Barcode Systems: Common FAQs for Implementation

warehouse1_09_040Most companies don’t have a problem finding a good inventory management system. However, when they get it set up there are always questions that follow. Here are some of the most common, and how to straighten it all out.

How Do I Set Up A Barcode System

Decide on a software program you want to use, along with hardware. Assuming you already have something like this inventory management software, which can track pretty much anything in your company, you need hardware.

Beyond that, it really depends on whether you’re working with other companies or whether your barcodes will just be used in-house.

What Types Of Barcodes Are There?

Different standards are used in different industries. There is UPC, EAN, or ISBN-13. For zip codes on U.S. mail, the standard is POSTNET, and for labels or forms for inventory and shipping, use Code 39, Code 128, or Interleaved 2 of 5.

How Do I Generate A Barcode For My Product?

You can either obtain a code from GS1 (the Uniform Code Council), or you can try to build it yourself. Most companies use GS1. To register, you must visit their website and fill out an online application. The process takes roughly 5 business days.

Can I Print Barcodes In Different Colors?

Technically yes, but it’s not advised. Using other colors besides black and white may not work uniformly on all scanners across all industries. Some hardware is not capable of reading color bars, so keep this in mind. Unless you’re only using the system in-house, and don’t intend to change product lines or expand your business (or the system) outside of the company, stick with black barcodes on white background.

Can I Use A Laser Printer For Barcode Labels?

It can save you some money, but it usually causes a lot of problems. Laser printers require you to print one sheet at a time, regardless of how many you actually need. With a dedicated barcode printer, you print only what you need. Even with the initial upfront cost, this option is usually the best and cheapest over the long-run.

Do I Need a Wireless or Batch System?

A wireless system allows you to send data instantaneously from wherever you are. A batch system allows you to upload all data just once at a designated time. There are advantages to both systems. With wireless, you’re able to transmit sales quickly, which is good if you’re at a trade show or away from the office.

With batch processing, you may save money on data transfer as you’re only uploading once.

What Is UID Compliance?

UID is “unique identification” and was a mandate issued by the Department of Justice. All contracts, deliverables, and government property must be marked with a unique identification number. It’s basically a 2D matrix symbol, and it’s required by law.

Is Cycle Counting Better Than Physical Inventory?

The short answer is both are good. The benefits of continuous cycle include inventory tracking integrity and overall better tracking in real-time. The benefits of physical inventories are that you can manually verify inventory, giving you a hard count instead of an approximation.

Max Gardiner works as an assistant supervisor in a large warehouse stockroom. He likes to share his insights on the web. His posts are available on many business management and inventory blogs.

Leave a Comment