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It is common knowledge by now that technology can be expensive. Very expensive. And many people have most likely experienced the frustration of investing in some innovative electronic device, only to be disappointed when they did not receive the advantage you expected or were promised.
It is always strongly advisable that you carefully and sceptically assess every new technological gadget or software before you purchase it. Always ask: “what can this new technology do for my business?”.
If the answer to this question turns out to be that the new tool will not improve productivity and increase profit within a realistic period of time, then you probably shouldn’t buy it.
This train of thought can be applied to barcoding too.
When you buy barcodes, how can help your business? Well firstly, it provides a great value-added service for your customers, it also improves efficiency in inventory control and will undoubtedly help your employees be more productive in their working day.
While all of these advantages sound amazing, in order for the investment required to implement barcodes into your company to be worthwhile, the advantages you obtain must surpass the price paid to implement the system.
This must apply to investments in both time and money. In this article we will explore some of the countless advantages a barcoding system can provide your business, and deliberate on how you can evaluate whether or not, if you buy a barcode, the system will be worth the cost (a little hint — I can guarantee you now that it will be).
Value-added services provided for customers
When it comes to barcodes South Africa is rather on trend. These days, many customers, especially those in the manufacturing industry, now even need distributors to attach barcodes labels to materials and products shipped to them.
This means that the distributor will be required to have a printer that is capable of barcode printing and the required computer software to create the barcode labels the customer requires.
This service comes at quite a hefty price when you take into consideration not only the equipment and computer software, but in addition, the workers and labour you will need to physically affix the labels. Systems like this are usually only available to high-volume, high-income accounts.
Also bear in mind that if a certain customer needs a Universal Product Code or European Article Number barcode, or another industry specific barcode, the price related to creating the barcode labels can be even more burdensome.
This creates the possibility of further tasks you need to undertake, such as providing labels to additional customers or readying your warehouse for processes like automatic physical inventory tallies.
If one of your customers requires unusual barcode labelling, ensure that you consider the price of this special value-added service.
Improving efficiency in inventory control
Having to manually count your inventory is a dull, tedious and laborious task that is also vulnerable to the possibility of many errors. In order to ready your warehouse for a barcoded inventory, first a barcode label identifying the specific product is printed and attached to each individual stock location.
These barcode labels are allocated to individual locations because it is often unrealistic to affix a label on each piece of each product kept in inventory. This process would be very time-consuming.
In the course of the physical inventory control process, the person responsible for this task takes a hand-held barcode scanner that has a storage device and digital keypad attached, scans the barcode label and then inputs the counted amount using the digital keypad.
Once a section of the stock has been counted, the barcode scanner is put into a computer capturing device, sometimes affectionately called a wedge or a holder, and the item tally is downloaded into the computer automatically, bringing the stock quantities and inventory information in the database up to date.
A more productive workforce
Just think about the time that could be saved if your employee responsible for receiving products or stock could simply scan items as they were received, as opposed to manually examining each item with a paper and pen.
Furthermore, imagine the improvement in precision and accuracy if your shipping clerk could confirm that the correct product was collected to fulfil an order from a customer by simply scanning the barcode labels printed on both the ticket and bin from which it came.
Radio Frequency (RF) barcode units have even been invented and are now available to transmit customer orders electronically to warehouse employees, this avoids the need for dockets and tickets of orders to be printed and allows you to have a completely paperless warehouse control system.
If this article has convinced you that your business would benefit from a barcoding system and are looking to buy barcodes, South Africa has many legitimate barcode resellers and you will never be in short supply of options. Happy barcoding.
This article is sponsored by Barcode Solutions.
Feature image: supplied