“Zappers” Simplify Handheld Data Collection

They don’t look like much,  just over two inches long and an inch wide, but the Opticon handheld barcode readers, coupled with Crescendo’s integration software, can revolutionize data collection in a number of common business scenarios.  Efficiency Partners entered the world of “zappers” just under two years ago when requests from two separate customer organizations coincided, spawning a clever new combination of hardware and software technology.

Designed originally for use in consumer catalog showroom applications, the zappers (the name affectionately given these devices by the EP staff) have a scan button and a smaller delete button.  As such they are amazingly easy to use.  They capture the time and date of scan as well as the barcoded information.  This information is then imported automatically to the Crescendo system via a USB connection.  The units also charge via the USB cable and can last for several weeks on a single charge under active use.  The small units have large capacity and can hold up to 10,000 scans at once.

Back in 2007, Efficiency Partners was approached by two customers simultaneously for two totally different applications.  Orion Fashions, a costume jewelry distributor to fashion store chains such as Macy’s and JC Penney, needed an efficient solution for its salespeople to track buyer appointments to its Manhattan showroom.  Faddegon’s Nursery needed a method to track the time and activities of its interior plant maintenance service technicians.  EP struggled to figure out how to make vastly more expensive, bulky and complicated handheld computers do the job for Orion Fashions.  Then Karen McGowan of Faddegon’s Nursery faxed over a picture of the simple, tiny unit she had found on the internet.  One look at the picture and Sam Hazleton, EP’s lead designer, knew that Karen had stumbled on the perfect solution for both applications.

EP’s development team went to work immediately to create the necessary interface programming to allow the Crescendo system to communicate directly with these simple devices.  They also created specialized showroom appointment tracking applications.  Now, when a buyer enters Orion’s showroom, they are handed this small device and they simply scan the styles of jewelry they are interested in.  Orion’s salespeople then plug the unit into the USB port and the system produces nicely formatted emailed quotes with pictures and pricing for the selected styles.  The new process is simple, efficient and furnishes much more accurate and rapid feedback to Orion’s customers.  The new scanners have drawn rave reviews from Orion’s customers, salespeople and management.  Ben Miller, Orion’s Chief Operating Officer, says of the new system that “It is a god-send, as it has not only decreased the workload; it makes for a smoother operation.  It is forward thinking like this program that sets Orion apart from its competitors.”

All the showroom benefits notwithstanding, Orion doesn’t utilize one of the most useful features of the zappers, which is its ability to capture the time and date of the scan as well as the contents.  This time and date tracking makes the Opticon zappers a perfect tool for technician time tracking.  Efficiency Partners itself uses the scanners for this purpose and has gained useful and accurate project analysis without burdening its technicians with laborious record keeping.

The zappers also have a great application in performing physical and cycle inventory counts and in tracking activity on the manufacturing floor.  The interface programming can be easily and directly linked to any Crescendo database.  Because the Crescendo system naturally produces barcode charts of any customized information, and because all Crescendo business documents can easily include barcodes, these barcode readers can be readily incorporated into any physical process for optimum efficiency, portability, accuracy and economy.

Give us a call at 518-874-0616 to discuss how these inexpensive devices, coupled with EP Crescendo software, can help revolutionize your operations.

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