Barcodes: 8 Ways They Improve Inventory Tracking

We hear the objections every day: barcoding is expensive, it’s a pain, it’s too much trouble or it’s too confusing to think about. We understand and sympathize… But barcode technology is here to stay and keeps getting better all the time.

Here’s our recommendation: embrace the advancement. Adopting barcode technology will help you gain efficiencies and give you an immediate accurate picture of your inventory whenever you need it.

8 reasons to implement inventory management with barcodes

  1. Efficient

    Barcodes reduce the chances for human error. The occurrence of errors in manual data entry is significantly higher than barcode data capture. A barcode scan is fast and reliable, and takes infinitely less time than entering data by hand.

  2. Simple

    Using a barcode system reduces employee training time. It takes just a few minutes to master the hand-held barcode scanner. Furthermore, scanning does not require extensive knowledge about inventory or pricing procedures, which further cuts down on training time. Less training time and fewer replacements for employees in training can result in substantial cost savings.

  3. Economic

    Barcodes are inexpensive to design and print. Generally they cost mere pennies, regardless of their purpose, or where they will be affixed. They can be customized economically, and can be printed on a variety of finishes and materials.

  4. Flexible

    Barcodes are extremely versatile. They can be used to collect all kinds of data besides pricing and inventory information. Serialization modules, for instance, can track serial numbers and warranty expiry dates, making client returns easier. Because barcodes can be attached to just about any surface, they can be used to track not only the products themselves, but also outgoing shipments and even equipment.

  5. Accurate

    Barcodes improve the accuracy of inventory control. Inventory levels can be reduced because barcodes make it possible to track inventory so precisely. The location of equipment can also be tracked, reducing the time spent searching for it, and the money spent replacing equipment that is presumed lost.

  6. Access

    Barcodes provide better data. Since one barcode can be used for inventory and pricing information, it is possible to get data on both more quickly. Furthermore, barcodes can be customized to contain other relevant information as needed. They provide fast, reliable data for a wide variety of applications.

  7. Speed

    Data obtained through barcodes is accessible fast. Since the information is scanned directly into the central computer, it is available almost instantaneously. This quick turnaround eliminates time wasted on data entry or retrieval.

  8. On-Time

    Barcodes improve the decision-making process. Because data is obtained rapidly and accurately, it is possible to make timely, informed decisions. Better decision-making ultimately saves both time and money.

Cost-effective and user-friendly, barcodes are an indispensable tool for tracking data from pricing, to inventory, to equipment. Your business will gain efficiencies in areas like training time, productivity and accuracy, which can ultimately contribute to reducing your overhead costs.

Barcode FAQ

How does a barcode work?

A barcode essentially is a way to encode information in a visual pattern that a machine can read. The combination of black and white bars (elements) represents different text characters which follow a set algorithm for that barcode type. Each different sequence of elements produces different text. A barcode scanner reads this pattern of black and white that is then turned into a line of text your computer can understand.

Is the price of my item in the barcode?

A barcode can hold any type of text information you encode, however, with product labels, the price in not usually encoded. The barcode will identify the product and the POS software or database will have pricing information associated to this product.

How small can I make a barcode?

Barcodes can come in a wide range of sizes and can get down to one-eighth inch square when using a 2D code. However, there is a trade-off since making such a small code will limit the number of characters you use and will require a high resolution label printer to ensure the quality of the print is still readable by a scanner. The smaller a code becomes the more difficult it is to read.

What is the difference between direct thermal (DT) and thermal transfer (TT)?

Direct thermal is a printing process that uses a label coated with a heat-sensitive layer and does not use ribbon/ink to print. The direct thermal process burns an image into the paper, whereas thermal transfer uses a ribbon to print onto the label. Direct thermal will fade over time (approximately one year) and is not a good choice for environments with higher temperatures or exposure to sunlight. Thermal transfer print is a more permanent solution and will not fade.

How many labels are on a roll?

The number of labels per roll will depend on how tall the label is. The shorter the label the more you will get per roll.

What is a “dispenser”?

A dispenser is an accessory feature available on most label printers that will peel the backing off of the label as it comes out of the printer. This is very useful for applications that will apply the label immediately after print since it saves time for the user. It can also be disabled if not needed.

How does a barcode scanner work?

A barcode scanner picks up the alternating black and white elements of the barcode which follow a specific algorithm that is turned into a corresponding text string by the scanner. This information is then sent over to your computer by the scanner. This string of text will populate wherever your cursor is positioned on screen at that time.

How far is the range of a cordless barcode scanner?

The range of a cordless barcode scanner does vary by model but most units use Class 2 Bluetooth technology and have a range of 33 feet. Some of the rugged barcode scanners will use Class 1 Bluetooth which has a range of over 300 feet.

Can I read a barcode off of a screen?

In order to read a barcode off of a screen you will need to have a 2D imaging scanner as it processes images as opposed to reflected light. A standard laser barcode scanner will not be able to read anything from a screen.