In the 1970s, scanning emerged as a technology that could help cashiers increase their productivity, reduce errors, improve the ergonomics of the job and, ultimately, offer better customer service. The big issue -- other than the culture shock of such a radical change in procedure -- was the cost of the systems, especially the early models. Could the technology be cost-justified? Fast-forward to the 2000s and a similar scenario is being played out in food-distribution warehouses, only this ...

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