It was this user feedback which helped E.H. Harms' managers to outline a clear requirements specification for the ideal barcode printer. Wireless connectivity, light weight, easy-to-use and long battery operating life were all key criteria.
The systems integrator that was chosen was a specialist in implementing automotive ID applications for operational and planning warehouse and transport logistics and had already installed, managed and maintained the existing printers at E.H. Harms, as well as the S-UHF radio systems.
After carrying out marketing research, the Zebra QL 420™ mobile printer was chosen. Being specifically designed for warehouse use, it is designed to be suitably compact and robust. A rubber over-mould protects the printer's sharp edges. This ensures vehicles are not damaged if an employee accidentally knocks against the vehicle paintwork with the printer while working on the vehicle. However, it was particularly the printer's light weight - 907 grams including the battery - and the various connectivity options which were key factors in choosing the QL 420 printer. In terms of connectivity, the QL 420 can be networked via WLAN, Bluetooth or IrDA. Given that all the car terminals will be equipped with WLAN in the future, this was an important factor. Online scanners were planned to be used in Duisburg with the new mobile printers, which have Bluetooth Radio.
After an initial 2 month testing phase at the Harms head office in Bremen, the company's systems integrator recommended a 1:1 Bluetooth connection between the scanner and Zebra QL 420 mobile printer as the most stable and suitable solution.
In order to tailor the printed labels exactly to E.H. Harms' requirements, the systems integrator supported its customer in adapting the print files on the IBM iSeries server. "When we were setting up the iSeries server our contacts at Zebra were on hand with practical advice," says Frank Verhufen, Managing Director of Harms' systems integrator. "By carefully analysing the process requirements beforehand and thanks to our effective management during the implementation phase, we were able to completely eliminate potential sources of errors. As a result of this, the project was able to run in real-time without any problem, which has given a great boost to the staff's acceptance."