Why is a barcode system essential for your business?
Keeping a track of your inventory while it passes through different stages of the supply chain is crucial to running your business seamlessly. Although many companies still rely on manual methods and guesswork for tracking their assets, using automatic programs for asset tracking can really nudge out inefficiencies.
One of such automated mechanisms is barcode tracking. It is one of the most commonly used systems to locate assets and streamline business tasks. Barcode systems are easy to implement. You can also customize labels and functions to meet any industry’s requirements.
A barcode system automatically updates your asset database. All you need to do is simply scan barcode labels via a scanner while you check out assets to your employees for use. The scanner then reads and transfers asset data from the Universal Product Code (UPC) of each barcode label to your online inventory database. This always keeps your records on the same page as your operations.
Here’s how barcode labeling benefits businesses around the world.
1. It eliminates the possibility of human error
Often times when employees manually enter asset details into the system, they are prone to making typographical or other errors while inputting data. Barcode systems eliminate the need for manual data input through automatic data transfers to the system. This allows you to record all the information without making the process susceptible to human errors.
2. It enhances control
A barcode system lets you keep tabs on asset movement and usage, both inside and outside of your work premises. You always know where your inventory is and who is in charge of using it, allowing you to take better control of it. With a barcode system in place, you can oversee your business operations remotely.
3. It allows for customization
Every business makes use of different types of assets for different purposes. Many are even spread out into branches. This makes it crucial to have additional information printed on item labels for greater clarification on how to use these assets.
Such extra information may include the location or category of an item. For this reason, most barcode systems come with custom label designing solutions so you can print relevant asset details on your barcode labels.
4. It supports effective decision making
A barcode system keeps your data updated and free from errors at all times. This means you can accurately forecast future demand and make effective decisions regarding your procurement, maintenance and budgeting policies.
How to implement a barcode system the right way?
In pursuit of running friction-less business operations, shifting to an automated barcode tracking system isn’t just enough. You need to pick the best barcode solution there is and install it wisely.
Transition from manual to automated systems can often be a grueling task depending on the type of industry you’re in and the nature of your workflows. However, you can always tune the implementation process to your favor by following a couple of useful tips.
Here are five ways to help you efficiently implement a barcode system.
1. Comply with industry standards and workflows
The first step to labeling your assets is to familiarize yourself with the requirements of the industry. Doing so is important because it helps you meet government regulations and avoid any potential lawsuits.
Lets say, the government has mandated for tamper evident packaging and labels on your products. Your company then needs to ensure that the barcode labels you use comply with regulatory standards.
Similarly, you also need to decide between using 1D or 2D labels. Both kinds are used for different workflows and have their own pros and cons.
1D barcode labels are normally used for distribution and logistical purposes to store attributes like expiry dates. Their storage capacity ranges from 14 to 28 alphanumeric characters, including symbols. Whereas, the 2D barcode labels have a much higher storage capacity. They are primarily used in manufacturing industries that require more asset details to be stored.
2. Identify what the barcode is to be used for
As mentioned earlier, assets are often used for different tasks. Exposure to different working environments and locations can be detrimental to type of barcode labels you pick for your business.
Businesses use barcode labeling for four primary reasons.
- Security: This has to do with high value items that are a long-term investment and need constant vigilance. For such an equipment, you need labels that cannot be taken off easily. Recommended: Tamper-Evident Labels
- Mobility: Devices that require frequent checkouts to different locations are subject to getting misplaced. In such cases, it is advised to have identical assets for backup. Recommended: Two-part asset labels
- Durability: Office furniture, for instance, is likely to be moved around and cleaned a lot. For this reason, it is suggested to have laminated asset labels to withstand cleaning chemicals and any misuse while the assets are being relocated. Recommended: Polyester asset labels
- Adhesion: Some assets have uneven surfaces, making it hard for the label to stick. Rugged mechanical equipment often needs tags which can adhere to metal and stick around for longer. Recommended: Foil barcode labels
3. Decide what information to put on the label
A barcode label should contain relevant information to carry out its function properly. Therefore, you should design your labels with great care. If your business is spread out over different branches, make sure to add city or branch codes with asset identification numbers. For instance, a laptop assigned to the Brooklyn office can have the code BRKL00100.
Likewise, assets that need better upkeep should have their labels mention procurement details so depreciation and maintenance requirements can be determined. You can even color code your barcode labels for easy identification to avoid mix-ups.
4. Define guidelines for placement of the barcode label
If a barcode label is damaged or obstructed in some way, your entire barcode system may prove fruitless in keeping track of your inventory. Therefore, it’s critical to select the right place to stick barcode labels so that they are easily read by the scanner.
According to the general placement guidelines, all trade items should carry a unique Global Trade Item Number on their labels.
They also specify that the standard recommended position for sticking barcode labels is lower right quadrant on the back of the products. Following the ‘standard placement guidelines’ is smart because it saves time looking for asset tags, which may otherwise slow down the checkout process and reduce efficiency.
5. Integrate with the existing business software
Majority of businesses today deploy some sort of software programs to carry out their daily work operations. When deciding which barcode system you want to install, you need to make sure it is compatible with the firm’s current business software.
Some software systems come with the ability to scale up and integrate with other technologies but some don’t. To avoid such compatibility issues, it is better to consult an experienced barcode solution provider about integrations with other software systems. This way, you can install a barcode system in your company without a hitch.
Bottom line: You need to follow a set criteria for successful implementation of a barcode system
Labeling and tracking your assets can be a mess if you don’t know your business objectives in the first place. To successfully implement a barcode system, you need to have a laser-focused criteria in place.
It should detail the purpose you’re using barcodes for and what kind of information should the labels include. It should also lay down some industry standards and best practices regarding item labeling. Lastly, the barcode system you’re deciding to implement should be compatible with the current software solutions used within the company.
If you diligently follow this set criteria while implementing a barcode system for your business, you can drastically improve your inventory control system, have a faster and more reliable access to asset data, and make timely decisions in response to ever-evolving industry regulations whilst keeping your implementation costs low.
EZOfficeInventory is a leading barcode asset tracking software that helps you manage items across locations, run audits and scan multiple assets using a third party scanner or our mobile app.