Four things you should know about barcodes

July 4, 2012 at 9:38 AMIan Benoliel

Using barcodes increases efficiency and decreases mistakes


Using barcodes to receive, ship and count inventory will improve throughput in your warehouse operations and reduce the number of orders that are shipped or received incorrectly.  

Many companies want to use barcodes but don't know where to start. This article should get you started down the path of using barcodes in your business.

1.    What is a barcode?

A barcode is a series of symbols that can be read by an optical reader or scanner.   The sanner converts the barcode into human readable data.    The most common use of barcodes is for product packaging but is also used for shipping labels, manufacturing and time cards to name a few. 

2.    What is a UPC?

Many people believe that UPC and barcode is the same.   UPC stands for 'Unified Product Code' and it is a standard developed by retailers to make the check out process more effecient.  The first part of the standard is a 12 digit number that identifies both the manufacture and the product.  The second part of the standard is the type of barcode used.   Most large retailers require there be a UPC barcode on products they purchase.   UPCs are issued by GS1.

3.    What type of scanners should we use?

There are numerous barcodes scanners in the market.   "I like to narrow it down to two types", say Ian Benoliel, President of NumberCruncher.  "There are scanners that are input devices for computers similar to a keyboard then there are stand alone scanners which are themselves mobile computers".    The first type can be wired or wireless but generally need to be close to the computer like those sold by Wasp Barcode.    The second type are mobile computers.  For them you not only need the scanner but also a program like All Orders Mobile that tells the mobile computer what to do.     An example of this type of device is the UNITECH PA600.

4.    My vendor or customer part number is different than mine, what can I do?

That's where inventory control software like All Orders comes in.  With software you can cross reference your product code with that of your vendors' so that when you scan their part number what appears is your part number.    A cross reference can also be established between a UPC, customer part number and manufacturer part number.

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