Barcode Scanners Used by Amazon to Manage Distribution Center Operations

Meagan Douglas
Wed, Nov 7, 2012


An article in the Edinburgh, Scotland, newspaper the Edinburgh Evening News discussed the importance of barcode scanners for Amazon’s holiday delivery operations.

Click here to learn how by using handheld computers such as barcode scanners, smartphones and tablets, mobile workers can access critical information and update enterprise systems in the warehouse and in the field.

The article focused on an Amazon distribution warehouse, which covers an area of 1 million square feet. The article noted that around 100 delivery trucks drop off a variety of items at the 22 docking bays where items are checked and sorted. Products are sorted into totes and bins, each of which contains a barcode that is scanned by workers at the facility. The barcode reader makes finding the location of each object, and fulfilling each order, easier for the company. With a warehouse arrangement that can look random to the untrained eye, the article noted that handheld scanners are used to guide collectors to the location of products. The wireless scanners are an integral part of Amazon’s stock-keeping system and part of the reason why Amazon has grown to be the world’s largest online store.

A recent Proteus survey highlighted how companies beyond the retail market are turning to new technological innovations to better meet customer needs. Field Technologies Online reported on the survey of 100 managers and directors of businesses across a variety of industries including communications, utilities, trade and waste management, which found that 72 percent had upgraded their workforce technology in the previous year and 43 percent planned to upgrade in the future. In addition, workforce productivity and customer service were found to be high on list of priorities for business managers across different industries.

As made clear by Amazon, the incorporation of technology such as barcode scanners can not only help businesses to meet customer service needs by giving users a better sense of their inventory, but can also increase workforce productivity by reducing the time it takes pickers to find products in a vast distribution center.

OS Systems are Changing

Depending on the exact OS and version, Microsoft will discontinue support sometime between 2018 and 2020. Organizations forced to migrate off legacy Windows mobile operating systems and onto Android and iOS operating systems may have to spend hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in new hardware and software. Developing mobile apps that only run on one of the mobile operating systems locks the enterprise into that platform — a very expensive mistake if you bet on the wrong OS.

Instead of losing sleep over which enterprise mobile OS will rule the day, IT executives should seek to develop apps that will run on any device, regardless of platform. With mobility evolving at such a rapid pace, it’s possible — if not probable — that your organization will want to use different devices and/or a different OS for part of your business processes in the future.  Read more in our free white paper: 

Avoiding the Million Dollar Mobile OS Migration Mistake White Paper

Read More about inventory scanners and compatible hardware for asset management systems: 

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