Thursday, 4 September 2014

The human interface is still crucial

Yesterday I attended a meeting at the site of an International (and very famous, you know the one who awards stars) tyre manufacturer.  We had assisted them by providing the latest DLoG model, the DLT-V8312, to run a test of new software to improve the shop floor manufacturing process.

A significant amount of time had been spent ensuring the specification of the terminal was up to scratch and that the unit would be robust and reliable enough for the rough and tumble of the environment.  All of which is understandable as the DLoG is not a cheap terminal and the majority of the cap-ex would be spent on this as the platform for the new application.

As an aside, my contact asked for some forklift truck mounting brackets and a barcode scanner as part of the test kit.

When I returned to collect the hardware after testing I was obviously keen to know how the DLoG had performed.  Had it been powerful enough for the application to run smoothly? Did it fit OK on the forklift truck and not block line of sight? Had the RF been stable?  Was the screen bright enough for the outdoor element of the process?

 But all the IT guys could talk about was the barcode scanner, a cordless Datalogic Powerscan PM-9500.
A revelation!  As compared to their original Intermec laser scanners (approx 9 years old) it was far superior.  It scanned at lightning fast pace, had an aiming beam to help hit the correct barcode, was light and easy to handle and (the best bit) it had a Green Spot good scan confirmation. Amazing! They had to have some!

So the test was a success! Not really down to the expensive, key piece hardware we were all concentrating on and where most of the money was going, but on the barcode scanner I accidentally included in the box. But this does reinforce a common theme we see in our solutions. The human interface is crucial. Whether it be a great barcode scanner or a customised software keyboard on the screen, the level of user acceptance is ultimately the degree by which the company will see payback on the investment in the project.

The people using the solution everyday are key to its success and making their life easy and getting their buy in is crucial.

So sometimes it is the peripherals that people interact with, often ignored in the big project, that can make all the difference to how well a user gets on with a piece of kit and how much benefit a business get from a system that uses the technology.

Written by Nigel Holloway - a senior sales consultant at Dash Computer Products, who specialises in barcode labelling systems, hand held and fork truck mounted computers and data capture solutions.
contact Nigel on 01200 441977 or email here:  Nigel@Dash Computer

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