Pain but no gain due to poorly designed barcode scanners

Logistics and delivery workers say the pressures of work and poorly designed mobile barcode scanners are affecting their health and productivity, according to latest research. 63% reported they suffered from wrist or arm aches and pains with 69% forced to take time off for an average of two and three quarter sick days in the past year – costing their employer a lot of money. Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) also affected 52% of the workforce with 78% of those affected having to take an average of three sick days in the past 12 months.

The Scanning Pain For No Gain report, undertaken by independent market research company Opinion Matters and commissioned by Panasonic Business, reported that 60% of workers from the delivery, warehouse and logistics industry felt their mobile barcode scanner device was only fairly effective or not effective at all.
Their biggest stress factors were the slow and cumbersome scanning process due to the device being used (32%), the time it took to scan packages (31%), hard to scan items (26%), delivery times being reduced (23%) and the number of packages to be scanned in a day (22%).
To compound the problem, workforces believed that scanning requirements were dramatically rising with the average worker saying they scanned 197 times a day with year-on-year growth estimated at 24%.

Device issues

Poor battery life (46%), screen visibility (27%), poor signature sensitivity (19%), difficult to scan (14%) and failed scan attempts (14%) were the top device design complaints from the workforce. Failed electronic signature capture was also reported as a productivity drag, with workers seeing an electronic signature capture failure once every two days.
The top three suggestions to improve barcode scanning and signature capture were a high precision pen (49%), a device with an angled barcode scanner (36%) and better screen visibility in bright sunlight (22%).

Major health and productivity improvements

Workers unhappy with their mobile devices said that significant productivity improvements could be made with their recommended design changes. O average, workers said scanner activation buttons on both sides of the device could increase scanning numbers by 13%. An angled barcode scanner and high precision pen would improve scanning productivity by 12%.


The study was undertaken in April 2016 and the research sampled 500 UK mobile scanning workers. To download a full copy of the report, please click here.




Barcode scanner, Barcode scanners, Health, Intralogistics, Panasonic, Scanner, Scanners

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