New Year New Prices

Zebra Supplies Price Increases

After 6 years of stable label pricing, Zebra has received notification from all our suppliers regarding industry-wide price increases on labels, tags and receipt paper.

What is driving the material increases? 

  • Freight increases – Caused by a strong US economy, rebuilding after deadly hurricane season causing high demand for an already strained trucking industry
  • Hourly wage increases – Up 12% since 2011, due to historically low unemployment and strong US economy
  • Pulp paper increases – Up over 20% in the last 18 months
  • Paper Liner increases – Caused by mill closures and strong US economy
  • Leuco dye shortages – Caused by the closure of a major Chinese supplier, creating shortages and price increases of 9% on POS receipt grades
  • Devaluation of US dollar – Down 12% in 2017, which is causing higher import costs for imported raw materials
  • Adhesive increases – as high as 40% over the last 18 months, caused by higher crude prices and Hurricane Harvey
  • Polyester and Polypropylene film increases – Up 10% caused by higher crude prices

Due to these market drivers, Zebra will be increasing pricing on the majority of ZipShip labels, tags and receipt paper by 4% on February 5, 2018. Our most popular Z-Perform 1500T and 1000D industrial and print engine sku’s are only going up 2-3%.  Not all ZipShip items are increasing in price. We have seen increased demand on Z-Perform 1000D and Z-Perform 2000T desktop items and are dropping pricing by 3-10% on the most common sizes due to increased run quantities and efficiencies. Please review the updated ZipShip Excel price list for more information. Custom media increases will occur immediately on new custom quotes.

Zebra is committed to offering our customers the best possible pricing by:

  • Offering free dies for custom media applications
  • Offering free freight for custom supplies for Supplies Specialist partners
  • Continuing to invest in wider and faster press equipment which reduces our operational costs
  • Offering Supplies Management Programs which allow us to run jobs longer and more efficiently
  • Using our buying power to reduce the impact of these raw material increases to our customers

BarTender 10.1 and older Warning.

Two significant dates are approaching quickly for previous versions of BarTender software:

·         BarTender 10.0 will reach its End of Support date on October 1, 2017.
After that date, BarTender’s world-class technical support will no longer be available to customers using version 10.0. In addition, 10.0 customers who are not on maintenance will no longer be able to purchase upgrades or updates; they must buy new licenses.

·         BarTender 10.1 will reach its End of Sales date on November 1, 2017.
After that date, customers will no longer be able to purchase new 10.1 licenses, including edition upgrades. Customers who own version 10.1 of the Automation or Enterprise Automation Edition will still be able to purchase additional printer licenses.

We encourage all customers who are still using 10.1 or earlier to update to BarTender 2016, and to be on software maintenance so they have access to free version updates.

A free trial download of BarTender 2016 is available here.bartender-2016-basic-edition-version-11-1-1-user-bt16-bsc-403

The Future of Manufacturing!

According to Zebra Technologies, More than 60 Percent of Manufacturers to Use RTLS, RFID or Bar-Code Tracking By 2022.

With the Internet of things (IOT), expected to grow in the next five years, we can expect major changes in how updates to products are pushed through and how we interact with customers.

Implementation of RFID in the manufacturing supply chain will increase visibility during each step of the manufacturing process. An example of how RFID can be useful can be as simple as finding the right item in a pile of products to keeping track of each part being assembled.

Zebra’s Jim Hilton expects the biggest growth will come from the automotive industry  and the food processing industry.

As a partner of Zebra Technology, Symbology Enterprises is ready to support all your RFID needs.

 

 

Having data “chokes” while Scanning? (Honeywell)

Periodically an application can’t handle the speed at which the scanner transmits data.  The system chokes or characters are dropped – so we have to slow the scanner down.You can slow down a scanner’s data transmission by introducing a delay between characters (Intercharacter Delay); between each scan transmission (Intermessage Delay); or between the transmission of control characters* you’ve added to the barcode data (Interfunction Delay); – all by scanning a few barcodes.

Problems/Solutions:

  1. Old PC running an application that chokes on scanned input.  Data is dropped.   May be time for an Intercharacter Delay.
  2. You are scanning multiple barcodes into SAP and the system “chokes”. You get error messages.   Try an Intermessage delay.  SAP apps often call for delays.
  3. You created a barcode that splits data up via a carriage return and the application chokes/can’t keep up.  Go with an Interfunction Delay.

 

Delays are programmable.  We recommend starting with the following delays:

–          10 milliseconds for Intercharacter Delay

–          100 milliseconds for Interfunction Delay

–          100 milliseconds for Intermessage Delay

 

You have to test a bit to get it right.  We suggest that you start with a bigger delay to see if it solves the problem. Once solved you can back down the delay to a minimal amount.  Be careful not to slow the application down too much for obvious reasons.

Call us today for more information if you are facing these problems.

