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Pain but no gain for workers suffering with poorly designed barcode scanners


52% of workforce suffering from RSI. Time off work costing employers an annual average of £338 per person

BRACKNELL, UK. 13TH October 2016 - 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 £310 per person*. 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 – costing the employer £338 per person*.

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 from design changes
Workers unhappy with their mobile devices said that significant productivity improvements could be made with their recommended design changes. On 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%.

“UK workers using a mobile barcode scanning device are clearly suffering by using poorly designed, older generation equipment and it is damaging not only business productivity but also their health,” said Jan Kaempfer, General Manager for Marketing for Panasonic Computer Product Solutions. “With consumer demands for same day delivery and the number of scans a day rising with double digit percentage growth, technology must also continue to innovate if worker health and productivity are not to suffer further. An angled barcode scanner, easy screen visibility, a high precision pen and activation buttons on either side of the device are all clearly design benefits that would have a major impact on business productivity and the health of the individuals using the devices. From our own tests and the testimony of an RSI specialist, we have seen that the angled barcode in our latest Panasonic device and having the screen in constant view throughout the scanning process, removes the need to tilt the device – helping to keep the arm and wrist in a stable position and reducing the chances of RSI or arm pain.”

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

For further information visit:

*Sickness costs based on XpertHR’s survey on the cost of British worker sickness 2014, based on data provided by 670 organisations, covering just under two million employees.

Press contact:
Michael Bartley
The Amber Group
+44 (0)118 949 7750

About Panasonic System Communications Company Europe (PSCEU)
PSCEU is the European branch of Panasonic Systems Communications Company, the global B2B division of Panasonic. PSCEU’s goal is to improve the working lives of business professionals and help their organisations’ efficiency and performance. We help organisations capture, compute and communicate all sorts of information: image, voice, and textual data. Products include PBX telephone switches, document printers, professional cameras, projectors, large visual displays, rugged mobile PCs and fire alarms solutions. With around 400 staff, engineering design expertise, global project management capability and a large European partner network, PSCEU offers unrivalled capability in its markets.

PSCEU is made up of four product categories:

  • Communication Solutions, including professional scanners, multifunctional printers, telephony systems and SIP terminal devices.
  • Visual System Solutions, including projectors and professional displays. Panasonic offers the widest range of Visual products, and leads the European projector market with 28% revenue share. (Futuresource B2B market tracking, Q1/2014)
  • Professional Camera Solutions, including Broadcast & ProAV products, security, fire alarm systems and industrial medical vision (IMV) technology. Panasonic is one of the top two professional camera vendors in Europe.
  • Computer Product Solutions helps mobile workers improve productivity with its range of Toughbook rugged notebooks, Toughpad business tablets and electronic point of sales (EPOS) systems. As European market leaders, Panasonic Toughbook had a 66% revenue share of sales of rugged and durable notebooks and Panasonic Toughpad held a 59% revenue share of sales of rugged business tablets in 2015 (VDC Research, March 2016).


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