[vendtalk] inventory scanner

Harlon Cowsar II deucehc at gmail.com
Fri Jun 18 02:19:17 UTC 2010


    I use quite a few different types of assistive technology in my
business. As you have already mentioned, I do use the comuter with the JAWS
Screen Reading Software. I do use the talking cash register and I am
currently using the ID Mate Omni.
     In regards to the question about which is the better of the Bar Code
Readers, I can tell you that both are very beneficial to a blind manager.
The ID Mate summit is faster, smaller, and does allow you to manually keep
track of inventory levels but, depending on the manager and the type of
facility that he is running, all or some of these might not be useful. I am
interested in the Summit because it would be faster and would aid me in
loading my machines in a more timely manor. I am not interested in the
inventory feature to keep track of each little item in my canteen. I am
interested in the inventory feature because it would give me the ability to
keep track of the inventory levels in my snack and drink machines. I can
look at the machine and see when it needs to be filled but this feature
would allow me to keep track day to day of how many of what items were being
sold. This would aid me in developing planograms for my machines and would
also aid me in figuring out how many of what articles needed to be ordered
when. the size difference of the two units makes the Summit a bit more
convenient to carry than the Omni but neither unit is bulky enough that I
would not want to have it.
     The Omni is a fantastic piece of assistive technology. It will read the
bar code on a product and will tell you what the product is. If that
particular product is not already in the database, then you can verbally
record the name of the product into the usit along with any other
informatiion that you would like associated with that product and, the next
time you scan the product it would play that recorded message.
     If the product is already in the database, then in most cases, you can
find out the name of the product, the ingredients in the product, and the
nutritional information about the produc t. You can also learn package
sizes, manufacturers in some cases, and, depending on the product, you might
even find the cooking instructions. Furthermore... the products in the
database are not limited to food products. There are also medicines, hygene
producgts, cleaning products, clothing, etc. It is a very valuble device for
managers in the workplace or in the home.
     I use the I-Bill currency identifier.This is a new device that is small
enough to fit in a pocket and can accurately identify paper currency. It is
the first device of its kind that I have found to actually work.
     I also use the Braille Note. It is a personal Data Assistant that
contains a word processor, a planner, an address book, a scientific
calculator, and a Global Positioning System. I use this device to record my
daily records from my facility. I use it to place orders on the internet
from wherever I am at. I use it to keep track of addresses, telephone
numbers, email addresses, and a wealth of other information. I use the
planner and its alarm seeting to remind me on days that I need to place
order with particular vendors or to phone my payroll information in to my
payroll company. This is very helpful because, when you are in the middle of
a busy day working the facility and filling the machines and putting out
fires (metaphorically)LOL; it can sometimes slip the mind that there are
routine things that hve to be done before the close of business on that day.
     Also, when I first received the bid letter informing me of my current
facility, I was interested in it. I wanted to gain as much information about
the facility as I could and, being that I was living in another part of the
state, I was ot familar with the facility or the city that it was in. I used
the Global Positioning System and my Braille Note in virtual mode. It gave
me a verbal discription of the area. I could use the arrow keys on the
Braille Note to Virtually drive the streets around the building. I could see
all of the points of interest starting with the offices contained in the
building and, gradually moving away from the builing in ever widening
circles. By using this adaptive technology, I was able to see what offices
were housed in the building, what other buildings or businesses were around
the building and wheree any other restaurants or cafe;s were located in
proxumity to the facility. When I was satisfied that there was no commercial
competition within a given proximity to the facilty, I decided to tour the
facility, bid on the facility, and was eventually awarded the facility.
After that, the same GPS helped me to find hotels, apartment complexes,
grocery stores, Sam's Club, butchers, and all of the other businesses that
would benefit me either with getting set up to live in the area or with
getting set up to work and do business in the area.
     I use a Romeo Braille Embosser with my computer. This gives me the
ability to print out information in a medium that I can access. I was
recently given our state's new Technical Assistance and Guidance Manuel. I
received the manuel on a computer cd and sometimes I read through it using
the computer. Sometimes, though, I like to read without having to sit in
front of the computer. Sometimes I need to bring it with me when I travel.
For these occasions I have a Braille Copy that I embossed using the computer
and the Romeo Braille Embosser.
     I also use my comuter to design and print copies of menus for my weekly
plate lunch specials. I also use it to design fliers to advertise my
business and bring in new customers. All of these things are very helpful in
running my facility.
