Some Real-World Benefits Achieved Using Barcodes in Business
Barcodes have an array of applications – they are business critical in warehousing for inventory management. They can be productive in retail marketing campaigns and much more. Here is a short but useful collection of how a couple of European and a couple of California businesses leverage barcodes for their business or for their customer’s success.
Rob Miller, Internal Sales Management
Balluff Limited helps many companies using barcodes. For example, Rob Miller, Internal Sales Management, tells us they helped a customer track and trace their parmesan cheese. Each parmesan wheel has a QR label applied before storage.
After 12, 24, or 36 months, the cheese wheels are unloaded from the warehouse and so they can be transported to the packaging department. Their customer needs to trace the parmesan cheese wheels before the portioning and the packaging process. When the cheese wheels come off the line, they use a handheld scanner to scan the code revealing necessary information. They can store useful information such as the day and time it was completed, who carried out the work, and where a cheese wheel went.
Miller points out that when embarking on using barcodes to consider the environment to be used in and the product. Barcodes can get rubbed off so you might consider etching them on.
Brandon Wilkes, Digital Marketing Manager
The Big Phone Store
Euro Communications Distribution LTD uses QR Codes at their business, The Big Phone Store, so that they are able to manage their inventory a lot quicker and a lot more efficiently. Brandon Wilkes, Digital Marketing Manager, tells us they sell refurbished phones and no phone is like any other. Some can have various aesthetic damage while others might have physical damage. Because of this, they need to be able to determine which phones are which while also ensuring they know exactly where each phone is.
For each phone, they have assigned an order ID. This is an ID number that is unique to that phone. When they are processing the phones, they need to be scanned into the system. This is so a user can see which phone they are processing and previous details about the process, along with scanning the ID to numerous locations.
With QR codes they have been able to make the process of scanning the ID number, and the location number to be 10 times quicker compared with manually writing a six-digit number. It also leaves no room for user error.
Jessica Rose, Chief Executive Officer
Copper H2O is a 100 percent female run e-commerce social enterprise which has used barcoding for several years. Jessica Rose, Chief Executive Officer, tells us that as they grew, it became essential to use barcoding systems to help keep track of a growing number of SKUs. They were also necessary to enable the company to outsource fulfillment operations to a third-party logistics provider.
Today, they have arrangements with all their suppliers to use their barcodes on their product packages before they are shipped to logistics providers so the new inventory can be scanned directly into the system. This greatly helps increase the speed of receiving new inventory and ensures that nothing falls through the cracks. They initially had challenges obtaining proper barcodes at a reasonable price. Overcoming that challenge required detailed research to understand what barcode providers are legitimate and which are not. They ultimately landed on a reputable and leading provider of UPC barcodes and obtained enough barcodes to cover their existing SKUs and provide room to expand.
The best benefit they have realized is being able to delegate fulfillment. Jessica added, the biggest tip for businesses would be to start using barcodes as early as possible. Even if you do not currently need them in your business (whether that be e-commerce or retail), having your products organized and labeled in this fashion will give you the flexibility to quickly scale up.
Meagan Douglas, Chief Marketing Officer
RFgen has customers that implement mobile barcoding solutions across receiving, put away, production, packing, shipping, and more. Meagan Douglas, Chief Marketing Officer, tells us those common transactions include scanning barcodes to receive shipments on the loading dock, putting away shipments in the warehouse, and ordering materials to production.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, they have personally seen how utilizing barcodes creates a safer workplace and enables companies to handle demand even while short staffed. They’ve been seeing manufacturers use mobile barcoding to augment their reduced workforces. Since mobile barcoding can increase accuracy to 99.9 percent+ and boost efficiency by 30 percent, fewer workers can accomplish more in less time, with less effort, while reducing physical and mental stress.
They have seen businesses using barcoding to enhance safety and social distancing measures. Because workers can transact with mobile devices at their point-of-work, they are no longer typing transactions into a shared computer workstation. This eliminates paper transfers and touching of shared keyboards that can spread COVID-19. Long-range barcode scanning from up to 70-feet away and mobile communications help workers adhere to social distancing measures and reduce unnecessary close proximity.
Douglas says if they were to offer one tip about using barcodes, it would be to make it a priority now. It’s easy to put technology projects on the back burner in an attempt to keep up with current demands, but the companies who fail to find ways to augment their workforce’s productivity, while keeping them safe, risk falling behind, or even remaining operational.