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Australian Partnership – Formzoo helped Datascan Produce DART

data scanner

Three companies, three continents, three time zones, three months, countless coffees and one product designed to perfectly fit in your hand.

Today we’re looking back at one of our favourite projects of 2013 – for US-based inventory consulting company Datascan. Late last year we worked with Datascan to create a next generation handheld scanner tailored for the retail industry. The little guy is now known as ‘Dart’, which is appropriate because we think it’s one of our sleekest product designs yet.
data scanner

The challenge

Datascan provides hardware and software inventory solutions to leading retailers in 35 countries. An industry leader and innovator, they wanted to create a powerful new handheld scanner that would stand up to the demands of fast-paced, high-volume inventory counts. It had to offer the most user-friendly experience: touch-screen technology, a fast operating system, a sleek and modern aesthetic and be backed by a clever design that maximised comfort and productivity.

With their innovation in mind, a Chinese OEM lined up for production, and a tight timeframe of three months to design a product ready for manufacture, they approached us for help to realise their idea. Which is what we do best.

Our solution

We started our process by thinking about where the product would end up – in the hands of thousands of busy retail and warehouse workers across the world. The challenge was to fit the electronics of the scanner into a sleek, ergonomical design. So, we created foam models to test how it felt in the average user’s hands. Could thumbs easily touch the keypad and the touchscreen? How comfortable was the main scanning button? What about how the trigger finger fit? What angle and direction was best for the laser scanner?
new product development model
We took care to create for longevity, for example, designing a scanner button that could take the pressure of being used at high-volumes without failing or putting stress on the electronics.

Once we had an idea of what design would fit the electronics, while also being ergonomically safe and comfortable, we added style and shape with sketches on paper before progressing to CAD on-screen models.
product design handheld scanner
We didn’t let being on opposite sides of the earth stop us from having constant contact with our client. With a coffee in hand we’d Skype conference with the US team in our morning as they were heading out for the afternoon. In our afternoon we’d send them the latest design and while we were snug in our beds during their working day they’d print 3D models and give us feedback to implement immediately. This cycle of communication kept the design iteration process moving smoothly.

As a result of this collaborative approach we delivered an approved design within two weeks – hitting every deadline. When Dart was ready for manufacture we worked closely with the Chinese company, adding some of our expertise to the process and facilitating communication between the manufacturers and Datascan.
industrial design handheld computer

The outcome

A collaborative approach, seamless communication, sleek modern design, a product we’re proud of and a happy client. Datascan told us: “Your team’s creativity, flexibility, responsiveness and overall engagement with us has been fantastic and we want to thank you for that.” We love that feedback!

If you’d like to know more about the Formzoo product design process, or if you have a burning idea you want to see become reality contact us at Let’s talk about it

Content above from Formzoo:


Take Control of Your PI Counts

2014-09-17_14-42-552014-09-17_14-43-15Take Control of Your PI Counts


Introducing DART: Power at Hand!

Dart 1

Dart 2



Increase the Power of Your Pop-Up Locations and Stay in Control of Your Inventory!

Pop-up retail stores present new and exciting revenue streams.   But they also come with challenges directly related to the nature of the Pop-up concept.  The name itself implies hast and the importance of timing and execution.

  • Are you able to accurately track inventory going into the temporary store?
  • And most importantly can you account for items not sold and where they are returned?
  • At the end of the Pop-up event can you close the temporary store and compare expected remaining onhands to what is remaining?
  • Can you track the remaining merchandise by box upon return?

Datascan is an expert at assisting retailers with all their inventory solutions.  Our solution allows your pop-up stores to scan in the merchandise as they setup the location.   Whether the merchandise is coming from a single warehouse or multiple store locations our system will validate the total receipt from each location and compare receipts to shipping manifests.  When the event is complete the Datascan system will allow your team to box the merchandise while tracking all remaining items and where they are returning those items.  The final report will provide immediate variance results between original receipts, sold merchandise and what was boxed for return.  Accountability in a pop-up from open to close.

The solution is simple and designed for your store teams to use.  The only requirement onsite is electricity – it’s just that simple!

Take the risk out of managing your pop-up retail locations and have the same confidence and controls you use in your brick & mortar stores on the road.


Category Counts – Simple to implement! Big Impact!



We have more clients each year using our system to perform modified cycle counts to help them get quick counts by merchandise category. Using our expertise with year-end counts and cycle programs, we are able to provide a very simple system to capture category (Dept/Class, etc.) counts.

With most retailers now only performing the year-end count, these category-style counts give them insight into promotional, replenishment or high-shrink goods during the summer/fall.

The great thing about this type of count is that they require little planning, and we’ve seen it rolled out to 200+ stores with as little as four days notice.  These stores had never used or seen the Datascan system before.  The category count was a true success!


  • Scanners are loaded with only the UPC/SKUs listed for the Category Counts.
  • The stores receive one small box with 1-3 scanners and a cradle.
  • Instructions are simple and short.
  • Packages are shipped via Ground service and cost less than $10 a shipment.
  • Corporate reporting and variances on our website are included.
  • The Help Desk will provide the same support before, during and after the count.

… Just give ME the scanner!

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Summer-Campaign4 Summer-Campaign3

Set Phasers to “Scan”: Barcode Scanners are Back in Star Trek Into Darkness

Star Trek Barcode Scanners



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