Selecting the Right Hardware for Apps from Insight Works

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The Dynamics 365 Business Central apps from Insight Works enable users to streamline operations. Depending on the specific Insight Works app, you may require additional hardware, like a mobile computer, barcode scanner, label printer, or other equipment.

A question often asked is: “What devices should I be using with my apps?” There is no shortage of devices to choose from, and so this decision can quickly become overwhelming. Don’t fret, though. In this article, we’ll help simplify the decision-making process so you can feel confident that you’re on the right track.

Devices for Warehouse Insight / WMS Express / Advanced Inventory Count

Warehouse Insight, WMS Express, and the Advanced Inventory Count app from Insight Works enable users to scan barcodes to manage warehouse operations. Barcodes are scanned using a mobile computer equipped with a scan engine. The mobile computer is connected directly to Business Central, so the mobile computer and Business Central interaction is real-time.

There are five primary factors to consider when choosing a mobile computer. These are:

  1. Ruggedness
  2. Scan Range
  3. Camera
  4. Form Factor
  5. Price

Please check out the “How to Choose a Mobile Computer to use with Business Central” article to dive deep into understanding these factors. Alternatively, you can watch our “How to Choose Barcode Scanners for Business Central” video.

Mobile Computers

What we recommend
Mobile computer manufacturers Datalogic, Honeywell, and Zebra, offer a range of devices depending on your specific needs. To view the selection of devices that work well with the Insight Works’ apps, please visit https://www.dmsiworks.com/shop/mobile-computers/.

If you find the selection of devices to choose from overwhelming, visit the article referenced above to help provide some clarity.

What we DON’T recommend
We do not recommend the following device options:

  1. A USB or Bluetooth scanner connected to a laptop computer or tablet. This is a clunky option and makes it difficult to work efficiently within a warehouse setting. It’s tough to operate if one hand is busy holding a scanner and the other holds a laptop. Even if the computer or tablet is fixed to a kart, the screen is often not in your sightline to confirm actions.
  2. A consumer-grade smartphone. Phones don’t have scan engines; instead, they use a camera to process barcodes, so the scanning process may be slow. Smartphones will not match the ruggedness of a purpose-built mobile computer. Mobile computers can handle drops from 4′ to 10′ depending on the model you choose. Finally, smartphones are not ergonomic, so working a shift can cause soreness and fatigue. It’s worth noting that the apps from Insight Works do not support Apple’s iOS.

Label Printers

For those using the Warehouse Insight, WMS Express, or Advanced Inventory Count apps, there may be times when you will need to print a barcode label to affix to a product or package.

There are a lot of label printer options ranging in price and features. Printer features include wireless connectivity, printing on different types of label stock, color or black and white ink, and other features.

Insight Works carries the popular label printer choices when used with the Insight Works’ apps. You can view the selection here: https://www.dmsiworks.com/shop/?swoof=1&product_cat=printers.

Devices for Dynamic Ship

The Dynamic Ship app from Insight Works enables users to manage their outgoing shipments within Business Central. Dynamic Ship users will log directly into Business Central and work with the app via the Business Central Windows or web client.

When it comes to the package management feature within Dynamic Ship, users need to scan barcodes to execute specific commands and scan product barcodes as items are packaged.

Typically shipping stations are found within a fixed location of a warehouse, which means a computer terminal connected to Business Central will normally suffice. In other words, a mobile computer is not required.

Barcode Scanners

When it comes to scanning barcodes at a fixed shipping terminal, a simple handheld scanner is all that is required. Although other options may be available, handheld scanners typically interface with a computer via a USB cord or wirelessly with Bluetooth.

The other variable to pay attention to is scanning 1D, 2D, or 1D and 2D barcodes. You’ll want to ensure the barcode scanner you choose can process the type of barcode you plan to use.

To view the specific scanner hardware we recommend, please visit https://www.dmsiworks.com/shop/?swoof=1&product_cat=handheld-scanner.

Printers

Dynamic Ship enables users to print shipping labels directly from Business Central. Printing labels will require a printer and while your typical office printer can get the job done, using a purpose-built industrial label printer tends to help streamline your operation. A label printer prints quickly and onto adhesive labels. To view the specific label printers we recommend, please visit https://www.dmsiworks.com/shop/?swoof=1&product_cat=printers.