    I have a color identifier that is usefule for personal management and
can also be beneficial when sorting products. Small things such as
distinguishing between caffinated and decaffinated coffee might not call for
me to use the bar code reader. If the color identifier is available, I know
that the green bag is the dcaffinated and the red bag is the caffinated. I
also have a light identifier which is also very useful at home and at work.
The light identifier can tell me when a light is on in my apartment and
where the light is located. At work, however, the light identifier can be
used to inform me whether the power is on or off on a particular piece of
equipment. Most types of equipment have a smal light that turns on when the
power is on. If I hold the light identifier close to the small light, then
toggle the power switch, then I can tell what is on and what is off. This
can be very important these days becuase so many of the new pieces of
equipment have pressure pads or touch screens rather then a traditional on/
off switch.
     My computer is also equipt with a flatbed scanner and the open book
software so that I can scan and read printed text using the computer. This
comes in very handy when I have to look over invoices. i often do this to
check my prices on particular items so that I can work out a cost per case
or cost per unit price. I have to do this in order to fix prices for plate
lunches and other menu items. I cannot know what to charge for an item
without knowing what I paid for an item.
     I use an Olympus DS50 digital voice recorder. This is always handy
because I use it to record memos phone numbers, shopping lists, and other
small bits of information that I will need to access later. I will often
record a phone number on the recorder until I have the time to enter it ingt
the address book on my Braille Note.
     Finally, one of the most useful and wonderful pieces of assistive
technology that I use in the workplace and in my home is the KNFB Reader
Mobile. I have used this device in a million different ways. I use the cell
phone to read the newspaper on the NFB Newsline while I am in transit to
work in the mornings. I find all kinds of information out by reading the
newspaper that benefit me in my business. I know, for example, when the
Florida Tomato Growers settle with migrant workers to increase their pay for
harvesting tomatoes. Being that this might have an effect on the price of my
tomatoes, this is valuble information. Also, when the recent oil spill
happened in the Gulf of Mexico, there were articles in the newpaper
documenting how the prices of my products might be affected if the spill
caused river traffic on the Mississippi River to be halted to avoid
contamination. Such and event would cause companies to ship their products
in over land rather than by ship and this would increase the price that I
would have to pay. There are many other example of how reading the papers
has helped me to forcast future events that could affect my business.
     I use te cell phone to call my bank. I have to keep daily tabs on my
business bank account in order to properly account to my Cash on Hand at End
of Day. Doing this also helps me to keep track of what percentage of my
sales have been in cash and wha percentage of my sales were credit card
transactions. Doing this also aids me in properly recording bank fees on my
Other Expense Forms.
     I use the internet on the cell phone to check my emails and place on
line orders when I am out of town or in a circumstance that I can not access
my computer. the address book on the cell phone and the call history are
also vedry handy.
     The most valuble use for the KNFB Reader Mobile, though, is certainly
the digital imaging scanner. Using this device gives me the ability to read
my own mail. That gives me the option of whether to share the inforamtion or
not. I have used ot to read packaging. I have used it in restaurants and
hotels to read menus, telephone directories, doffe packages, and many other
things. I have used it to read the directions on new equipment that I have
received and i have used it to read invoices, payroll reports, bid letters,
profit and loss statements, and tons of other items. I love the indepence of
being able to read these things for myself and not having to ask a sighted
person to read them for me. It allows me to be in charge of my business. It
allows me to access the inforamtion I need to make good and wise choices
about my business and it allows me to know without a doubt that what is
being read to me is exactly what it is supposed to be.
     I learned to use all of these types of assistive technology while
training at the Lousiana Center for the Blind in Ruston, Louisiana and while
training at the Affiliated Blind of Lousiana Training Center in Lafayette,
Louisiana. I would not be where I am at today if it were not for the
exceptional training that I received from these two institutions and the
support that I received from the National Federation of the Blind and the
National Association of Blind Merchants. I cannot tell you how important it
is to have the necessary training in blindness skills and in business
management. I have read many books and have studied for several years to get
to where I am now at and I am so amazingly grateful for the training and
support that I have gained along the way.
