Tuesday, 13 December 2016

SAP Mobile Apps - a better way to get mobile with SAP

SAP has had a number of methods to allow workers to connect and use the ERP while working in a mobile environment.

SAP provide mobile tools such as ITS Mobile (Internet Transaction Server), SMP (SAP Mobile Platform) and FIORI.  But many workers find the SAP interfaces cluttered or too dificult to interact with.

Mobile users and workers often have very limited exposure to the normal SAP interface and want simplified access to the transactions they they need every day. Often only a few transactions are used and the fast pace of work-flow means that workers have only seconds between tasks.

Now a suite of SAP applications have been developed with Apps for SAP WM, EWM, PP, SD, QM, MM/IM and ENG. STORES, that focus on the user and the task.  These Apps have been designed to minimise what the user sees and where possible scan barcodes or use drop downs for fast accurate data entry.

SAP Mobile Applications
here we show the standard SAP form and the compact Mobile screen that the mobile worker sees. To SAP the input is the same, so there is no lack of function, just very fast efficient Mobile work-flow.
Mobile workers report that the simplified interface is less prone to mistakes, as the data required is minimised.  Worker frustration levels are also solved as they can concentrate on the task rather than on meeting the input requirements of a complex ERP data system.

A huge range of mobile devices are supported, so the right mobile computer or terminal can be chosen to suit the business need.  From ultra rugged for the warehouse or manufacturing area, to sales and distribution workers, there is a mobile device for all areas of the business. All with a direct connection to your SAP system.  Zebra/Motorola - Datalogic - Honeywell are all supported with a choice of Windows Android or Apple IOS.

These Apps will work within the four walls using Wifi or anywhere that your mobile workers need to go, all with fast and efficient access to the SAP application they need.

Your workers are used to Smart Phones in everyday life and these new SAP Apps allows them to work with SAP in a very familiar way, using barcodes or 2D barcodes to increase performance and accuracy. This enhances their User eXperience (UX) with SAP and speeds work flow.

For more details on how you can revolutionise your SAP driven business, talk to an expert in mobile computer solutions at Barcode-IT.  Contact the team on 01200 441977 - sales@barcode-it.co.uk

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Barcode Label Printing from SAP with NiceLabel Enterprise

Printing barcode labels from within SAP is not new, its been going on since I started in this business, which is a very long time ago.

But what has changed is the programming effort that is needed on the SAP side to generate quality barcode labels automatically fro SAP.

I the good (or bad) old days, some poor devil read the coding manual for the label printer of choice, Zebra, Printronix, Intermec, etc and wrote a custom SAP ABAP application to pull the data from the SAP database and then merge it with the hand crafted label design, hard coded from the printer language manual.  It took weeks!  In fact just getting the label design to work perfectly made many a good programmer a little greyer.

But finally SAP pumped out a finely made label and all was well, printers could be installed and labels easily produced.  Until...   Some idiot user or customer or marketing person wanted a change to the label design.  It could have been very minor or it could be a total label rewrite.  Whatever, its a very BIG deal, more or less a full rewrite as it was often easier to start again than try and alter (someone else's) code.

Today life is much easier and SAP Certified Business Connectors are available to allow printers like Zebra and Printronix to accept label information directly from SAP.

But, and its a big but, how easy is it to adapt a pre-defined SAP label ( one designed to support a standard SAP transaction, like a picking label or a warehouse put away label ), to meet the needs of a customer product label or a particular type of EAN 128 pallet label.

Enter NiceLabel and their SAP certified label print process.

Using the NiceLabel enterprise labelling platform, labels are designed using a easy to use Windows application ( NiceLabel Designer Pro ). This is made easy because text, barcode and other label elements can be simply placed on the label, moved around and connected to SAP standard variables, imported by NiceLabel into the designer.  So for example, a part number from SAP can be created as any type of barcode and placed on the label at any location, in any orientation.  Plus for complex barcodes, like those found in EAN 128 pallet labels, where the barcode is made up of an number of data items concatenated together.
NiceLabel does all the hard work of building the complex barcode using the standard data from within SAP.  And for a future proof operation, NiceLabel will build and print 2D barcodes like QR or DataMatrix, soon to be widely used by the Pharma industry ( see this Article )

If you would like to know more about SAP barcode labelling using NiceLabel we are happy to offer demonstrations.

Call 01200 441977 and ask for Jonathan Pressley who will discuss your requirement and offer you a demonstration.  Sales @ Barcode-it.co.uk

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Error! - Print Head too cold

If you have ever see this error message on your barcode label printer "Error! - Print Head too cold", I'm guessing that your business involves working in a cool environment.  I say cool because you can see this label printer error even in a heated warehouse, if your printer is close to the receiving or loading dock main door or gate and the printer is in a cold draft.

Frankly it should not happen to a modern label printer but many of our customer report the error, especially on Zebra printers and of course they thinks its a fault that we can fix!  Well we cant fix it, its just down to poor printer head and electronics design or old fashioned thinking.  The printer detects that it cant heat the head to a high enough temperature to print the labels and so simply refuses to work, no option, no adjustment, tough luck.

