Last year we saw a precedent-setting 44 percent expansion of e-commerce in the United States. This rate far surpasses the 15.1 percent year-over-year increase in 2019 according to U.S. Department of Commerce data.
2020 put immense pressure on supply chain logistics, particularly on warehouse and distribution center operations. Extreme flexibility was necessary for accurate and efficient fulfillment and faster delivery times to address the dramatic uptick in orders. Better warehouse management boasts productivity while driving overall improvement and profitability.
Where can companies invest to alleviate pressure within logistics operations? First and foremost is improving the quality of work-life for warehouse personnel. There are many incentive programs to help reduce employee turnover. Equipping staff with the proper equipment is one vitally important element within this equation that organizations often overlook.
Personnel needs to be agile while performing key responsibilities within any area of the warehouse. Tasks requiring speed don’t necessarily happen in the same location time after time. Stationary label and receipt printers requiring the back-and-forth of personnel is completely inefficient. Placing the power of a high-quality label and receipt printer in the hand of an employee, or rather on their hip, goes a long way in streamlining any logistics operation.
Another pressure for successful businesses is that more online orders equal more returns. Quickly and correctly classifying returned items via labeling ensures proper product management. Moreover, labeling technology identifying reusable products enables next-level product management and loss prevention.
Quality barcode labels facilitate shipping which is important in quickly and effectively managing product returns. Customers expect supply chain logistics to perform optimally. Anything less may even bruise the organization’s brand image.
So, what are the characteristics of an ideal product for low- to mid-volume receipt and label printing for logistics personnel? For starters, the printer must be mobile and wearable. It should also integrate within existing infrastructures via system languages. This occurs through language emulation support.
Wearable printers should additionally include ruggedized components to endure the bumps and bruises logistics environments commonly dish out. Extensive battery life is another must-have as warehouse, distribution center and supply chain personnel are far too busy to interrupt their day to charge or swap out a battery.
There are also instances where mounting mobile printers on forklifts provide ultimate accessibility for warehouse workers. Such printers require elite speed for labeling multiple pallets and packages while on the move. Having a printer that is easy to navigate with a clear, concise status window and one that is easily accessible to change out labels or swap batteries is vital.
Extensive training is usually not a luxury for today’s logistics settings. Interruptions or downtime because of equipment failure may be the deciding factor between a profitable and unprofitable month.
Mobile label and receipt printers are the products capable of meeting these needs. Logistics managers should demand reliable, intuitive, long-lasting printers. Anything less should be unacceptable.
Toshiba is one company providing an extensive and award-winning line of direct thermal mobile printers producing two- to four-inch labels. Our three-inch mobile printer is a particularly rugged workhorse with many of the aforementioned features for successful product management.
Here is a glimpse of some of the elements separating Toshiba labeling technology.
Reliable, rugged, and lightweight
• 3-foot drop-tested & IP54 rating
• 5 pounds with the battery installed
• Flat edge print head design with long head life – one million linear inches
• Fast print speed – 6 inches per second
Extensive battery life
• Standard and high-rated batteries
• Receipt model delivers receipt or label in batch mode
• Receipt and label model offers receipt or label in peel or batch mode
• Supports multiple environments: Apple® iOS, Android™, Microsoft® Windows CE via software development kit
• Printer and point of sale system languages for connecting in retail or warehouse operations
Ease of Use
• Color LCD offers printer and battery status
• Single-hand drop-in media roll loading
• Convenient battery charging stations
Premium mobile printing systems equip logistics operations with the capacity to grow at the pace of the market. Ensure your warehouse team has the proper technology to boost productivity and success while ultimately improving customer satisfaction.
*Originally published in the July 2021 issue of Workplace Material Handling & Safety