Now Medallion Cabinetry uses wireless mobile computers and printers to immediately document the delivery—with clear paperwork for the customer and a wireless update to Medallion's records system at headquarters. Systems integrator Emkat, Inc. worked with Medallion Cabinetry to create the system, which features a barcode on every product to facilitate tracking at each step during truck loading, transportation and delivery.
Drivers previously used preprinted orders and checked products off as they were loaded onto the truck and unloaded during delivery. Occasionally products were missed, which threatened order accuracy. Now, drivers record all product movements using a Symbol MC70 handheld computer with integrated barcode scanner from Motorola, which is also loaded with order details. The software application Emkat developed alerts delivery drivers if orders are incomplete and if incorrect items have been unloaded for the delivery.
"Now we can verify the right product was unloaded from the truck at the right spot," said Scott.
Customers sign directly on the handheld computer screen to acknowledge the delivery. The driver then enters the delivery transaction, which sends a command using its Bluetooth® wireless interface to a rugged RW 420™ mobile printer from Zebra Technologies to create a delivery receipt, complete with the image of the customer's signature. Simultaneously, the wide-area radio inside the handheld computer sends a transmission to Medallion Cabinetry headquarters to update the host computer system in real time.
"We've taken a lot of the human intervention and human mistakes out of the process," said Scott. "Now we have information instantly. Because the records are electronic, if a customer calls and wants information or a copy of their order, we basically just have to push a button." The software application helps keep errors from entering the system. The legible, signed delivery receipts also prevent errors by giving customers a clear and accurate reference for inquiries.
"Now everything is clear, which helps when customers call to check.We wanted a mobile printer that was very high quality and wouldn't fail, so we didn't really look beyond Zebra. We have used other Zebra® printers for years, and they've been very reliable," said Scott. "We put our mobile equipment in some real tough environments—our drivers literally work anywhere from 20 degrees below zero (-20° F) to 120 degrees above and they can be hard on equipment.We knew we wouldn't have to worry about Zebras because they're made for these environments."
Scott said the Zebra printers also stood apart from others because of their small size and ease of use, particularly for changing paper. Bluetooth connectivity to the handheld computer was another attractive feature. "The less physical connectivity you have to do in the field, the better off you are," Scott said. "We didn't want to be tethered to anything, because if the connector breaks, you're stuck.We're not having any trouble whatsoever with our printers."