Many of us take barcodes, also referred to as UPC and EAN codes, for granted because they’re so commonplace. However, with only some basic printing equipment and a readily available barcode scanner, this technology offers significant benefits to manufacturers and brand owners as products move through the supply chain.
Each barcode has a unique number that is 12 or 13 digits in length, which cost-effectively, quickly and efficiently tracks and monitors product inventories.
At retail, barcodes are scanned at the till and brand owners’ accounts are credited with the sale. Each barcode is specific to a product variant, including size, flavour and colour for example. During transportation or at the warehouse, these codes provide locational information to track and trace products and assist with stock control.
Benefits of barcodes
Barcodes eliminate the possibility of human error
Because codes are scanned and not manually entered, the risk of error is significantly reduced.
Reliable and time saving
Scanning barcodes is far quicker than entering data by hand.
Training staff to use a hand-held scanner is quick and easy and doesn’t require personnel to know full stock inventories.
Barcodes are inexpensive to design and print and can be customised to suit the product’s packaging.
Barcodes provide data from products at retail as well as from shipping to track inventory throughout the supply chain.
Managing and reducing inventory, and therefore overheads, is possible thanks to precise data capture. Barcodes also save money by tracking the location of shipments that may be considered lost.
Because data, which can be customised, is scanned directly into a central computer, it’s available immediately. This ensures better decision making and saves time and money.
The proliferation of barcodes and availability of inexpensive equipment has made them affordable for businesses of all sizes, particularly because the encoded data is scalable – as you need more data from your database, you just add more barcodes or codes greater complexity.
However, a word of caution. Retailers are intolerant of problematic barcodes that cause scanning errors. Faulty codes have costly implications for retailers if they cannot be scanned or decoded properly on the first scan. To avoid poor quality codes, barcode verification equipment evaluates codes during printing to ensure approved reading rates by ISO standards.
Whether an SME or leading brand owner, Markem-Imaje’s coding, marking and verification equipment, available from Pyrotec PackMark, offers extensive on-pack product identification solutions, including self-adhesive label systems, and coding and labelling equipment for primary secondary and tertiary packaging.