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Bulk FedEx Barcode Scanning

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  • Bulk FedEx Barcode Scanning

    Hi everyone,

    We ship boxes containing signage 3-4 times a week to about 1,000 stores for a retail customer. The boxes are usually 31 L x 20 W x 1 H and stack approximately 60 per skid.

    We use FedEX as our shipper and the FedEx label is placed on the flat top surface. When Fedex arrives to scan the barcodes, they need extra space to scan the boxes and then re-stack them on another skid which requires additional labor. In addition, we have limited space in our facility and this requires space that we do not have.

    Previous ideas to Fedex have included wrapping the label so that their barcode is on the 1" side of the box but this is not compatible with their conveyor/scanning systems. We've also asked about having a FedEx barcode scanner in house which was also not an option. We love working with Fedex and so we are looking for ideas on how to make the process of barcode scanning more efficient without requiring additional labor or space.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated,
    pd

  • #2
    Maybe just print 2 of each label and just give the driver a stack of labels to scan so he doesn't have the scan the actual boxes.
    Is it not possible to just scan them one by one as they load the truck? that's generally what our drivers would do.

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    • #3
      Shipstation.com allows you to create a batch barcode for an order containing multiple USPS packages, so that one barcode accepts a whole truckload. You might look into something like that. A kludgy solution would be to print two

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      • #4
        namelessentity, thank you for the suggestion. Unfortunately, FedEx labels are expensive and printing each label twice would double our cost. And yes, the FedEx guy scans the boxes before loading them on the truck but we are trying to find a more efficient way.
        SoggyWinter, thank you for the suggestion. We are looking into it.

        Anyone have any other suggestions or ideas?

        Thanks,
        pd

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        • #5
          Is it possible to print the FedEx labels to PDF in addition to actually printing the labels? If so you could print a second copy on plain paper for the driver to scan from and place the actual labels on the boxes.

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          • #6
            Hi hsearcy,

            I am currently trying that but so far, none of the PDF printers have worked.

            Best regards,
            pd

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            • #7
              So complicated. Just stick them on the copy glass and hit the green button before sticking them on the box. Instant copy. It's like magic from 20 years ago.

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              • #8
                Stand at a copier to copy 1,000 roll labels 3-4 times a week. There's several hours each day I will never get back. Brilliant.

                /sarcasm

                pd
                Last edited by prepressdork; 06-29-2018, 08:03 AM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by prepressdork View Post
                  Stand at a copier to copy 1,000 roll labels 3-4 times a week. There's several hours each day I will never get back. Brilliant.

                  /sarcasm

                  pdf
                  Can't you intercept the print data from the label maker and recompose it into a PDF somehow? OR why not try printing to PDF for the labels in the first place, then printing from the PDF a copy to the label maker and a copy on paper?

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                  • #10
                    Hey PN,

                    That's what I have been trying.

                    The shipping software uses standard Windows printers. I have tried two PDF printer products (CutePDF and BullZip PDF) both of which use GhostScript. The printer activity window shows that it's receiving content from the shipping software but no PDF is created and I get no errors. I am going to try the Adobe PDF Printer next.

                    pd

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                    • #11
                      I think you should contact your FedEx rep. There's got to be a simpler way to do this.

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                      • #12
                        We have and so far, we've not been able to come up with a way. I even suggested a batch barcode that when scanned is like scanning a batch of 1000 packages. No dice.

                        pd

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                        • #13
                          Escalate it to the next person. How do you think Amazon or whoever gets their system figured out? They have a contact at FedEx/UPS that helps them with any crazy demand.

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                          • #14
                            First thing to remember about this is: You are not the first customer to need what you're looking for. This is a common challenge and any carrier who's been around for awhile has a GOOD solution. It's just that "front line" sales and service don't always know everything.

                            So... Ask your contact at FedEx if they have a "freight manifest" system. If you get a blank stare, you'll know that you're talking to the wrong person. Ask if he/she can refer you to someone at FedEx who can help you with a freight manifest system.
                            A couple other possibilities:

                            I suspect your jam-up with Cute PDF and BullZip has to do with the size of the file you'd need to generate. If you are trying to output a file that is 1000 pages and each is as small as 300KB, you are still making a file that's 300MB... which will max out many PC platforms.

                            Print your labels to file with Cute PDF in smaller batches to keep your print file to something manageable.

                            Print out your labels as plain continuous paper the same size as your FedEx labels instead of making a pdf. Use cheap stock. Of course you'll still have to burst the pieces apart.

                            I'm sure FedEx can get you a system in place. After all, their driver is using up ("wasting") a lot of time scanning this stuff and FedEx allegedly hates waste.

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                            • #15
                              You can get a barcode scanner and scan the barcode data into excel as you stick labels on products (just wave the label under the scanner). Then at the end of the day, you can use that data to regenerate the barcodes that they scan one right after another on a sheet. Might take some basic scripting or barcode generation software/plugin but shouldn't be hard. Their barcodes aren't anything special.

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