Jose Maria Echeverria Vinagre, EMEA Regional Product Manager, Data Capture Solutions, Zebra Technologies

‘Barcode’ is a noun often prefixed with ‘humble,’ probably because billions of humble barcodes are scanned daily as we go about our lives, from operating theatres to transport hubs, retail stores, restaurants, and beyond.

But if you’re a warehouse operations manager, I’m sure you’d describe the barcode as anything but humble. Indeed, as you adjust warehouse operations to spikes in demand, a surge in single item orders, an increase in returns, and the customer requirement for same-day fulfillment, it’s fair to say things would grind to a halt without the item location visibility provided by scanned barcodes.

So busy is the modern warehouse, and so refined are its workflows that a single barcode scanner issue could lead to multiple problems. If an operator must find a new device, or switch to pen and paper, the resulting delay to, or inaccuracy of, data capture may in turn lead to missed orders and lost revenue.

The challenge is that the warehouse is a tough environment for scanners. These devices are in use nonstop, they can be knocked or dropped, and being run over by a forklift is an occupational hazard. That’s why, at Zebra, we design our scanners to be ‘warehouse ready,’ engineering them to be resilient, ergonomic and easy to manage. But whatever scanners you buy, the workflow platform that supports them should be as high on your performance-focused agenda, if not higher, than the device itself. Let me explain why.

Maximizing the Lifecycle of Your Scanning Devices

To prolong the lifecycle of your scanners, it must be easy to manage and evolve them with your changing business needs. And, as IT teams don’t have spare time, and on some sites, there may not be any IT support, it must be straightforward to deploy, manage, optimize, integrate and secure them. We also know that keeping a remote eye on each scanner’s health, from battery usage to charging patterns, can help proactively mitigate issues so they can remain online, and workers can remain productive.

If you don’t have these software-delivered capabilities across your entire scanner fleet, it can be costly to install and manage the devices. It’s also difficult to know basic information such as where each scanner is right now and what version of software it is running. This often results in scanners being misplaced or, worse, breaking down long before they should.

With these issues in mind, we’ve built a suite of powerful software tools to get the most value from Zebra devices. We’ve done this because we know that our scanners are business critical. And because we believe that every modern hardware purchase is really a software purchase in disguise.

Introducing Zebra DataCapture DNA

Zebra DataCapture DNA has been designed to keep your devices running as if they were brand new, even as they age or are repurposed for a different task. This software is continuously developed and improved from the anonymized data our customers collect from the millions of products they have running across the world.

Today, there are over 15 different DataCapture DNA tools in Zebra scanners ready to help you and your teams get the most from them. Here are some benefits of what DataCapture DNA can deliver to help optimise warehouse operations:

Easing pressure on your IT team: A range of tools make it easy to deploy devices, including one that lets you simultaneously stage up to 10 scanners using a single scan of a barcode. This is so easy it can be done by warehouse associates at each local site.

Simplifying management: You can view fleet-wide metrics, such as battery health and charging patterns, in real time to confirm scanners remain healthy, remotely troubleshoot, and automate scanner updates without losing individual device settings or critical data.

Accelerating app development: We have a pairing solution ready to go so you don’t need to develop your own to connect scanners with mobile computers and other devices. And, with our software development kit, you can save a lot of time when creating new apps.

Boosting productivity: A range of software tools help teams work efficiently. For example, a warehouse associate can capture data from multiple GS1 barcodes on a package or pallet with a single trigger pull, and the scanner will automatically parse the data in the right order and distribute it to the appropriate workflow application for further processing or reporting.

Protecting data: While scanners pose a minimal security risk, you and your IT staff will have additional options to protect sensitive data. For example, you can encrypt data using Bluetooth Secure and Simple Pairing.

By Your Side

While Zebra scanners are built for many years of service, we know that there will be many reasons why, on any given day, you and your team may need to change their settings, connect them to new devices, upload new software, and much more. We understand, too, that you may need to get a new app built, add a new feature, or onboard thousands of users – in days or weeks. Zebra DataCapture DNA is the enterprise software platform to help you do all of that, reducing the total cost of ownership for your Zebra scanners and maximising their lifecycles. And of course, if your scanners are working as they should, they will help ensure your warehouses operations are running smoothly.

For more on Zebra DataCapture DNA, please visit here.

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