*  A control character is non-printable character aka function character.

 

Consumer versus rugged enterprise mobile devices: What’s the real cost?

We love our mobile devices. What other thing in your life seems to keep getting smarter?

New versions and new apps deliver an endless number of reasons to keep your

smartphone or tablet always within reach, 24/7.

It’s natural that the consumer devices we love follow us to work. It’s a great way to keep

connected with the people, tasks, and events in your life. But there needs to be a

dividing line between a device that handles your personal computing and one that meets

the needs of your job.

A consumer-grade device might seem like a smart choice for business, because the

initial purchase price is so appealing. The more rugged, enterprise-class devices may

carry a higher price tag, but the price you pay to acquire the device is only a fraction of

the total cost of ownership (TCO). When you’re pondering consumer versus rugged

enterprise mobile devices, what’s the real cost?

Durability

If you’ve ever dropped your smartphone on a concrete floor, and then held your breath

as you picked it up, you know that this device isn’t designed for a tough work

environment—like plant floors, warehouses, retail, healthcare, transportation & logistics,

and field service, to name a few.

Compare the durability. A consumer-grade device has a 23% failure rate in a tough

environment with a life expectancy of 12 months. The rugged, enterprise-grade mobile

device averages a 7% failure rate and lasts three years—three times as long as its

 

consumer counterpart! What are you paying for all the replacement consumer devices

over those three years? It’s not the low price of that original one.

Accessories

Consider the additional expenses for enhancing your consumer device to meet more

enterprise needs. A durable case, for example, can cost $100 or more, per device, while

the rugged device comes fitted with the tough exterior, as well as a tougher grade of

glass.

Will you need to purchase a point-of- sale sled to enable this function on your consumer

device? If so, add that into your total cost of ownership.

Tech Support

TCO includes the cost for managing your devices: provisioning, maintaining, monitoring,

and decommissioning. When your employees use their mobile device for personal as

well as business purposes, you run the risk of data breaches in your network, so your IT

team must ensure that all devices are secured and the software is updated as needed. If

those personal devices are lost or stolen, you have the added task of remotely wiping

the data as quickly as possible.

In addition to protecting the network, your IT professionals will have a broader range of

devices, operating systems, and applications to monitor and troubleshoot. That takes

time. With a rugged enterprise device, you can allocate more of your IT investment for

proactive work, rather than patching consumer devices.

Downtime

This is an indirect cost associated with mobile devices. How does a device failure impact

productivity? Are they unable to provide customer support or close sales? How much

time is wasted when a worker has to seek out a replacement device? And what does

that time translate to in dollars? In the field, a driver can lose up to 75 minutes of

productivity when a mobile device fails. In an industrial environment, the combination of

labor cost and lost revenue can reach $125 per hour, and up. Optimizing productivity is

the best way to maintain your competitive edge.

 

According to VDC Research, the total cost of ownership for a consumer smartphone in

business applications is almost double that of the enterprise mobile device. The

difference in TCO for a consumer tablet versus a rugged enterprise tablet is even

greater.

At Symbology, we understand that businesses choose consumer-grade devices

because they are familiar, easy to use, and seemingly cost-effective. But when you look

at all the factors that contribute to total cost of ownership, the choice is simple. Talk to us

about rugged, enterprise-grade devices, because you’ll get more functionality, security,

data capture options, robust connectivity, and a longer life per device.

Do quick service labels really work?

With the competition for fast lube service increasing, you need to leverage every advantage possible. Sure, your customers appreciate your quick lube service, but with months elapsing between oil changes, will they remember that brief visit? Will the experience be impactful enough to bring them back?

Customer loyalty grows from building on the relationship—which starts when they drive into your lot. You have about 22 minutes to make a lasting impression. In addition to being courteous, informative, and quick, what can you do?

The quick service label is a fast, easy, and cost-effective method for strengthening the customer relationship. By simply printing and adhering a small static cling sticker inside the vehicle’s windshield, you post a handy reminder for the next oil change. More than that, you have the opportunity to keep your brand, literally, in front of your customer. Your quick service sticker can include a special offer, reinforce the importance of regular oil changes, and even promote a cross-sell or upgrade service.

Businesses with more than one location offering fast lubes can use quick service labels to keep a consistent message from shop to shop. By programming the same templates into the system, you make it easy for every operator to communicate your value proposition. You remove the potential for confusion, miscommunication, and, quite simply, wrong offers, by creating a centralized process.

To learn more about the technology behind doing this simply, affordably, and right, Call us at Symbology for more information on service labels and much more.

Barcode duplicator improves patient safety for blood banks

Patient safety is at the forefront of the healthcare community, which includes blood banks. Barcoding has proven to be a reliable and efficient method for preventing medical errors. Using point-of-care barcode labeling instead of a manual system for any type of specimen collection represents a major step toward protecting patients.

