Smart printing

Accurate labelling solutions are critical in ensuring goods are traceable and arrive safely at their required destination. Matthew Mooyman, Product Manager, insignia discusses the capabilities of enterprise device management software and how it can help.

Barcodes are fundamental within supply chain and logistics – from booking goods into a warehouse to booking them in for delivery, at customs clearance or a customer’s home, a single product is scanned multiple times throughout its supply chain journey.

“At first glance, barcodes can seem like a minor part of the logistical process, but operators and organisations need information for a number of purposes. Labelling products, dispatch labels or pallet labels; a huge part of the flow and traceability of materials rely on the ability to read a barcode accurately,” says Matthew Mooyman, Product Manager (Variable Information Printing), insignia.

To ensure a readable barcode it’s essential that the technology printing this information is working efficiently.

Printers and computers are a key component in supply chain, logistics and warehousing practices, with warehouses and depots across the country commonly having the ability to print barcodes onsite.

With the rise of Industry 4.0, logistics providers are looking at ways they can smarten these devices and access more information about device performance and usage to reduce downtime and improve accuracy.

“Historically thermal label printers have just been used to generate machine and human readable imagery such as barcodes and product information onto labels. Though the way we print hasn’t changed, there are now a number of features that are built into the printer which allows users and administrators to better understand and manage printer performance,” Matthew says.

Devices are becoming connective, and enterprise device management (EDM) software allows businesses to have increased visibility over these devices to ensure they are being used to their full potential.

Matthew says that by utilising device management solutions, devices like desktop printers are now providing businesses with information and data they have never had access to before, including the battery status on mobile devices, the print head status – whether an element has blown, performance information and general diagnostics.

The main benefit of this type of device management is that it empowers organisations with the information to both efficiently manage their fleet of devices and ensure that all devices are running at maximum OEE.

“As an example, before device management software an element could blow on the print head and thousands of unreadable barcodes or labels could be printed before someone becomes aware. As we move more towards an automated warehouse environment, the consequences of this are huge. Products could be rejected or even sent back at the suppliers’ cost,” Matthew says.

The data that device management software provides ultimately allows organisations to make educated business decisions around their hardware, spares, consumable usage and output.

As more devices become connected through networks the risk of security threats to back end systems becomes greater. “With enterprise device management software, organisations can roll out security updates with ease as well as have visibility and control of all devices from one central location,” Matthew says.

Additionally, the device does not need to be on a wireless network. “You can receive information through a connected device by linking the device via Bluetooth, wireless or a mobile device,” Matthew confirms.

insignia is an Australian family-owned business with 50 years’ experience in labelling, coding and data capture. As a GS1 strategic alliance partner and distributor of top international thermal printing, data capture and mobility brands, insignia’s team is equipped with the knowledge to provide compliant barcoding and printing solutions.

“We recognise that security is important to all of our customers and ensure that they are able to have consistency across their entire fleet by rolling out security updates with ease. We also recognise that reducing downtime and ensuring labels can be accurately read is of the upmost importance to logistics providers. We work with organisations to provide ongoing support for their device management and to ensure that they make the most out of their devices,” Matthew says.