Goods traceability and identification are vitally important elements in the supply chain. The most practical and reliable technology that can be used in this area is the barcode. Whether it involves the traceability of an individual product within the logistics process or transporting pallets, if the item comes with a barcode, all the necessary information is directly available. The data can be easily read using a barcode scanner which saves a great deal of time and avoids mistakes.
"We want to offer our customers a reliable service. This means that we need to have our logistics process in order," says Johan Berghs, ICT Manager at Flextronics. "For us to save time and money, it is important that goods are easy to trace. As we mainly transport expensive items, the security aspect is also extremely important. Every year we process on average some 819,000 pallets. If these items didn't have barcodes we would be considerably less productive."
Since Flextronics works for a number of different customers, there are also different requirements specified for the labels being used. For instance, if different measurements are used, the quantity information on the label may vary for each customer. Depending on the type of transport being used, there will be different requirements specified for the labels' durability. This means that the printers must be multi-functional to be able to meet these requirements.
"Our distribution centre operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," continues Berghs. "The printers must be able to endure this intense heavy work load and need minimal maintenance. Of course, you cannot compare these at all with the printers used in an office environment."