Our client in a rural city some 300km from Auckland wanted to automate his gas bottle delivery service. With 2000 Gas Bottles and many rural customers the paperwork and time to manually key orders into their Infusion software was becoming a burden for their office. By printing a priced and time-stamped delivery docket and placing it in the letterbox he hoped to shorten the account collection cycle as well as alert the customer that their gas bottle had indeed been exchanged. With many customers located outside cell phone coverage, we designed our solution to be an off-line windows tablet based solution with a very simple to use user interface(UI) using barcode scanning.
Our initial suggestion was to use a laptop with a small laser printer inside the truck cab. Feedback from two laser printer suppliers was that laser printers have a very short lifespan in this environment due to vibration, dust and moisture issues. The client also felt it was going to be too bulky and suggested we use the same Zebra ZQ520 Mobile Printer as his Coca Cola rep used. We looked at various windows tablets options before setting on the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 that Fonterra use in their 500+ milk tankers throughout the country.
We wrote the printer interface in the Zebra ZPL language with a cloud database in order to support multiple Zebra printer models in the field. This gave us the ability to remotely change the docket format on the fly for the client. New formats are synced from the MOCO cloud to the Panasonic Toughpad automatically. This ensures we can change docket formats remotely for the client without a remote re-install of the software.