Barcodes are one of the most revolutionary inventions when it comes to managing a manufacturing or supply line. They allow us to keep track of items and collect information about said products, in less than a second. And they do all this, with minimal addition to the cost of production.
The implementation of barcodes has allowed businesses to streamline time-consuming processes like inventory management and record keeping. Thus, allowing a business to increase its productivity.
So, let’s discuss everything you need to know about barcodes & how to best implement them into your business.
What is the Basic Principle Behind Barcodes?
Barcodes hold information in binary form, this data is usually important information about the product. The working principle behind barcodes differs slightly depending on the type of barcode. So, let’s discuss the functioning principle behind different types of barcodes.
Based on the working principle, we can classify barcodes into two different types:
These are the original and still the most used type of barcodes all over the world. These store information along a single axis, in form of black & white bars. The data is stored in binary form, black represents 1 & white represents 0.
The scanner can detect the difference between the black & white bars, due to the reflective properties of the two colours. The scanner illuminates the code with either a laser or an LED light. According to physics, black absorbs most of the light & white reflects most of the light, thus, affecting the intensity of the reflected light. The sensors in the scanner can distinguish between the two & store the binary code.
Then, it sends this code to the system, which decodes it into numeric form. 1D barcodes can store up to 95 binary digits, which can represent a maximum of 20 characters.
These came much after the introduction of the original 1D barcodes. These types of barcodes can hold much more information than standard 1D barcodes. 2D barcodes can store information in both vertical & horizontal axis.
However, due to this, they need more powerful scanners to decode them. Unlike 1D barcode scanners, 2D code scanners require a camera to capture the image of the code. Then, use image processing software to decode it.
Different Types of Barcodes
As discussed above, you can classify barcodes primarily based on their data-storing technique. However, even after that, there are multiple types of barcodes even in these categories. So, let’s see these barcodes, and where they are most commonly used.
Benefits of Implementing Barcodes in Your Business
There is a reason that almost every major business, incorporates the use of barcodes into their practices. The answer is simple, profitability, implementation of the barcode will improve a lot of aspects of your business, leading to increased profitability.
So, let’s discuss all the good that barcodes can do for you.
Updating and managing inventory is a very important part of running a business. However, manually writing down long chains of numbers like those in product codes, increases the risk of error. But with barcodes, you can simply scan the product & the system will take care of the rest. Eliminating any chance of stock misplacement.
When it comes to running an entrepreneurial endeavour, one of the most important rules is, “Time is Money.” Every second that you waste during your day, you could’ve spent on making more money. Time-consuming activities like inventory management, billing, etc can result in wasting a lot of your time.
However, with the help of barcodes, you can minimize this problem to a negligible size. Barcode scanners can input all the necessary information regarding a product in less than a second. In the long run, barcodes can save you a lot of time that you can then spend on making more profit.
Security & transparency are very important prerequisites for a successful business. By strategically placing a system of barcodes & scanners throughout your facility, you can keep a check on the real-time position of your products. This allows you to have a better insight into the productivity of your business and shows you areas with issues/delays. In addition, this significantly reduces theft & stock shrinkage.
How to Choose the Right Barcode Label for Your Business?
Due to their popularity & vast application in so many industries, we have had to develop a different kinds of barcode labels. They all have their practical usage, based on different factors like durability, surface compatibility, life, etc.
So, before you go on all excited to buy rolls of barcode labels for your business, check out how to select the right one for you.
The first that should come to your mind is the surface of your product or the packaging the label will stick on. Factors like the shape, curvature and material of the surface can drastically affect the stickiness of a label. In addition, certain nubs like screws can result in the barcode being distorted or the label getting damaged.
Size of the Barcode Label
Barcode labels come in different sizes, depending on their usability. While selecting a barcode, you need to determine both the pros & cons of a small and a big barcode. For example, big barcodes are easier to read and can be read from a distance, saving time. However, they are also more expensive than small barcodes and will increase your cost in the long run.
So, depending on factors like the size of your facility, product volume, etc. You need to decide which is the best barcode label for your business.
Depending on the time for which the barcode is being stuck to a product or packaging, you may need different types of adhesives. In short, there are two types of adhesives, temporary & permanent. It is highly inadvisable to use permanent adhesive on a temporary barcode label, as it is not designed to come off. Trying to remove such a label may result in damage to the product’s surface.
Resistance & Durability
Another reason to keep in mind is how long the label is supposed to stay on the product. In case it’s a packaging barcode label, it’d most probably be temporary and doesn’t need to be robust. However, for permanent labels, we need to make sure that they will be able to stave off damage & maintain function throughout their transit.
That is why, for permanent labels, we use materials that are scratch-smudge resistant, like vinyl.
There are two types of printing techniques that we use while printing barcode labels:
• Thermal Printing refers to the process of directly transferring a specialized ink from the printer onto the label paper. After applying the ink to the paper, it is heated, which acts as a catalyst and allows the ink to take its colour.
• Thermal Transfer Printing, this process uses a special barcode ribbon coated with wax or resin mixed with ink. The printer presses the coated side against the label and applies heat on it from the opposite side. This allows the coating to stick to the label forming an image.
Due to the absence of any barrier between the label and the printer head, thermal printing produces sharper images than thermal transfer printing. However, due to direct heat being a catalyst for the ink, thermal printed labels are vulnerable to hot temperatures & have a shorter lifespan than thermal transfer printed labels.
Lastly, an important factor that determines the right barcode for you, is the material which makes up the barcode label. Due to factors like cost, environmental elements, lifespan, etc. We have developed a couple of label materials, all with different properties.
For example, Vinyl labels are the most durable and versatile, they are flexible and can successfully stick to almost any surface. Moreover, due to their stretchability, they can be easily put on the screws and diverts, without damaging the barcodes on them. However, they are also the most expensive label material and will increase your cost.
On the other hand, paper labels are the most cost-effective, but are also the most vulnerable to scratches, smudges & physical damage. So, depending on your product, facility environment, transit time, etc you must decide which material is best for you.
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- Last updated on May 19, 2023