From your bookshelf and workspace to your kitchen, your nearest supermarket, and shopping malls, barcoding technology is silently powering several aspects of the supply chains that enable our lives. The history of barcodes can be traced back to 1948 when two Drexel University students created the first barcode, which had a bullseye pattern. Since then, technology has become indispensable in today’s global economy.
At its most elemental level, a barcode is a machine-readable representation of numbers and characters. It’s made up of vertical black lines of different thicknesses and height, white space, and numerals in a square or rectangle. With the help of a barcode scanner, this pattern of black and white bars can be translated into information that your retail point of sale system will comprehend.
In a typical warehouse or distribution setting, the barcoding process captures different attributes of a product such as size, color, location, etc., so that enterprises may get a comprehensive insight into their current inventory, rapidly fulfill orders, and complete physical inventory counts. In a retail setting, barcodes generally contain information about product names and prices.
Barcodes have increasingly dominated the supply chain in recent years and have become a crucial tool for organizations to improve inventory control and sales operations while also boosting product traceability. The global Barcode Readers market will increase at a CAGR of 4.6% between 2022 and 2027, from $2337.6 million in 2020 to $3061.6 million by the end of 2027.
Without question, this incredible technology has been instrumental in the development of several enterprises. Because barcodes can be read by a scanner rather than an employee manually entering product information, they save organizations a massive amount of time, money, and resources.
Barcodes also give all the important information in a short space of time, starting from simple tasks like determining when a consumer can expect their delivery to more advanced information such as tracking temperatures in transit.
Businesses reliant on strong supply chains stand to gain a significant advantage by implementing barcodes into their operations. Supply chain management typically involves processes such as asset monitoring, outward storage, inward storage, and item returns, among other things.
By incorporating barcoding technology into business processes, organizations may increase the pace and efficiency of their chains while also increasing turnover. Here are the major benefits of barcoding as a technology in supply chain automation.
Benefits for barcoding in supply chain automation
- Inventory optimization and management
Inventory control and monitoring, as well as stock ordering and distribution, are all important aspects of inventory management.
Enterprises can make inventory management more reliable and easier than ever by implementing barcodes, paving the door for increased revenue. Faster turnover and fewer cash requirements are other benefits of better inventory control. Businesses may use barcodes to improve inventory visibility and acquire a better understanding of incoming and outgoing shipments. Businesses may also use a barcode system to track the status of outgoing and arriving shipments wherever they move.
Every time an item travels to a new location, it is scanned, maintaining transparency and lowering the risk of losses. And if something goes missing, it’s significantly easier to locate it.
- Cost optimization
Warehouses that do not rely on barcoding for scanning and data capture are obviously highly manual, with all warehouse activity documentation, such as receipts, inventory transfers, cycle counts, returns, etc., handled by employees.
In comparison, barcode systems take only a fraction of the time it takes to input data manually. These systems are fully automated and need little to no human intervention. Processes that would have taken hours to complete may now be completed in minutes thanks to automated product identification, rapid recognition, and data implementation via barcodes.
The cost optimization spills over into other aspects of supply chain management as well. Associated technologies like RFIDs are inevitably adopted into the supply chain as barcoding tech settles in. These allow for further cost optimizations for the enterprise.
- Accuracy of data and reduction of errors
Before barcode scanners and similar technologies went mainstream, inventory management processes were typically done manually. This procedure was unsurprisingly inefficient and prone to unavoidable human errors, to say the least. And certainly, such inventory errors resulted in significant delays in shipments, orders being missed, and commodities being over or understocked.
With barcode technology integrated into supply chains, however, corrections to errors can be made in real-time. This allows for greater data accuracy, which in turn improves the accuracy and quality of processes.
- Digital transformation associated with the adoption of such tech
COVID-19 has boosted digitization across industries. Emerging tech like artificial intelligence, hybrid cloud, robots, automation, IoT, blockchain, etc. are increasingly being used by businesses. And the incentives are obvious. These technologies aid in unlocking hidden insights from a variety of data sources to make better real-time supply chain decisions.
Barcoding technology could arguably be called the gateway to stronger and more integrated digitalization for businesses. It’s a low hanging fruit that’s very likely to not only show results quickly, but also inevitably spark inspiration for further digital transformation across the board.
The use of barcodes in conjunction with new-age tech enables horizontal integration and modifications across operations, enabling a 360-degree view of the supply chain and any potential interruptions.
Unlock the benefits of barcoding technology with BCI
Bar Code India (BCI) is India’s leading provider of efficient supply chain solutions, including barcoding. BCI’s innovative technologies give businesses unparalleled insight into their assets and supply chain analytics, resulting in improved value production for both the organization and its consumers.
With over 20 years of expertise in automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) technology and broad domain knowledge across industry verticals, BCI has pioneered the art and science of barcoding for more than two decades now.
To learn more about Bar Code India, click here.