     I use all of these types of assistive technology that I have mentioned
and so much more. These are some of the major assistive technologies tht I
use but i also use talking meat thermometer to make sure that my food
temperatures reach the appropriate points during cooking and I use them for
seeing that my dishes maintain the proper holding temperatures. I use
talking timers to notify me when the cooking time is up on foods that I am
preparing in the frier or the oven. I use the digital reader from the
Library of Congress Talking Books Program to read library books and
periodicals. I use it to read cookbooks, as well. I do not usually like to
follow recipes as I read them. I like to adapt the recipes in subtle ways in
order to make them my own. But I do like to read cookbooks because I learn
many ideas about which ingredients work well with which ingredients. I
recently read a wonderful library book about the Culonary Institute of
America that was written by a former New York Times Reporter. It was a very
interesting book about the training that the world class chefs endure while
training at the CIA. It was a very good book becasue it gave me a new
respect for the commitment and dedication that it takes to become a world
class anything. The story told of one chef who worked at a casino in the
Rocky Mountains. This particular chef, wating to be close to his restaurant
at all times erected a TeePee up the hil behind the hotel. He live in this
TeePee for almost two years while running the restaurant until he fell and
broke his leg. After breaking the leg he could no longer climb the hill to
get to his TeePee. Eventually he became an instructor at the CIA and taught
the fine art of cooking to new up and coming chefs in training.
     I mention this because the assitive technolgy from the library, while
seeming to be an innocent diversion from work or the real world has become
one of the ways in which i find inspiration and role models in my field of
     I hope that some of this information about the assistive technology
helps you and your friend to find things that will aid him in the successful
operation of his business. These are some of the ones that have been the
most helpful for me. Good luck and, if there is anything else that I can
help you with, please write anytime and let me know.


On Wed, Jun 16, 2010 at 10:40 PM, Bryan Schulz <b.schulz at sbcglobal.net>wrote:

> hi,
> Thank you for the details.
> I would like to hear about any of the adaptive tech that helps you manage
> your facility.
> I don't want to have a store but want to know so i can provide the right
> solution for a man who has a store and has nothing other than a bill reader
> and talking cash register.  He is doing everything by hand and customers ask
> why he doesn't have any xxx which happens when you depend on poor vision and
> you stock something other than expected.
> He will be getting the Id mate and a computer and i found out that weekly
> reports are to be calculated in pre-built excel sheets.
> does it matter which model of the bar code scanner is used?
> i found out that the omni has been ordered and the summit is smaller and
> can assist with inventory numbers.
> i can't see what it matters right now as neither one connects to a cash
> register and you would end up slowing down purchases by scanning with the
> summit and also punching the prices into the register.
> Bryan Schulz
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Harlon Cowsar II" <deucehc at gmail.com>
> To: "Vendor Talk Mailing List" <vendtalk at nfbnet.org>
> Sent: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 9:38 PM
> Subject: Re: [vendtalk] inventory scanner
> Bryan:
>>    I do have an employee who assists me in my facility. She does some of
>> the cooking and I do some of the cooking. Some things she can do better
>> and
>> some I do better. She does not load my machines. I load the machines
>> myself
>> using my ID Mate Bar Code Scanner. I also use the Double Talk to navigate
>> through the machines and chane the prices and other tasks. My employee
>> does
>> not assist me with my paperwork. I handle the paperwork myself and I
>> prefer
>> not to do it inside my facility with my emplyee present.
>>    I think that it is the most wise idea to keep my business my business.
>> That does not mean that my employee does not play a large part in my
>> business. She is a wonderful cook and she often gives me very good ideas
>> on
>> menu items and other things. She often makes runs to Sam's Club or to the
>> grocery store to buy things for the facility because I can pay her less
>> thaN
>> Auto-Fry.
>> She had a good deal of experience in food service when I hired her but she
>> had never used an Auto-Fry. I had to teach her how to use it and how to
>> clean it. I also had to work with her until she learned the proper cooking
>> times for the various products. My employee does help me keep track of
>> inventory levels in the facility. If she sees that we are getting low on
>> sixteen ounce cups, then she adds cups to the order list we keep beside
>> the
>> cash register. If I see that we are running low on french fries, then I
>> add
>> them to the list. We continue like this until the day comes to place the
>> order and, then, we both take a look around the facility together and make
>> sure that we have written down all of the items that need to be ordered.
>> After that, I place the call and order the products. I do all of the
>> ordering and I check in the orders when they are delivered.