Scales

When you connect a compatible scale to Dynamic Ship, package weights will be automatically brought into Business Central and used when requesting shipping rates. There are many scale options on the market depending on the requirements of your operation. When selecting a scale to interface with Dynamic Ship, ensure the scale is USB enabled. Additional configuration is required to use a scale with Business Central so please speak with your Microsoft Partner for details.

Devices for Counter Sales

The Counter Sales app from Insight Works is a point-of-sale solution for professional salespeople at trade desks or sales counters. Hardware typically associated with the Counter Sales app includes a barcode scanner and possibly a receipt printer.

Counter Sales is run from a fixed terminal. In other words, a mobile solution is not required. The base requirement is a standard computer running Dynamics 365 Business Central with the Insight Works’ Counter Sales app. Counter Sales users will log directly into Business Central and work with the app via the Business Central Windows or web client.

Barcode Scanners

The Counter Sales app is capable of scanning product barcodes during the check-out process. A simple handheld scanner interfaced with your computer terminal is all that is required. There are a couple of variables to consider:

  1. Cord or cordless: Handheld scanners will typically interface with a computer using a USB cord or wirelessly via Bluetooth.
  2. 1D barcodes, 2D barcodes, or both: What type of barcodes do you need to scan? Make sure to select a scanner that meets your requirements.

To view the selection of handheld scanners Insight Works recommend, please visit https://www.dmsiworks.com/shop/?swoof=1&product_cat=handheld-scanner.

Receipt Printers

A common practice for printing receipts from the Counter Sales app is using a standard commercial-grade laser printer. In some instances, users want to use a receipt printer. Receipt printers can be easily integrated with your computer terminal. Insight Works does not have any specific receipt printer recommendations; however, we can provide options, so please reach out.

Terminals for Shop Floor Insight

Shop Floor Insight is a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) app for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. Shop Floor Insight allows employees to use barcode scanners or touch screens to speed up shop data input for time, material, quality, and more.

A common question is, “What type of terminal do I need on the shop floor to use Shop Floor Insight?” Below we’ll outline a few of the options to consider.

Option 1: Stand Alone Fixed Terminal

The most common setup for a Shop Floor Insight terminal is a stand-alone terminal available on the shop floor. Depending on the size of your operation, you may consider multiple stations for easy access by all employees.

The terminal consists of a computer with a screen and a barcode scanner. While a mouse and keyboard are not necessary for Shop Floor Insight, they are typically needed to set up and maintain the terminal.

There are several computer options to choose from. These include:

  1. Standard Windows PC (with or without a touch screen)
  2. Chromebox or Chromebook
  3. Thin Client
  4. Stick PC

Any of these options will work, and what you choose to deploy will depend on your own IT policies, how much you want to invest, and what makes sense for your specific environment.

The terminal may be placed on a centralized workbench or on a cart. Again, the location will depend on your specific environment. You will want to make the workstation easily accessible to those you need to access it.

Option 2: Tablet

Some users of Shop Floor Insight consider using tablets. Tablets are not recommended because the smaller screen limits the amount of information that can be displayed. In addition, the Microsoft licensing of tablets can get expensive. Finally, Shop Floor Insight does not support Apple’s iOS, so you need to consider a tablet with a Chrome or Windows operating system.

Barcode Scanner

A big feature of Shop Floor Insight is the ability to scan barcodes to track time. Of course, to scan a barcode, a barcode scanner is required. A simple handheld scanner interfaced with your computer terminal is all that is needed. There are a couple of variables to consider:

  1. Cord or cordless: Handheld scanners will typically interface with a computer using a USB cord or wirelessly via Bluetooth.
  2. 1D barcodes, 2D barcodes, or both: What type of barcodes do you need to scan? Make sure to select a scanner that meets your requirements.

To view the selection of handheld scanners Insight Works recommend, please visit https://www.dmsiworks.com/shop/?swoof=1&product_cat=handheld-scanner.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this article has provided some guidance regarding hardware to accompany the apps from Insight Works. While we have narrowed down the available options, the final choice will be dependent on your specific situation. If you’re still looking for additional guidance, please reach out to your Microsoft partner or to the team at Insight Works.

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