18 Nov Barcoding: The Holiday Lifesaver
70 Years of Efficiency
When you go about your daily supply chain tasks, you likely aren’t paying much attention to the barcode on your items. You might not even remember a day when this technology wasn’t in your warehouses, improving efficiency within your business.
2021 will mark 70 years since barcoding technology was invented; for nearly 50 of which, barcodes have been used in commercial applications. Since its implementation, the humble barcode has revolutionized the retail industry by providing an efficient, streamlined way to track and manage assets.
Barcodes today, holidays tomorrow
With the holidays around the corner and current events driving the number of online purchases to new heights, barcoding technology is more essential than ever. Businesses need to be able to hit the ground running, preparing to help customers quickly on the storefront, while warehouse workers ensure the appropriate inventory quantities are available, and that customers’ purchases are shipped to the correct address on time.
This daunting task is all made possible by barcoding technology. They’re everywhere – from your local retail store, to the metal storage racks in warehouses housing all the gifts waiting to ship out from online orders, to the packages picked up by local delivery trucks that will put them at your doorstep. In fact, on average, six billion barcodes are scanned daily worldwide . However, the need to quickly move customers through the purchasing process is not unique to today’s times. The truth is, operating a business as efficiently as possible was as large a concern 70 years ago as it is now. That’s exactly why the barcode came to be: To increase efficiency and revenue while slashing checkout times.
In 1948, a Pennsylvania supermarket manager noticed that his store’s stocktaking and slow checkout times were causing him to lose profits. He begged a local college tech institute to create a technology to help him create a faster way to check customers out . Several years later, the first barcode prototype emerged.
Now, nearly all retailers use barcodes in some capacity. Here are just a few ways barcoding helps companies handle the Holiday rush in today’s climate.
How Barcoding Helps The Holiday Rush
Scanning technology creates near-perfect results.
During the peak months of retail shopping, there is no room for error, or the frustration it causes both customers and retailers. Barcoding technology can remove human error and improve efficiency. Companies that used barcode scanning technology saw 99% efficiency as opposed to manually typing in codes . This level of precision is essential for transportation and logistics operations as well, where being able to track your shipments and ensure they arrive on time is critical. With the help of barcode scanning, companies rest assured that each item they ship will get on the right truck and to the right address, at the right time.
Barcoding is cost-effective.
Implementing new technology will always come at a price, but often, companies will quickly reap the benefits. Prior to the barcode’s invention, companies would hire entire teams dedicated solely to manual data entry. This was time consuming for those teams. Also, hiring these professionals cost companies likely hundreds of thousands of dollars in employee wages. Barcode scanning removes the need for human data input. This means your employees are free to focus on other supply chain tasks.
Barcoding saves time.
As the saying goes, “Time is money”. Prior to the barcode’s invention, employees recorded information by hand, which not only took time, but often resulted in errors. With scanning technology, employees can scan and input barcode data into the computer with the push of a button. Faster data entry. In fact, our experts estimate that the barcoding method is at least 100 times faster than manual data entry, with some scanning software able to scan 500 items per second. Imagine how much more teams can do with that saved time.
Barcoding keeps track of your inventory.
Regardless of your industry, it is essential to know what exactly what you have in stock, and exactly how much of each item you have. Barcodes can help you track inventory throughout its lifecycle within the warehouse, keeping you informed of its movements. Being in the know about your stock also proves beneficial when informing your customers of your stock.
To learn more about how barcode technology can address your business’s needs for the holiday season, please fill out the form below. Barcoding is not a “one-size fits all” solution, it has many applications. One of our experienced sales representatives can help you navigate your options.
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 Smithsonian Magazine: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/history-bar-code-180956704/
 Zebra Technologies: https://www.zebra.com/content/dam/zebra/white-papers/en-us/barcoding-101-white-paper-en-us.pdf