By Mike Doyle – Country Manager UK&I, Datalogic.
The 20th June was world productivity day so we thought we'd turn our attention to 5 technologies that we think hold the future to improving productivity in the supply chain.
Now widely adopted at the point of sale in retail to support the emergence of mobile couponing and loyalty schemes, 2D barcoding is a technology that has great potential to improve productivity for employees on the shop floor, in the warehouse and beyond. Devices that have a 2D imaging capability offer end users far more in terms of potential returns than linear scanners. 2D barcode symbologies such as data matrix, PDF417 and DPM codes can contain more data such as serial numbers, locations and date information to speed up production, improve traceability, reduce costs and enhance customer service throughout the supply chain.
We already know a lot about the use of cameras in mobile devices and how they are used in the supply chain to capture images particularly as part of proof of delivery applications. However, the potential for image capture technologies extends far beyond proof of delivery. Advanced imagers and sensors are being used in many of our industrial automation solutions to improve productivity. This same technology is also available in our Datalogic's Jade X7 portal scanner. In addition to reading barcodes, advanced sensors integrated within the Jade system measure the speed, shape and position of the items. Then software inside the device uses the data captured to help identify the product and can even indicate if items are stacked on top of one another.
Warehousing and logistics supplier Simon Loos in the Netherlands tripled its productivity after implementing the solution with Datalogic partner Vierpool to process returns of pre-stocked promotional displays.
It may sound simple but in busy or noisy environments like the point of sale, or the warehouse, it is not always easy to hear the beep of mobile computers or scanners and taking time to check that the code has registered correctly can waste valuable seconds. Unique to Datalogic, our patented 'Green Spot' technology is integrated into most of our devices to provide users with a visual confirmation of a successful barcode read. With 'Green Spot', a green light provides the visual confirmation that a code has been read correctly so that the user can move on to the next scan straight away.
Digitally Watermarked Barcodes
Imagine a scenario where barcodes can be printed across every inch of a product's surface so that the code can be read with 99.9% accuracy as it passes across a barcode scanner, no matter its orientation. Now imagine that these codes are completely invisible and you've got digitally watermarked barcodes. With lots of potential benefits, this technology presents some exciting opportunities for the future, not least of which is the ability to improve productivity at the checkout. In fact, Datalogic and inventors of the digitally watermarked barcode, Digimarc, hold the Guinness World Record for the fastest time to scan and bag 50 items with digitally watermarked barcodes using the Magellan 9800i.
Voice technology has already seen some significant advancements with next generation solutions delivering astonishing picking accuracy. This is being achieved through additional functionality like location validation, which is designed to prevent users from memorising locations and picking items without visually confirming the location. Users can also interact with some voice software if they are uncertain about what product to pick, things like "Show Me" functionality will display a picture of the product on the mobile device that the voice unit is paired with.