As mobility becomes more indispensable in warehouses and distribution centers, mobile printers bring added efficiency and productivity to multiple aspects of your supply chains. Utilizing mobile printers reduces errors and waste, saves employees time, and improves your return on investment.
A Costly Inefficiency
It’s no surprise that worker productivity decreases when employees have to leave their current task to grab labels from printers. Concentration wanes, delays pile up, and, sometimes, the wrong label can still end up on the wrong package.
Zebra Technologies, one of our partners, is one of the biggest enterprise-level scanner and data capture device manufacturers. Zebra’s study of receiving operations at a specific warehouse revealed that workers had to take nine steps from the current pallet to the printer workstation. The comparative analysis showed that employees were 42% slower to label pallets (almost 50 seconds versus 28 seconds) when using the workstation over a belt-attached mobile printer. When the warehouse found out about this productivity loss, the facility switched all of their employees over to mobile printers.
Profound Benefits for Productivity
Mobile printers can work indoors and outdoors, making them highly versatile and significantly more flexible than desktop printers. Workers can walk outside and start labeling bulky pallets and cargo containers without missing a beat.
If items are moving quickly on conveyor belts or only stopping at the warehouse for a short while before moving on, mobile printers drastically decrease time spent printing labels. On-the-spot labeling is the future, and it comes with a high accuracy rate.
Additionally, a forklift-mounted mobile printer can revolutionize warehouse workflows; errors decrease and incoming items are immediately labeled. It’s not uncommon for 100% of incoming products to be labeled without error.
Unquestionable Quality Assurance
As a result of reduced errors, QA time doesn’t have to be so nerve-wracking anymore. Inspectors use mobile printers for barcodes and shipping labels for QA’d items that indicate next steps.
In Zebra’s study of receiving operations at a warehouse, employees processed items at the put-away stage 62% faster with mobile printers, compared to walking over to the next aisle to pick up labels.
Minute Details Can Save Hours
If you’ve already set up LAN, the initial investment of implementing mobile printing is much lower. In general, eliminating cables saves facility managers thousands of dollars over the lifespan of the workstation printer.
A study on a retailer’s in-store operations found that each worker spent 2 minutes on average every day adjusting cables or making temporary fixes. This translated to a loss of 1.33 hours per week for eight workers. By switching to mobile printers, a team of eight employees gets back almost 5.5 hours per month.
Zebra’s comprehensive line of wireless mobile printers offers many features that suit any facility’s needs. Zebra’s products also come with strong security and network protocols that work with almost any network configuration.
Advantages for Every Vertical
At SK&T, our 20+ year client base spans almost every vertical. As a result, we’re experts in providing total custom solutions for each unique situation. We’ll detail specific productivity boosts in different verticals, along with our favorite pick for a mobile printer that will work in most cases.
In retail, employees can label items on-the-spot, audit prices, and create new price tags with mobile printers. Retail shops work well with any of Zebra’s QLn series. They’re a lightweight, premium solution that employees can clip to their belts or shoulder straps. The QLn series also offers heavier-duty lightweight devices that withstand 5-foot drops on concrete. A strong seal protects against dust and water.
In hospitality, hotels and restaurants can move customers through lines faster by printing receipts or labeling to-go boxes on the fly. Zebra’s iMZ line is perfect for customer-facing businesses. Additionally, the iMZ products look stylish, so they’ll fit into your brand, no matter how high-class or casual your establishment is.
At hospitals and laboratories, mobile printers can label test samples, name tags, medicine doses, and much more. There are several healthcare-specific devices in the QLn line that come equipped with disinfectant-ready plastics to reduce cross-contamination between patients.
Supply Chain Verticals
In manufacturing, mobile printers speed up quality control and inventory labeling. In warehouses, forklift-enabled mobile printers are highly useful for employee concentration and workman’s injury reduction. The QLn series is great due to its lightweight yet rugged exterior in the warehouse. But for field employees, the more rugged ZQ500 line works well for drops from higher heights. Zebra also certifies the ZQ500 line for drop, shock, and vibration.
In logistical settings using mobile printers, documentation is improved and more detailed. Distribution delays decrease, and labels can even be created when products are in transit. Our Zebra recommendations for logistics and transportation echo our recommendations for the manufacturing industry.
What Are You Waiting For?
Most companies are interested in adopting mobile printing solutions; however, according to a 2016 study, only 14% of those companies actually implemented it. Don’t delay—mobile printing can bring cost savings, reduce label waste, improve employee productivity, and move your warehouse into a more efficient workflow immediately.
And if you’re looking to upgrade, our Trade-In program can get you up to $650 back for each mobile printing device when you buy a Zebra solution.
Contact us today and keep your business on the move with mobile printers.