Create a better way to sort and label a huge volume of packages, replacing a costly and time-consuming process while reducing capital, operating and environmental costs.
Using a wearable Handheld SP500X ScanPrinter that integrates 2D imaging, inkjet printing and wireless communication, workers can scan, print instructions and sort more than 1,250 packages per hour.
Streamlined operations and lower costs for a major delivery company, including expected operational savings of more than $18.8 million.
The SP500X Scan-and-printer revolutionizes materials handling reducing operating and environmental costs.
In our pandemic-impacted world, supply-chain concerns are huge, and the volume of package shipments crisscrossing the globe has increased dramatically as people shop and do business more online. At the core of this frenzied industry, one of the world’s largest package delivery companies manages distribution of more than 16 million packages daily, sending them to spots around the world as quickly as possible.
Fortunately, the delivery company is able to work more efficiently than ever, thanks to being the first in the industry to use Handheld’s new SP500X ScanPrinter – a unique scan-and-print solution that combines 2D imaging, inkjet printing and wireless communication in one device. It’s the only product in its category, and it represents an evolutionary leap in the logistics industry, one that can benefit businesses of all sizes.
Customers of this logistics giant expect their packages to arrive at the right place, on time, intact and at a reasonable cost. This means there’s pressure on the company to continually identify new technologies that can increase efficiency, speed up operations and reduce costs. Being proactive, Handheld approached the delivery company to collaborate as they developed the SP500X, and their workers served as “product testers” who provided Handheld with invaluable direct feedback. And the resulting product has streamlined the logistics company’s package scanning, sorting and labeling – to the tune of a projected $18.8 million in operational cost savings over the lifetime of the devices.
The endless, overriding goal for the package delivery company was the same as any business of any size: increase efficiency. In their case, that meant taking a closer look at the process for unloading, sorting and reloading packages for delivery – the core of their service model.
They had previously relied on mobile trolleys loaded up with thermal printers, PCs, monitors and keyboards, using these unwieldy contraptions to scan packages and print labels with the corresponding handling instructions. The process was inelegant and error-prone, requiring a team of three people to unload, scan and sort each group of packages. Each employee had to be trained to operate and troubleshoot multiple pieces of equipment, and the setup was an environmental mess; the thermal printers used peel-off paper labels, and the backing paper ended up in the waste stream.
Given the inefficiency and the high operational and environmental costs, the company needed a proverbial “technology unicorn”: a truly mobile, all-in-one device that would reduce labor needs, speed up the sorting process, reduce errors, save money and be better for the environment.
The SP500X met that need, and it radically changed the package-handling process. First of all, it allows one person to handle scanning, printing and sorting. And it’s not just portable; it’s wearable – the lightweight device is small enough to wrap around a worker’s hand. That capability alone streamlined operations and reduced the number of employees needed to handle packages.
But the delivery company has enjoyed many additional benefits. Among the most liberating is the SP500X’s Wi-Fi capability, which connects each device directly to the company’s existing IT system – allowing the user to tap into the back-end data to instantly identify packages and determine delivery locations, instructions and more. Plus, the device is as mobile as its operator, meaning each worker can freely move around a facility without losing the Wi-Fi network connection, or having to drag around a printer on a cart.
As the linchpin of the company’s connected data system, the SP500X has sped up package handling, drastically reduced errors and eliminated paper label printing.
For each package, a worker with a hand-mounted SP500X scans the 1D or 2D barcode (it can also read postal, OCR codes and other scannable images). The SP500X transmits the info to the warehouse management system; the system recognizes the package and identifies where it should go, communicating instantly back to the device. Then the worker uses the SP500X to print instructions directly via a fast-drying, smudge-free, non-toxic image that prints equally well on plain paper, polyester or other common surfaces.
Using this smoothly efficient process, workers can complete more than 1,250 scans and prints per hour, operating at cycles as fast as two seconds per package. The SP500X’s lithium-ion battery can deliver up to 5,000 scans and prints per charge, and its custom print cartridges can output thousands of prints. The battery is warm-swappable, maintaining Wi-Fi compatibility and minimizing downtime. And users can customize the front-lit LCD screen to show the information needed for each worker and location.
By using the SP500X, the delivery company has eliminated an estimated 1,300 tons of label paper. And besides the convenience of having both hands free as they work, users can easily swap the straps and pads during shift changes, so each user can have their own sanitary set. The device is also durable and rugged, meeting stringent MIL-STD-810G and IP53 ratings that certify protection against shock, dust and water sprays.
The package delivery company has deployed the SP500X at multiple facilities; at the largest of these, the devices are used to sort an average volume of 1.5 million packages a day, at a minimum. Beyond the $18.8 million savings in operating costs, the company also projects additional capital cost savings of $11.8 million.
The scale of the delivery company is what pushes the savings into the stratosphere. But the principle is the same for any business: If you can do it faster and more accurately, with fewer people and less waste, the benefits are undeniable. Whether it’s another high-volume logistics operation such as a postal service center or an inventory management system, or if it’s used for price markdowns or even lumber stamping, the SP500X streamlines and simplifies operations, making materials handling far less expensive and time-consuming for a wide array of users.