>>    My facility needs more than one person to operate it. My employee is a
>> very valuable part of my business but it is important to remember that an
>> employee is an employee. They work for you; they work with you; they do
>> not
>> neccessarily share the same passions as you. To an employee, it is usually
>> just a job. To a manager, it is a way of life.
>>   I hope that this helps you understand a bit about how I operate my
>> business and i hope that it helps you. I use a great deal of assistive
>> technologies in my business because it is one of the resources that can
>> aid
>> me in running my facility independently. I also encourage you to pursue
>> any
>> other training that you can get; whether it is blindness skills training,
>> trainning with equipment for cooking or vending, or whether it is training
>> in business management, business fundamentals, etc.
>>   Accept assistance when you need it but do it independently if you can.
>> Remember that our businss is your business and the more that others know
>> about your business, the more influencethey can have on your business;
>> good
>> or bad.
>> Harlon
>> On Wed, Jun 16, 2010 at 9:06 AM, Bryan Schulz <b.schulz at sbcglobal.net
>> >wrote:
>> hi Harlon,
>>> thanks for your description and opinion.
>>> so do you have an employee that helps with inventory and paperwork?
>>> It seems it would be very time consuming to feel everything to know what
>>> needs to be ordered.
>>> Bryan Schulz
>>> the BEST Solution
>>> www.best-acts.com
>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Harlon Cowsar II" <deucehc at gmail.com
>>> >
>>> To: "Vendor Talk Mailing List" <vendtalk at nfbnet.org>
>>> Sent: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 6:22 AM
>>> Subject: Re: [vendtalk] inventory scanner
>>>  Bryan:
>>>>   The bar code reader that you are inquiring ab out is called the ID
>>>> Mate
>>>> Summit and is manufactured by Envision America.
>>>>  I use this device in by business and it is wonderful. It helps me in a
>>>> thousand ways. I do not yet have gthe ID Mate Summit but it is supposed
>>>> to
>>>> be coming soon. The model that I am currently using is called the ID
>>>> Mate
>>>> Omni.
>>>>   The ID Mate Summit has some added benefits that the Omni did not have
>>>> such as software upgrades that allow you to keep track of your inventory
>>>> by
>>>> scanning, counting and adjusting the number in the files manually. It
>>>> can
>>>> be
>>>> linked with your computer to receive software upgrades but, to my
>>>> knowlege,
>>>> that is all at the present time. I think that you can do file transfers
>>>> between the device and a computer  but do not hold me to that.
>>>>   I have spoken with representatives of the company about linking the
>>>> device to the cash register and, at the present time, that cannot be
>>>> done.
>>>> The company is working on that but, because of the different types of
>>>> cash
>>>> registers, different softgwares, etc. it is presenting some
>>>> difficulties.
>>>> I
>>>> don not know much more than that. I recently saw the newest model of the
>>>> device and the size is much smalller. It is now about the size of a
>>>> flashlight. The bar code reader is more aggresive and finds the bar code
>>>> faster and the software reads the code and identifies immediately. It
>>>> has
>>>> improved a lot in the years that I have been monitoring it and I highly
>>>> reccommend it for any managers but, especially for the totally blind
>>>> manager
>>>> such as myself. Alfo, check out the I- Bill ICurrency Identifier. This
>>>> is
>>>> another device that has made a very big difference in my workplace.
>>>> Harlon
>>>> LA Cafe'
>>>> Alexandria, Louisiana
>>>> On Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 4:23 PM, Bryan Schulz <b.schulz at sbcglobal.net
>>>> >wrote:
>>>> hi,
>>>>> I have a few questions about managing a small convenience store.
>>>>> Would someone tell me what is the brand/model of the hand held
>>>>> scanner/bar
>>>>> code reader that tells you info about each product?
>>>>> second, do you also have something similar that is maybe connected to
>>>>> the
>>>>> register to kind of auto enter products purchased into the register?
>>>>> third, can this device auto update your database of stock on hand so
>>>>> you
>>>>> know what needs to be ordered?
>>>>> this would seem so much faster than digging into the cooler and
>>>>> counting
>>>>> how many bottles of coke or how many snickers bars you have left.
>>>>> fourth, are the reporting sheets standard throughout the US and where
>>>>> can
>>>>> you get them online for someone running a store in MO?
>>>>> thanks
>>>>> Bryan Schulz
>>>>> the BEST Solution
>>>>> www.best-acts.com
>>>>> _______________________________________________
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