In order to implement a SAP barcode scanning system, there is an initial task of printing and affixing barcode labels to all items that need to be scanned. Unless customers already have barcode label printing configured and operational in their SAP system, the simplest, most flexible and cost-effective approach is to use any commercially available, off-the-shelf barcode label design and printing software package to design and print barcode labels as needed.
Consider the simple case of a single warehouse that stores 10,000 different parts. Further assume that the warehouse has 10 aisles and that the task is to simply print and affix barcode labels to each of the bins in this warehouse.
- Plan the sequence of which aisles are going to be labeled and in what order.
- Manually print each label one-by-one and store them in such a way that someone else can determine which label needs to be affixed to which bin and identify where that bin is physically located within the warehouse.
- Organize a group of workers to take each set of labels and affix them to the correct storage bins.
Now consider the scope of the challenge for a company with many such warehouses storing significantly more materials and the additional challenge of printing and affixing barcode labels to each of the materials in each of the bins in each of the warehouses.
The following option is designed to address these barcode label printing challenges and simplify the overall process of getting the system ready to use productively.
The most common deployment architecture we see is a single, centrally installed instance of the NLINK ADC to SAP Solution that is used to support multiple warehouses, each with their own networked barcode label printers and barcode label printing needs.
In this case, the best operational approach is to install a single copy of the barcode label printing software at a central location, usually on the same computer that the NLINK ADC to SAP Solution is installed on (see above). The version of the barcode label printing software needs to support printing to networked printers deployed at any remote locations. Then, corporate IT and/or functional staff members can then design the necessary barcode labels and store them centrally as label templates.
To support this effort the NLINK ADC to SAP Solution can optionally provide a simple user screen that allows users to dynamically access the appropriate product data from SAP and send it directly to the barcode label printing software. The Barcode label design and printing software receives the data from NLINK, (along with the name of the label template and the network printer to print to), and then prints the appropriate label(s).
This approach allows users (as opposed to IT staff) to print labels on demand. So users can be assigned an aisle and then simply walk down that aisle in the warehouse printing barcode labels on-demand for each bin (and if necessary, each piece of material in each bin). Labels can either be printed to a portable wireless printer or printed to a printer that is located conveniently in the warehouse. This approach removes much of the planning and logistics normally required and can greatly simplify and speed up the initial task of printing barcode labels for bins and materials.
Click on the above PDF image to download this NLINK ADC to SAP Solution Case Study in PDF format.