For years, we’ve talked about how important it is to equip employees who work outside the four walls – in the field and travel industry, for example – with mobile technologies that empower them to stay productive while on the move. We also advocate for mobilizing warehouse workers, retail store associates and clinicians who tend to cover a lot of ground inside the four walls of a facility each day.
Yet, many workers who spend their days moving about on foot or four wheels actually need tools that enable them to complete any task on the spot, without leaving the spot they’re in at that moment.
That leads me to the topic of the day: why any company with asset tagging workflows needs to seriously consider investing in mobile printing solutions that can print and encode RAIN RFID labels on demand from anywhere, whether that’s 50 feet up a utility pole or 50 steps away from the nearest desktop label printer.
How Smaller RFID Printers Equate to a Bigger ROI for Many of Your RFID Labeling Workflows
RFID tagging is growing in popularity across many sectors as organizations seek ways to better track and trace inventory and assets. High-value goods such as industrial equipment, IT assets, retail apparel, footwear, returnable containers, pallets, packages, food, patient wristbands and even airline passenger baggage can be better monitored and more easily located with an RFID tag than a barcode-only label, as can pallets and even individual items on store shelves.
Yet, most RFID label printers are stationary printers that sit on top of a desk inside the four walls of a facility. That means that field-based workers must either batch print labels prior to heading out on their route (assuming they know which assets need to be tagged that day) or they must frequently travel to and from a printer workstation to print labels when needed. Even in workplaces such as retail stores, warehouses, hospitals or factories where the RFID label printer may be “nearby” – meaning technically accessible by foot – workers still have to stop what they’re doing to walk over there. Such movements are very disruptive to workflows and productivity.
Plus, giving workers a way to print an RFID tag and immediately affix it to an asset helps to mitigate the risk of mis-tagging, which is quite a common occurrence. Whenever workers have to walk away from the point of application to retrieve an RFID tag off a shared desktop/industrial printer, the odds increase that they will either grab the wrong tag off the printer, go back and tag the wrong item or become distracted and – since they didn’t have the RFID tag in hand that very moment – forget to actually retrieve it from the shared desktop printer and/or go back to affix it to the asset.
Therefore, workers who need to print RFID labels to do their job and do not have constant arms-length-type access to a desktop RFID printer really should be given a lightweight mobile RFID printer to carry with them everywhere they go. These include, but are not limited to, workers responsible for:
Here’s the catch: there aren’t a lot of mobile RFID printers available on the market today. In fact, Zebra is the only manufacturer that currently offers mobile printers with on-demand RAIN RFID printing and encoding capabilities. And until recently, we only offered fully rugged RFID printing solutions upon special request as a highly customized SKU as part of our ZQ500 Series. (Though the popular Zebra ZQ630 RFID mobile printer can be used for many warehousing, retail, transportation and manufacturing applications, it’s not inherently as rugged to withstand constant exposure to harsh outdoor elements such as dust or rain.)
However, we know how important it is to help all mobile workers stay put as much as possible. You can’t afford the time lost due to their frequent, and sometimes long distance, trips to the printer. So, we have re-engineered the most rugged mobile printers in Zebra’s portfolio to bring additional RFID label printing capabilities directly to the point of labeling, whether that is on the loading dock, in the middle of a store or in front of a residence, no matter the weather!
Meet the New Zebra ZQ511 and ZQ521 Fully Rugged Mobile RFID Printers!