Barcode & RFID Solutions - Wholesale / Distribution
The main reason for introducing the barcode technology in the plumbing material wholesale distribution warehouse was to speed up attending to customers and to prevent inaccuracy in goods release. In the former method of attending to customers, the warehouse worker walked with the customer around the warehouse and the customer chose goods. The warehouse worker wrote everything down on a sheet of paper and, after the selection of goods was completed, he copied all the records from the sheet to the invoice system and printed out the invoice and the bill of delivery.
After the installation of the barcode identification system, the process is carried out as follows: The customer is accompanied by an expert worker in the warehouse who is equipped with the Unitech PT600 portable batch terminal. The warehouse worker reads each item to be sold into the terminal by scanning the barcode right from the product or, as the case may be, from the rack where the goods are stored. Barcode reading may be completed by entering the quantity through the terminal keyboard. Of course, the operators have access to information about the on-hand quantity, product prices and the total price. After the selection of goods has been completed, the terminal is inserted into a communication unit, data are transferred into the invoice system and invoices and bills of delivery are printed out. The whole operation does not take longer than dozens of seconds, regardless of the number of items on the invoice. Any errors and confusions are minimized.
In order to deploy such a system, the issue of barcode marking of the goods had to be resolved first. Ideal condition for the introduction of such technology would be if all products were barcoded directly by the manufacturer. In the area of water, heating and gas installations, this is far from reality and only approx. 40% of goods are marked with barcode labels directly by the manufacturer. Two methods were used for marking the remaining goods. In the case of goods, which cannot be marked subsequently by a printed label, such as fasteners, either the rack or the container holding the goods is marked with the barcode. During picking the datum is scanned from the label by the terminal. Goods which are not marked by the manufacturer and which may be indicated by a label are marked in the course of the receiving process by subsequently printed out barcode labels indicating the name of the goods. Such labels are printed out using a special industrial thermal transfer label printer. The advantage of such printing technology is low cost of labels, long-lasting printing and the possibility of sequential printing of individual labels.
In addition to sale, portable terminals are, of course, also used for the goods receiving, cycle counting and inventory transfers. During the receiving of goods, barcode is scanned either directly from the goods or from the rack on which the goods are placed. Information on the actually received goods is, again by means of the communication unit, sent to the accounting system for processing.
For the integration of such system into the already existing information system, it is necessary to cooperate with the supplier of the information system and to jointly implement a functional interface for the transfer of data between the two systems. In this case, the interface was based on the exchange of text files with the agreed data structure.
The system has been in routine operation for two years and it significantly helped to speed up attending to customers, to significantly improve the accuracy of storing operations and to minimize errors and confusions concerning products.
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