Barcode labels are now used the world over in retail and commercial establishments to keep track of stock items. Their use has increase exponentially over the past couple of decades and whilst many people might think that they are only used for pricing and stock quantity reasons, barcode labels have many other uses besides.
One of the areas where barcodes are used extensively is in warehouses. Yes, barcode labels are used for stocktaking, but it’s their ability to improve productivity and performance levels which stands them apart from the competition.
If a warehouse uses a barcode system, inventory tracking not only becomes much easier it also becomes faster and more accurate.
Some of the areas where barcode technology can help include:
Shipping – When a product is shipped from the warehouse a unique barcode label can be attached to the package. This label can be scanned by the courier at every point in the product’s journey from warehouse to customer, providing a time-line of where the product currently is and an estimated time of arrival at the customer’s premises. This can greatly help customer retention and service reliability.
Packaging – When an item is picked from a storage bin the item’s barcode label can be scanned so that stock quantities can be updated. The item can then be packed and a further barcode scanned to indicate that the parcel is now ready for shipping. Using barcode labels in this way the tracking from picking to packing is efficiently recorded.
Materials handling – When any item enters the warehouse or leaves the warehouse it will be tracked using the attached barcode label. This isn’t however just confined to the goods that the warehouse sells, it can also apply to the goods a warehouse owns, such as the packaging equipment and even the machines used to pack parcels.
It can be seen from the above that there are many benefits which barcode labels can bring to a warehouse environment.
Some of the benefits of barcoding include:
Improved business efficiency – When a barcode system is adopted at a warehouse, the tasks become automated. This removes the amount of man-hours staff may be spending on manually completing inventory checks. Instead of a person writing information down in a logbook, the label can be scanned using a barcode scanner and a database can be updated automatically. It can also hence allow warehouse managers to better resource roles within the company and hence make efficiency savings.
Improve stock accuracy
If stock levels are checked manually there is a tendency for inaccurate information to be recorded. However, if barcode scanners are used to record stock levels the stock verification process instantly becomes far more accurate than it ever used to be. The items can be scanned individually and the barcode scanner can send this information wirelessly to a computer management system where the information is recorded. If any information about stock levels is needed it can be retrieved instantly at the touch of a button.
Barcode labels can be used extremely effectively in a warehouse and their use is not confined to the goods which will be dispatched, barcode labels can also be used to identify storage bin locations and stock levels.