The FDA’s Blood Labeling Industry Guidance Standard has already required all blood and blood component containers to be labeled with a barcode, but just mandating the barcode doesn’t provide enough protection.

Mobile blood collection units, for example, have the barcodes already on the blood bags, following the FDA blood labeling guidelines. However, when the collections are taken, the technicians handwrite the code number on the donor form. Between illegible (from handwriting or smudging) and transposed numbers, blood collection mistakes happen. And they occur too frequently.

Then what happens? The blood is either disposed of—a total waste of a valuable asset—or it has to be tested in the lab and marked there. That’s a different kind of avoidable waste: valuable time that could be better spent on other critical tasks.

It’s just not enough to use labeled blood bags and containers. While you may be complying with the federal standard, you’re not going far enough to protect patients and preserve your operational efficiency.

Symbology worked with Zebra to combine their technology acumen and deliver a solution. The barcode duplicator system enables mobile blood collection units to scan the barcode on a blood container when the blood is drawn. Then, they print out a duplicate barcode label for the donor form. No handwriting is involved, increasing the accuracy. The barcode duplicator also removes data entry on the backend, where the barcode can be scanned again and automatically transmitted into the system.

Symbology’s barcode duplicator solution features the Zebra LS2208 handheld barcode scanner and the Zebra LP2824 Plus, barcode printer. The printer is compact and lightweight, fitting easily into the limited space of a van or mobile unit. The LP2824 Plus stores the label formats, so there’s no programming require. The technician simply calls up the form and processes it in a few clicks. The scanner connects directly to the printer, so no computer is needed. A network connection isn’t required either, a key feature for mobile units.

There’s always a dire need for blood donations. For patient safety, we need to provide a reliable, safe, accurate, and efficient way to collect and deliver blood where it’s needed. We think our barcode duplicator system is an essential component in achieving this objective. If you want to learn more, click here to watch a video case study or contact us for information.

 

 

Is outdated technology holding you back?

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Is outdated technology holding you back?

The speed at which technology keeps advancing can make it difficult to justify the decision to upgrade. Many businesses hang onto technology long after it has outlived its usefulness, just because their devices, network, and software seem to be doing their job.

Let’s look more closely at the cost of not upgrading. Is outdated technology holding you back? Even more, is the delay in investing in new technology actually costing you money?

Security risks.

Older technology doesn’t carry the benefit of advanced security protocols. While you might be able to patch it with upgrades, you still have gaps that pose a threat to your network security.

Lost data.

If your applications aren’t communicating effectively, because one or more is out of date, you could lose data, which sparks a loss in time to search, locate, and possibly rebuild, as well as lost revenue.

Hampered productivity.

How much faster can you drive a screw with a power driver than a screwdriver? When you equip your workforce with old technology, you’re increasing their task load. Rather than leverage the advantages of power tools like mobile devices, for example, you require them to move back and forth between workstations to retrieve data. Or old software requires more steps to complete a transaction. And remember, you’re paying them to waste that time.

Maybe you’re relying more on manual methods than you should, because you’re accustomed to “the way we’ve always done it.” Is there room for error by doing it that way? Manual systems are guaranteed to invite mistakes, and correcting them costs time and money—which could be saved by abandoning that mindset and moving on and up to new technology.

In addition, when your infrastructure is ignored, you create additional problems. Users can’t access the network because it’s overloaded or has dead zones. How much employee time and customer sales are you losing with these delays?

Customer Confidence

Your systems reflect your brand. When your customer-facing technology—POS systems, for example—are outdated, your customers will notice. Whether they notice the technology itself or the under-performing nature of it, they perceive that your business isn’t current. With so much competition out there, they can easily find someone else who keeps up with today’s trends in technology as it relates to customer service and communication. And once you fall behind, you have to work much harder to regain that lost ground.

When you add up the cost of security risks, wasted time, human errors, and customer dissatisfaction, you begin to see the return on investment for updating your technology. Ignoring the efficiency, accuracy, and security that newer technology provides is going to cost you. Talk to Symbology to discover how more advanced technology can benefit your business and deliver the ROI you’ve been missing.

New from Symbology: a Printer Applicator for FDA Compliance

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One of our mid tier pharmaceutical packaging customers that has four production lines and one test and development line, needed to reduce compliance errors, replace out of service equipment, and reduce labor related to maintenance and human intervention that ensured FDA compliance.

The customer had multiple compliance issues to solve:

  1. Label data was pulling from multiple databases, causing labeling errors and therefore compliance errors.
  2. Existing equipment was beyond repair.
  3. Human intervention maintaining old equipment and manual FDA compliance.

 

How the Symbology Enterprises solution helped our customer:

  1. We created a method to consolidate the databases, ensuring that the proper label was applied.
  2. The solution guarantees FDA compliance and allows for UID compliance.
  3. We replaced outdated equipment with modern applicator technology.