Barcode Readers Getting a Revamp for Enhanced Warehouse Operations

Barcode scanners/readers, which are used globally in warehouse operations, have also become subject to a technological revamp as retailers worldwide prepare to boost their operational efficiency in the face of a massive increase in online orders.

The primary aim of this makeover is to replace standardized barcode readers with something more ergonomic, fast, and effective. Altering existing barcode technology, which has been a stagnant standard in all industries the past couple of decades, can significantly help save time. Saving a few precious seconds in the time it takes for workers to analyze, pack and ship products can bode incredibly well for retailers delivering goods to customers domestically and internationally.

Replacing standard barcode readers, which are primarily used by warehouse personnel in order to monitor the distribution of thousands of products, can become a major asset for retailers who can conveniently and consistently keep a bird’s eye view on goods while they move in and out of massive distribution centers.

The innovation comes from Zebra Technologies, one of the biggest names in barcode device manufacturing. They have launched a far more efficient device, one that warehouse workers will not have to continuously hold, extend or rotate their arms for.

Zebra Technologies recently created a smart, baton-like barcode device, equipped with a touch screen and camera. These two new features will significantly minimize the stress involved in constantly holding the device.

James Bonner, who is the general manager of Excel Logistics, which is a part of DHL’s Deutsche unit, stated that his employees, on an average 7.5 hour shift, produce 3000 scans every single day. After using and testing Zebra’s new barcode system, Excel Logistics experienced a 10-20 percent increase in productivity and picking rates.

This boost in operational efficiency was achieved solely because of the fact that their employees did not need to push buttons on a standard “brick on a stick” barcode reader.

Bonner further stated, “In the long-term of things and globalization, this added productivity may sound like absolutely nothing. But when you manage to shave 3 seconds by not having to push buttons, it amounts to three halves of a second—and you’re shipping tens of thousands of products each day.”
According to the statistics provided by VDC Research, the global sale of smart-scanning devices utilized by warehouse workers increased to $850 million last year—the growth of sales escalated to 33% in the past 2 years alone.

Zebra’s TC8000 runs on Google’s Android software and is operated via a big touch screen instead of buttons. The device is designed to be heavy at the handle, which allows for greater flexibility and movement in comparison to scanners that are heavy at the top. The camera enables users to effectively view and scan items. There is also an added functionality that allows users to view and quickly navigate through different warehouse aisles, an added measure of preventing mistakes.

Zebra Technologies has become a powerful front-runner when it comes to designing and manufacturing smart scanning devices, which also include low-cost methods and solutions designed to primarily depend on smartphones. However, a majority of retailers still show a bit of hesitance mainly because of the fact that standard bar-code readers are more durable and are designed to withstand daily wear and tear.