For its next-generation route accounting system, J.J. Taylor selected Microsoft® Windows® CE .NET based application software running on handheld computers, linked via Bluetooth® technology to extremely rugged Zebra® mobile printers. J.J. Taylor worked closely with Rutherford Associates and Barcoding Inc., an award-winning systems integrator and Zebra Premier Partner, to identify the requirements and recommend a solution that would support continued growth and innovation.
Barcoding Inc. and Rutherford Associates recommended a complete solution to meet J.J. Taylor's needs, which included Rutherford's eoStar route management software, Symbol Technologies' MC9063 handheld computers, and an upgrade to Bluetooth-enabled RW 420™ thermal printers, Zebra's most durable mobile printer. J.J. Taylor plans to convert more than 200 routes to this new system.
J.J. Taylor's IT staff had some concerns about converting from a cabled computer-printer configuration to the Bluetooth interface. The safety and convenience benefits for day-to-day operations were clear, but the IT staff envisioned a lengthy, tedious setup process.
"We're in IT, so when we hear 'Bluetooth' and 'setup,' we cringe," said CV Eaton, J.J. Taylor's MIS manager. "You expect that installation and configuration will take a lot of time, but the Zebra units were actually very easy to set up.We got the Bluetooth association done (a security configuration so the printers can only communicate with J.J. Taylor's mobile computers) in about an hour total for all the printers. That's not very long at all."
J.J. Taylor customers sign for their deliveries right on the mobile computer screen and drivers instantly generate a delivery receipt with the printer. The receipt includes an image of the customer's signature. Printing on site at the time of delivery also allows J.J. Taylor to include any changes to the invoice from the original order, for example to reflect credits or other adjustments. The application requires no paperwork processing for J.J. Taylor because all records and transactions are entered on the handheld computer and transferred to host systems.
J.J. Taylor had previously experienced some reliability and durability problems with its non-Zebra mobile printers. Because of this, Zebra units were chosen as replacements even though J.J. Taylor still had spare legacy printers that had not yet been deployed. The Zebra printers offered superior ruggedness, ease of use, and the quality and breadth of service that Zebra and Barcoding Inc. can provide. To improve performance and simplify maintenance management, J.J. Taylor also chose a convenient Zebra Complete™ supplies and service programme, so there is a single point of contact for any printer-related issues at any geographic location.