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5 Steps to Achieving Low TCO on Your Next Bar Code Scanner

4820_app02_webThe value placed on the equipment we use for business runs the gamut between insignificant (like your stapler, for example) to very significant (like your computer). When we refer to “value” we’re talking about the big picture – the overall value provided by the device – from its cost to the function it performs. From the perspective of the warehouse worker, it’s important to keep productivity high, and costs low. There’s not much room for downtime, and the cost of errors due to mislabeling, misshipments, packing errors and stockouts compound the costs incurred.

With a focus on barcode scanners in general, they are relatively low cost compared to the huge value they provide in the warehouse. If you compare the amount of time it takes to accurately and efficiently process an order, or be able to effectively keep track of inventory or assets with an automated solution, you quickly realize how valuable these devices can be. And relative to a mobile computing device, a handheld barcode scanner is inexpensive; packing a punch in the value category. Even when you add features like Bluetooth® capability or upgrade to an industrial-grade scanning device, you squeeze in even greater value to help increase operating profits.

Scanner Value: What to look for.

Unit price is definitely a consideration when searching for a new scanning device, but it should not be the only factor being considered. There are a variety of models to choose from, and understanding what functions you need, along with performance and reliability data of the models you’re reviewing, you are likely to find a device well-suited for your environment. Here are 5 questions to ask yourself as you begin your research to ensure the greatest customer satisfaction and lowest total cost of device operation:

How established is the company? Do they have a prominent US presence?

  • A company with a strong reputation in the industry means they are doing something right; with the testimonials to prove it
  • The ability to obtain adequate technical support or service when needed is critical since time is always of the essence

Despite the cost, will my employees be satisfied with the performance?

  • Ability to accurately and quickly scan barcodes is a critical function and keeps things moving
  • Also critical is robustness; whether it’s retail, food service, an industrial environment or a healthcare facility, these devices need to stand up to the abuse of multiple users and fast-paced operations
  • Reliability, ease-of-use and even battery life all play a part in total cost of ownership

What kind of warranty comes along with these scanners?

  • A reputable scanner manufacturer with reliable products will always offer a competitive warranty (that’s your assurance of a quality product) 3-5 years is typically standard
  • Warranty should be considered into your TCO, since the warranty period will cover most costs associated with typical failures

What features are necessary for my application?

  • Choosing the right device will save you money over the long term.  For example, purchasing a commercial device for an industrial application may not be the right choice if the device will be dropped to concrete on a regular basis, be exposed to extreme hot or cold, or subject to dust, dirt, water sprays, etc.
  • Responsiveness is key – if the device does not scan very quickly, or has trouble reading codes that may be hard to read (wrinkled, faded, ripped, etc.), then move on to the next and compare performance
  • Do you need to scan at a distance?  If so, you’ll need to select a device that is specifically designed for long-range scanning

What are my total savings over 5 years if I choose this product?  You can quickly estimate TCO of each device using these criteria:

  • Purchase price
  • Length of warranty
  • Most popular failure & average (out of warranty) repair cost
  • General life of the product

Keep in mind lost time and possibly lost business if production is halted with a failing device. That also increases the total cost and decreases value.

Cheaper isn’t always better over the long haul. Remember, most of the low-cost, imported scanners only come with a one-year warranty. That means you will more than likely be buying 3 to 4 over a five-year period, if not more. It adds up! When you calculate TCO, your inexpensive scanner suddenly becomes not so inexpensive.

Avoid the headache of spending less now and more later. We can help you choose the right device for your application and keep your total cost of ownership low, while productivity stays high. Contact us today for the scoop on our most successful, cost-effective barcode scanners.