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06 Oct 2021 | 14:00

Why ‘XLR’ extra-long range scanning is must-have warehouse technology

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Long-range scanning in the warehouse

The commercial world is experiencing massive change, and it hasn’t finished yet. In particular, changes that were underway before COVID-19 took hold – ecommerce, the move to omnichannel, the digital supply chain and Industry 4.0 – have been amplified and accelerated by the pandemic, forcing many to catch up quickly with digital transformation and changing warehouse technology. 

For example, the UK has the most advanced ecommerce market in Europe, and it was showing strong growth before the pandemic, particularly in wholesaling and manufacturing.1 During lockdown, the internet became a vital gateway to goods and services for many people, even those unused to buying online, and ecommerce skyrocketed. Many of those ‘converts’ to ecommerce are expected to stay, and strong growth is predicted for online sales into the future. However, the pandemic also revealed major gaps in the world’s supply chains, and these have continued.2  This combination of pressures is giving warehouse managers and others some serious headaches, as they try to reconcile growing demand with limited supply chains.

For warehouse operators, this situation brings both problems and opportunities. On the bright side, their skills and services are in demand and this is set to continue. More warehouses are being built, and they are being built bigger and taller (especially taller) than ever before.3 On the other hand, digital transformation of the supply chain and sheer volume of warehouse traffic threaten to overwhelm those who can’t keep up with the pace of change. The roll-out of XLR technology is a perfect example, as our new guide, The Power of XLR Technology: Guide to XLR Technology in the Warehouse (produced in collaboration with Datalogic) explains.


What is XLR technology and why do warehouses need it?

As we have seen, warehouses are under pressure from an increasingly stretched (and digitalised) supply chain, which requires warehouses to work quickly and efficiently with minimum waste. Add to this the fact that warehouses themselves are getting bigger, and there is very little room left for error or productivity loss on the part of warehouse staff. Given current supply chain issues, this situation is likely to persist, and so any solution that can increase productivity is very welcome.

XLR technology, in the form of long range scanners (also known as extended range warehouse scanners or just extended range scanners) can help. Most warehouses use label scanners to optimise productivity, but as warehouses have grown, operators have found that some traditional warehouse scanners can no longer cope. This is because stock is increasingly placed a long distance from the forklift or worker, and often vertically and/or within plastic packaging. This gives the staff member a choice between bringing the product down to floor level, scanning it and then replacing it (all very time consuming), clambering up or over metres of stock (ill-advised)  – or finding something that can scan from ground level.

XLR technology does just that: providing long-range scanning. Long- or extended-range warehouse scanners are truly transformative items of warehouse technology, because they allow operatives to scan both items that are close at hand and those placed around 20 metres away, whether that distance is vertical, horizontal or off to one side. Good quality XLR scanners can do this through a forklift windscreen and/or through layers of clear plastic, and are not affected by grubby barcode labels. The optics and CPUs within modern long range scanners are incredibly fast and adjust quickly to changes in perspective, which means that operatives can collect data quickly and efficiently, from ground level or forklift cab, without having to waste time moving stock or trying to scan dirty or obscured labels multiple times. And of course, good long-range scanners can scan items close at hand as well, without compromising efficiency.

In short, long-range scanning can increase the speed and efficiency of warehouse operations, reduce time wastage, increase accuracy and reduce the risk of accidents caused by staff trying to reach out-of-reach items. Long-range scanners have an important role to play in making warehouses fit for the inevitable and imminent digitalisation of supply chains and logistics.


How can I learn more about XLR scanners as warehouse technology?

As a first step, why not download The Power of XLR Technology: Guide to XLR Technology in the Warehouse from our resource centre? It’s full of useful information about extended range warehouse scanners and their many uses. Alternatively, contact us through our webform or on social media at Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.







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