India's largest e-commerce company improves product-tracking efficiency with TSC ME240 printer

India e-commerce shipping labels_ME240

MARKET:
Retail e-commerce

APPLICATION:
Shipping labels / invoices, dispatch management, centralized printer health-status monitoring

MODEL:
ME240

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Background:
Flipkart, a major Indian e-commerce company that owns the 10 most popular websites in India, was having trouble tracking its increasingly diversified online product offering – thousands of items ranging from movies, music, games, computers and mobile phones to stationery, clothing, toys, health care products and home appliances. The company's old product-tracking system was unable to keep up with its rapidly expanding product line and high volume of customer orders. Flipkart decided it needed to replace its aging product-labeling equipment with a reliable, easy-to-use barcode printer that would improve tracking efficiency and expedite goods delivery. The company issued a request for proposal for a barcode printer meeting the following requirements:

 • Barcode printer optimized for warehouse management and dispatch management
 • 24 x 7 operation
 • Expandable printer memory
 • Ethernet connectivity for improved printer working-status traceability
 • Centralized monitoring of remote printers
 • Linux OS integration
 • 203 dpi resolution logo printing (graphical) based on ZPL

Solution:
Flipkart decided to evaluate and test barcode printers from several manufacturers, including products from TSC and its Indian partner. The systems were graded based on reliability, durability, ease of use, programming support and service.

Working closely with Flipkart's senior management and technical team and financial team, TSC and its Indian partner were able to develop a solution – with the ME240 printer as the centerpiece – that met all of Flipkart's requirements, including the integration of the ME240 with Flipkart's required application and logo printing (a performance feature competitors were unable to offer).

TSC's solution included the following powerful performance features:

Performance and Monitoring Dashboard System (PMDS)
The TSC partner's PMDS software enables Flipkart to monitor ME240 printers from any location via their Internet IP Address or MAC Address.

Dashboard software constantly monitors printers, providing following notifications:

 • Number of labels printed (per day and cumulative totals)
 • Printer stoppages and duration
 • Open print head and duration
 • Label-gap sensing problem
 • Out of label
 • Date wise error
 • Date wise labels
 (notifications continued on next page)
 • Error List:
 – Carriage Open
 – No Paper
 – Paper Jam
 – No Ribbon
 – Printer Offline
 – Head Open

Automatic Information System
The TSC partner's PMDS software enables Flipkart to monitor ME240 printers from any location via their Internet IP Address or MAC Address.

Dashboard Online Monitoring System
Using the TSC partner's Dashboard Online Monitoring System, an administrator sitting at a central location can view the status of ME240 printers installed around the globe. The web-based application connects printers directly via an Ethernet LAN Switch, extracting information from printers using their IP address or MAC identification and uploading software updates remotely.

TSC passes technical evaluation, wins competition
After undergoing a series of demonstration and application tests, the ME240 passed all of its technical evaluations and met all of the following Flipkart requirements:

 • Designed Dashboard to monitor all the 260 printers from all locations.
 • Deployed Dashboard to manage from a central location all 260 printers across multiple remote sites.
 • Fully integrated Linux.
 • Provided "out of the box" emulation of popular ZPL printer language, making it easy to print FlipKart's logo.
 • Maximized memory with 4 GB SD card.
 • Eliminated Flipkart's planned purchase of 280 laser printers (a cost of USD $10,275, plus annual maintenance costs) that were to be used for invoice printing.
 • Helped design an information label that also serves as an invoice (see below).

Benefits:
 • Reduced costs
 • Lower error rates
 • Enhanced process efficiency
 • Real-time printer-status monitoring
 • Rapid error notification
 • Plug-and-play Zebra™ and Eltron™ language emulation

ME240 Features:
The 203 dpi ME240 offers a selection of options and accessories designed to meet a wide range of demanding barcode-label applications. More compact than its larger competitors, the ME240 fits easily into cramped work spaces and features a heavy-duty die-cast aluminum print mechanism that is built to withstand the toughest production environments. Standard features in the basic model include USB and serial connectivity, a two-button, three-LED display (a 6-button LCD control panel is available in the advanced model), a Real Time Clock, 8 MB SDRAM memory, 4 MB Flash memory and an SD Flash memory card reader that expands Flash memory up to 4 GB.

The ME240 is bundled with TSC's TSPL-EZ firmware, which offers automatic Zebra™ and Eltron™ language emulation "right out of the box." The printer simply translates each label format as it is received. Also included is DiagTool configuration software that makes it a snap to replace older printers with the advanced ME240 platform.

About Flipkart:
Founded by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, Flipkart began operations in 2007 as an online book retailer and quickly grew into one of India's largest e-commerce companies. According to Alexa Internet, FlipKart is now one of 10 most popular websites in India, selling everything from movies, music, games, toys, computers and mobile phones to stationery, clothing, perfumes, health care products and home appliances.

Flipkart has now launched its own product line under the brand name "DigiFlip," offering camera bags, pen drives, headphones, computer accessories and other merchandise.

FlipKart is headquartered in Bangalore, Karnataka, and currently has six distribution centers in India.

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