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.
sato-nx-series

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