‘Mo­bil­ity is a clear trend’

With a lot of firsts and a num­ber of patents in the bar­code tech­nol­ogy, Honey­well Scan­ning & Mo­bil­ity is con­stantly look­ing to de­velop it fur­ther so that the ship­ping in­dus­try as a whole can ben­e­fit. Rafael Her­nan­dez, its In­dus­try Mar­ket­ing Man­ager for E

Cargo Talk - - User Perspective - HAZEL JAIN

How can the bar­code tech­nol­ogy as we know it to­day be de­vel­oped to in­clude never-be­fore­thought-of uses in the ship­ping in­dus­try?

The bar­code tech­nol­ogy is im­prov­ing greatly as pro­ces­sor power also in­creases with qual­ity, minia­tur­i­sa­tion and the lat­est state-of-the-art lenses that are used to read in­for­ma­tion.

Bar­code read­ers could be in­te­grated into com­put­ers that are fully de­signed to run out­doors, fully por­ta­ble, sin­gle-hand­edly on­line con­nected by mul­ti­ple ra­dios (LAN 802.11 or WAN GPRS/3G). The re­sult is not just a bar­code reader – it is a com­plete in­for­ma­tion sys­tem ready to re­ceive in­for­ma­tion and cap­ture data at any lo­ca­tion. What do these de­vel­op­ments mean to the ship­ping in­dus­try?

For the ship­ping in­dus­try, these de­vel­op­ments mean hav­ing ready de­vices that can read a bar­code la­bel 54 feet high. Its abil­ity is not lim­ited to read­ing a bar­code but also be able to read the bar­code let­ters and num­bers from a con­tainer or from a trailer and con­vert them into a man­age­able for­mat. What other uses can it have?

The de­vice can also take pho­to­graphic im­ages of unsealed or dam­aged con­tain­ers. For in­stance, a large Euro­pean ship­ping com­pany man­ages 7,000 con­tain­ers each week which are of­ten stacked five high. Track­ing the lo­ca­tion of each con­tainer is manda­tory. Ev­ery evening af­ter the port closes the com­pany is­sues ‘walk­ers’ through­out its yard to man­u­ally record each con­tainer’s code.

Half of the con­tain­ers have codes printed ver­ti­cally which are be­lieved to be un­read­able us­ing any type of scan­ner. This as­sump­tion has pre­vented them from au­tomat­ing. Honey­well in­tro­duced the idea of us­ing its soft­ware imag­ing to cap­ture both the ver­ti­cal and hor­i­zon­tal codes and dig­i­tally con­vert them with­out any is­sues.

The EX25 (a scan en­gine that can be in­te­grated to a mo­bile de­vice like CK71 or in a bar­code reader like SR61) is ca­pa­ble of scan­ning a bar­code that is over 20 feet high; which is usu­ally the case when mul­ti­ple con­tain­ers are stacked one above the other.

With these com­bined ca­pa­bil­i­ties, con­tain­ers can be scanned by sim­ply driv­ing by, thus speed­ing up this daily process of the ‘walk­ers’. To con­clude, the ship­ping com­pany re­solved its is­sues as­so­ci­ated with man­u­ally record­ing con­tainer codes. This has also im­proved con­tainer code record­ing ac­cu­racy and has saved sev­eral man hours. What trends do you see emerg­ing from the In­dia mar­ket?

The In­dian mar­ket has shown great po­ten­tial for man­u­fac­tur­ing and in­cre­ment­ing ex­por­ta­tions. Hence there is a need for more so­phis­ti­cated tools for au­to­matic data cap­ture, thus as­sur­ing data is cap­tured with 100% ac­cu­racy. What is your vi­sion for this in­dus­try?

Mo­bil­ity is a clear trend af­fect­ing all busi­ness ar­eas. Users in­creas­ingly need to be in­ter­con­nected and have on­line ac­cess to ERP sys­tems. ERP sys­tems in turn need to have ac­cess to all re­sources in the com­pany, as­sets and peo­ple and in the end be able to man­age in­for­ma­tion wher­ever it is lo­cated. Even in purely man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cesses, pro­duc­tion plants are fully con­nected with cus­tomer de­mand and main­tain a full com­mu­ni­ca­tion with sup­pli­ers in order to track the en­tire sup­ply chain.

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