For years the hand held industry has been a vital link in getting remote orders from the field to a corporate facility. It has been proven time and time again that the payback of "Just in Time" inventory produces cost savings by receiving an order within days rather than weeks.
Today this process is the industry standard and millions of orders are received daily. Though there has been great cost savings, there is room for improvement. How can a company get better orders eliminating the "lost items" of an order? Contributing to these "lost items" is the rapid changing of products in the catalog, which items are carried out by what vendor, and the antiquated means utilized to verify the bar codes. Legacy handhelds use check digits and length check to try to insure the item is entered correctly. This can't, however, insure that the item ordered is a current product, or that it is carried in inventory. Low storage capability and the slow processing power of older acoustic hand held units are the limitations of the older technology. The constant increase in the number of new products and resulting new bar codes has also contributed to the problem.
Newer technology handhelds offer a solution to the problem. With larger memory capacity, more horsepower in the processing unit, and faster connection speeds, it is very easy to load the entire product catalog in a portable hand held unit. Now when the customer scans something at the shelf label or product, they get instant feedback. The internal catalog gives a visual description to indicate the item is indeed what they want and the item is most likely in stock. Additionally, some systems even produce a "preferred pack" quantity, price, or additional information insuring that the clerk is getting what they want. Instead of a "beep" letting the clerk know they had a successful scan, they are seeing product information that verifies they are ordering the correct item and the right size package. The preferred pack can be used to streamline the distribution center and increase sales while offering a pack size that is consistent with how the product is packaged in the warehouse. This has proven very effective in companies that provide small items such as drug and non-food items to eliminate the special handling required by warehouse people in order preparation and fulfillment.