Maybe you’ve never heard about warehouse barcodes, or maybe you have but aren’t entirely sure what it means for your business. Warehouse barcoding uses barcodes on stock items to add extra information. Look at any store using the self-scanning systems and you will realize the benefits. With their help, you can significantly boost your business because they allow you to track your inventory more precisely and economically.
Why Use Barcode System for Warehouse?
Suppose companies want to improve the efficiency of warehouses. They must update the original traditional technology. Initially, people were performing inventory records through spreadsheets and manually. Management in the warehouse may be based on more straightforward methods. However, an extremely high error rate occurs using this conventional technique.
As technology continues to evolve, barcodes have emerged. Companies can easily manage their warehouses using barcode labels. It effectively reduces the human error rate.
Companies can use warehouse location barcodes to tag each item to get its location. These items can be shelves, pallets, containers, etc. It increases the efficiency of warehouse movement for bulk containers and individual products.
How Much do You Know About Warehouse Barcodes?
The most crucial component of a barcode system is the label. Companies need to know something about barcodes.
What are Barcode Labels?
Barcode labels are an effective tool for tracking assets and inventory throughout the supply chain. It is also helpful for cross-organizational tracking. It can be presented in various ways, but there are three common types of presentation. These three types are:
- Barcodes with numbers only
- Barcodes with letters and numbers
- Two-dimensional barcodes
Each of these three types of barcodes has its characteristics. The first type is purely numeric. The second type also contains letters. These two are collectively referred to as one-dimensional barcodes. The two-dimensional barcode is slightly different, usually presented as a square or rectangle. These shapes reveal a distinctive pattern with several dots arranged on top.
Companies often choose simple barcode labels for warehouse tracking and management. The following are some common barcode symbols.
UPC Code (1D barcode containing only numbers)
It is one of the oldest and most widely used barcodes in GS1 barcode. It is also one of the most recognized barcodes in the United States.
It consists of 12 digits and can identify individual products in a store. Businesses can identify specific products and manufacturers by identifying this code. It is particularly popular with retailers.
EAN Code (1D barcode containing only digits)
The EAN code is almost identical to the UPC. However, it applies to POS systems widely used in convenience stores.
It is compatible with countries’ Universal Product Code (UPC), such as the United States and Canada. It is also compatible with the Japanese Article Number (JAN).
Most commercial products can use on it in the store.
Plessey Code (1D barcode with numbers and letters)
It was developed in 1971 by the British Company Plessey. It has several variants, including Anker Plessey and MSI Plessey.
At first, people used it only in local European grocery stores and libraries. Because of its higher density than other standard symbols, it is used in dot matrix printers.
Code 39 (1D barcode with numbers and letters)
This code is a barcode developed by Intermec Corporation in 1975. It can contain up to 43 characters.
It is primarily used in non-retail industries. It is prevalent in the automotive, electronics, and defense industries.
Two-Dimensional Code (2D barcode)
A 2D code is a two-dimensional version of a barcode. It is one of the most widely known two-dimensional barcodes.
It consists of a unique pattern of black and white pixels. It is capable of storing more data than a standard 1D barcode. It contains up to 2,509 numeric-only characters or 1,520 characters made up of letters and numbers.
People initially used it only to track parts manufactured in automobiles. Today people can use it in various applications. It includes business tracking, entertainment, and transportation ticketing.
Companies often choose to adopt a barcode style like the UPC for use in warehouse management. Companies that need to handle retail products can also apply for registration with GS1. The organization that standardizes barcodes worldwide. Registering GS1 barcodes helps companies globalize their merchandise.
Advantages of Using Warehouse Barcodes
Warehouse Barcodes Make Inventory Tracking Easier
Traditional manual records are time-consuming and error-prone. Using warehouse barcodes helps companies get an accurate audit trail. Workers can easily track inventory by scanning barcodes.
Using warehouse barcodes for all items in the warehouse can take a lot of time at first. But compared to other inventory tracking technologies, it is simply about material requirements. It’s also simple to use. You need to paste the warehouse barcode on the item, and you can call it up by scanning it. It’s handy to apply, primarily if you already use SKU numbers.
Reducing the Incidence of Errors
The accuracy of data is critical for businesses. Traditional manual data entry is more than ten times more error-prone than scanning. Data that is incorrect has the potential to cause severe losses. Employees filling in the wrong data can affect the operator’s judgment of inventory levels. Thus, it will likely affect the enterprise’s operation plan later. Using warehouse barcodes can reduce the incidence of manual errors significantly.