So because Zebra printers have been around forever and are normally seen as industrial work horse printers, customers are amazed that merely having the printer in a cool spot close to an door that opens and closes all the time, the printer does not work!

 Flowers begin packed at JZ Flowers at 3 degrees C
I had this in mind recently when a new customer, JZ Flowers, who source and pack bouquet of flowers for all the major supermarkets, needed to print labels at 0-3 degrees C, as the flowers are stored and packed at this temperature to preserve freshness.

Thank goodness that some printer manufacturers are a little more forward thinking and design their printers to work in more challenging environments and my current favourite printer mid range label printer the Sato 4-NX has a working range of 0 degrees c to +40 C.

Still concerned I called the technical guys ( you can never truly trust the sales blurb ) and was assured that yes the Sato NX will indeed operate at 0 degree C.  But the tech guy was really surprised that other manufacturers could have a "Cold Head" error, saying that you just need the electronics to "zap" the head with power any time the head is below optimum temperature, using exactly the normal method used to heat the head for printing labels.

Needless to say JZ Flowers are having the Sato 4NX for their cold environment and we'll definitely be recommending the NX Range for customers who have or might encounter the dreaded "Print Head too cold" error.

Do your printers fail when the frost is on the ground?  Maybe its time for an upgrade to the Sato NX, available in 4 and 6 inch widths, 200, 300 and 600 dpi.

Call 01200 441977 and ask for Nigel Holloway who will discuss your requirement and offer you a demonstration.  Sales @ Barcode-it.co.uk

Barcode Label Printing - Guide to Best Practises

Barcode label printing
It needs doing but its not that important, is it?

Well yes, its actually very important and can halt your production, shipping or customer acceptance if it fails.  Just as importantly managing how barcode labels are produced can dramatically affect your business efficiency and/or your relationship with your customers.

Traditionally barcode labelling was something that had to be produced for the end product or carton and so was left to the warehouse or production staff. They would use a bit of software and a thermal label printer to knock out the labels and if some were wrong, had incorrect information, bad barcodes or rude messages, well it was a nuisance but not a big deal.

Today it is very different!  Barcodes are a key part of most production systems and warehouses, with the barcode used to identify product for picking and despatch and for customer goods receipt.  So any issue with the barcode, from poor quality to wrong product information can and will result in serious damage to the business.  Read the eBook below to get some perspective about how to bring your label printing in line with current industry best practise and make sure you avoid future problems.

Barcode Labelling - Best Practise Guide
Download your Best Practise Guide here
Our friends at NiceLabel have provided this free Best Practise Guide for Label Printing, that helps you choose the right Label Printing & Management Solution that will modernise and streamline barcode label printing throughout the business.

Oh and By the Way - the Sato NX range is still by far the best performing mid range industrial printer on the market for the money - Look Here

Call 01200 441977 and ask for Jonathan Pressley who will discuss your requirement and offer you a demonstration.  Sales @ Barcode-it.co.uk

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Sato NX - The future of barcode label printers.

Sato NX The future of Barcode Label PrintersBarcode label printers have been around for years now and we all pretty much take them for granted. To be fair within any price band, there is not much to choose between them, whichever manufacturer has their name on it.

Enter the Sato NX range.

But occasionally a new model will stand out from the crowd and offer a performance or specification leap that make it head and shoulders above the rest.

For less than the price of a midrange Zebra ZT or similar printer, the NX offers an amazing mix of advanced features and clever thinking that sets the standard. Its fast, but so are all printers today, it has excellent print quality, and it takes standard labels and ribbons from any of the current makes and models of label printer. That means you can swap this printer in without any change in media.

But it's the attention to detail in the operation of the NX that makes the difference. As well as its own excellent Sato printer language, the NX offers label printer language emulation for all of the major manufacturers. Running costs are reduced by having truly operator replaceable print head and platten and everything is designed to make working with this printer easy. The wide and deep label loading mechanism, the easy change waste ribbon spool, the multiple interfaces, LAN, USB, Blue-tooth and if you have legacy systems, serial and parallel (just in case).

Sato NX Range  showing colour screen
All this packaged in a really intelligent well made industrial package that unlike some major manufacturers, is over-engineered using that latest ​​cast metal chassis and metal outer case to provide real world ruggedness.

And if you are worried that your workers might have trouble using this cutting edge printer, panic not. The Sato NX range features a full colour display that is easy to follow and navigate. Plus it can display a number of on board self help videos that show the operator how to do most tasks, from loading the ribbon to changing the print head (easy by the way).

The whole printer is designed to make life easier.  
  • Easy for the Purchasing Manager, its the right price
  • Easy for the Operations Manager - its Plug and Perform
  • Easy for the Factory Manager - Its really tough!
  • Easy for the User - its super friendly and simple to use
  • Easy for IT - same interface and same software.

All this make the the Sato NX 4 or 6 inch printers a much better replacement for the now obsolete Zebra Z4M and ZM 400, than the ZT range with is much less rugged than its predecessors. It will plug in with the same interface and use the same software and even use the same ribbons.

See the Video Here - Sato NX range

Call 01200 441977 and ask for Nigel Holloway who will discuss your requirement and offer you a demonstration.  Sales @ Barcode-it.co.uk