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Bar code scanning system adds traceability, subtracts manual data entry

Customized mobile software helps integrate production, shipping and other business functions.

Azteca Foods is a family-owned and operated leader in the Mexican foods industry, serving consumers and manufacturing partners globally. The company is headquartered in Chicago, where it operates a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility employing more than 135 people. Seeking a way to track pallets of goods moving through the warehouse, the company deployed a bar code scanning system.

Azteca wanted to improve traceability and eliminate manual data entry processes requiring operators to write down what they produced and what they received to balance finished goods data at the end of a shift. The new bar code scanning system (Barcoding Inc., consists of handheld computers (Zebra,, a customized mobile software application, an internally hosted Web service and network extenders for maximum wireless coverage inside the facility.

Now when pallets come off the line, warehouse operators scan a bar code. The application queries the Web service for information about the shift, the line, the product and the number of cases on the pallet. Using this data, the application generates a unique pallet identification number, stores the information and transfers it to Azteca’s back-end system.

“This customized solution will help drive our efficiency, accuracy and connectivity well into the future,” says Nannette Zander, vice president of information technology for Azteca Foods.

The company has achieved full traceability of goods moving into its finished goods warehouse. Managers can run reports in seconds to make sure production data is balanced on a shift-by-shift basis. The company plans to expand the solution by introducing printers that create pallet tickets to track product in the shipping process. Azteca is also planning to connect its database with its enterprise resource planning system to integrate production information with other business functions.

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About the Author

Josh Bond
Josh Bond was Senior Editor for Modern through July 2020, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.
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