 
Now, the SV200 scans every label printed and if an error is found, the printer pauses for the label to be checked and removed before proceeding with the remainder of the print run.  Not only does this ensure 100% barcode readability and accuracy, it also speeds up the printing process and saves money by reducing the number of labels discarded.
 
Bill concluded: We have the SV200 running in our print room and it is working very well.  We have already seen a reduction to zero rejections from our customers, which have resulted in zero penalties.  I am now rolling this system out across the entire print room, and at the sites in Hull and Ireland. The Label Store has been incredibly responsive and supportive throughout the rollout and I look forward to working with them in the future.

INFORMATION: Free information is available from Hand Held Products on the subject in this story. Click here to request a copy

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