Barcoding has become a popular and efficient way of controlling inventory throughout the manufacturing process and is widely used in many industries. There are several benefits available to your company, which we shall explore in detail in this article.
The first and most prominent benefit to barcoding is the intrinsic accuracy associated with it. When inventory data is manually entered into Excel spreadsheets or worse yet, handwritten on paper, it is subject to significant human error which is unavoidable. The proposed error rates are 10 in 1000 for human-operated keystrokes and a mere 1 in 10,000 scans for a barcode scanner. Errors in inventory can have massive repercussions including delays in shipments, missed orders and over or understocked items.
Safety and quality assurance
Similarly, barcodes afford tighter quality control and more accurate inventory tracking. Not only is this feature desirable, it is also imperative especially for the pharmaceutical or medical industries where manufacture needs to be acutely controlled and frequently audited. Tight control is also a security feature where theft or loss can be easily recognised and acted upon thereby minimizing the effects of it further down the chain.
Accurate tracking and organized storage
Copious time, representing a significant monetary value, is associated with disorganized storage and recording, where staff cannot easily locate and pick items for production or shipping. This will also inevitably result in the excess ordering of items as the perception will be that they have run out when they may simply be not found. Barcoding is an efficient way of tracking inventory throughout the production process all the way to a sale, making it so much easier for staff to store items in a sensible way, locate them and make ordering decisions based on more accurate inventory levels.
Generally, it is thought barcodes are for product and inventory however they simply represent a generalized yet clever way of accurately storing information. Therefore, they can also be useful when affixed to equipment so that the locations of equipment, especially small items which tend to go ‘missing’ frequently, can be ascertained quickly and accurately reducing the amount of time staff spend looking for them.
Quickly and easily set up barcoding
Barcoding hardware and software can be set up quickly and easily for a minimal cost. It does not represent a large-scale, complicated system which takes months to commission therefore it really is accessible to most businesses, no matter how small.
Rapid acquisition of data
Using barcoding and associated software rather than traditional Excel or handwritten methods saves a significant amount of time when it comes to data acquisition. Often quick and accurate decisions need to be made regarding ordering and inventory and it is so helpful when the information with which to do so is available rapidly, accurately and in real-time. Other methods of inventory recording simply do not compare to these features of barcoding systems.
Professionalism and customer involvement
When comparing a hand-written sticker attached to a product stating a unique identifier with a barcode that is neat and in black and white, the more professional appearance will be the barcode. Perception is often very valuable when it comes to business, the more professional looking item will be the preferred choice.
Barcodes (and QR codes), due to their ability to code several pieces of information simultaneously, are being used to code for factual information that may be interesting for customers. Using a barcode to represent extra, fun facts about the company or the product can create customer interest and involvement, which are fundamental to satisfaction and loyalty.
Barcoding is such a fantastic, easy and accurate way of recording information, tracking inventory and helping to gain control of the inventory management system. We have listed only a few of many benefits if implementing barcodes.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.