Every Company has potential problems such as theft, misplaced goods, etc. Traditional manual counting can take a long time to produce the data. Usually, companies are not aware of such problems when they occur. The use of warehouse barcodes can prevent this from happening. It can track products and reduce product mix-ups. Relatively, it can reduce the loss of misplaced items.
So Did You Know that Your Warehouse Needs Barcodes?
Before you are ready to update your existing warehouse management technology, there is one question you need to consider. That question is whether you will benefit from using warehouse barcodes. Of course, the result is usually a resounding yes. However, because of the time and money involved in investing in a barcode system, you must think about it.
Several reasons typically influence companies to use warehouse barcodes:
- MRO inventory needs
- The suppliers and retailers that your business is dealing with are already using warehouse barcodes
- The need to keep a close eye on the quantity of inventory you deposit in the warehouse
- The need to continuously maintain accurate records of inventory levels
- Wait a long time to get the inventory records
Once you have considered your need to install a barcode system in your warehouse, you are ready to take the next step. You are ready to lay the groundwork for installing the barcode system.
Setting Up a BarCode System
Setting up a complete barcode system is simple. Companies can prepare barcodes, scanners, and inventory management software.
Designing Warehouse Barcodes
Companies must design barcodes that perfectly match the target application in the warehouse.
The Company can design these warehouse barcodes under different conditions. These conditions include physical environments and connection methods.
Some more common warehouse barcode labels include single-layer and container labels.
Companies can also choose labels for specific items based on several other factors. These factors include the operating environment, the item’s size, the attachment method, etc.
Of course, you can also buy barcodes in a shared database such as UPC. You can then generate barcode codes for your inventory.
Most companies will generate barcode codes in two ways:
- One is a barcode for internal use for product tracking and product security
It is generally done by searching online for a barcode generator to generate a specific warehouse barcode.
These barcode companies can use them directly by printing them as stickers.
- The second type sells products on online platforms such as Amazon.
It requires a standard barcode as defined by the UPC.
The Company can usually purchase them online from any registered retailer.
Warehouse Barcode Scanners
The more common scanners on the market are both wired and wireless. It is mainly used to scan barcodes and get data information from them. There are hundreds of models of barcode scanners. They have different feature sets and can be adapted to various specifications or business needs.
- The most widely known barcode scanner today is the laser barcode scanner
It scans and reads black and white labels on tags, mainly in linear or omnidirectional mode. It has a more comprehensive reading area than a typical scanner. It is easier to operate and use than linear scanners.
- The linear barcode scanner is only suitable for reading 1D barcode use
It primarily uses image capture technology to scan barcodes. A digital image processing function will decode the scanned barcode to get data information.
- Our most common is the 2D barcode scanner
It works similarly to a linear imager. However, they are pretty different. It can read stacked barcodes or 2D barcodes. It also allows the user to scan barcodes in any direction.
In addition to understanding the types of warehouse barcode scanners, there are many things you need to consider:
The Environment of the Warehouse Barcode Scanner
Businesses purchase scanners based on the environment in which they are used. It will help reduce unnecessary replacement costs later.
Rugged warehouse barcode scanners are suitable for outdoor environments. Companies can choose from IP54 or IP65-rated scanners. The higher the rating, the better the scanner can withstand environmental hazards.
An excellent indoor environment allows you to choose a regular warehouse scanner. But suppose your warehouse may have potentially hazardous conditions such as chemicals and heavy dust. You should purchase a scanner with a high IP rating for more excellent durability.
The power of warehouse barcode scanners on the market varies, and so does the scanning processing speed. Some can scan quickly and continuously, obtaining up to 60-120 images per second. Some are relatively slow, taking a few seconds to process each scan. Assuming you have many physical assets to handle, choosing a scanner with a faster processing speed is recommended.
Companies need to consider the distance employees scan products in real-world applications. Some barcodes can decode 1D at longer distances, but decoding 2D barcodes requires closer distances. Some remote scanners allow employees to scan barcodes from floor-to-ceiling distances.
Inventory Management Software
The most crucial thing in creating a barcode system is the choice of inventory management software. Inventory management software mainly serves the purpose of storing and managing inventory data.
Employees can upload the data from the barcode scanned by the scanner to the inventory management software. When it is scanned again, it is linked directly to the product records with the help of this software. Also, employees can see specific product details on it.
It also provides more specific information about inventory levels. Companies can readily adjust their business strategies based on inventory level information.
We believe the above introduction gives you a more in-depth understanding of the barcode system. Companies choosing to introduce warehouse barcodes in inventory management is half the effort. Of course, there are many things that you will only know how good it is if you use them.