Top 6 Applications for Barcodes in Warehouse and Manufacturing

Enhance Operational Efficiency and Reduce Errors with Barcode Scanners

The barcode scanner has become an indispensable tool in warehouse and manufacturing environments, revolutionizing the way businesses manage and track their inventory. The use of the barcode reader offers numerous benefits, including increased accuracy, efficiency, and reduced human errors. Any manual data collection system will never rival the speed and reliability of automated data collection through a barcode scan.

While many companies make use of barcode labels, they may not take full advantage of the technology for all the workflows where it can be helpful. Also, some companies still rely on manual data collection (pen and paper) for key business processes. We’d like to explore the top six applications for barcodes in manufacturing and warehouse applications, and also discuss some of the hardware necessary to create an effective barcode scanning solution. CSSI Technologies is an expert in barcode scanning and mobile computing technologies as well as barcode software. We can help you further explore and implement any of these workflows.

Barcode scanner application - Inventory Management

1. Inventory Management

Barcodes play a pivotal role in streamlining inventory management processes. Inventory items are assigned a barcode, allowing for quick and accurate tracking of stock levels. Barcode scanners can effortlessly scan items during receiving, picking, and shipping, providing real-time updates on the accurate inventory level. This not only minimizes errors but also ensures that the right products are in the right place at the right time. Improved inventory control has multiple benefits: more efficient labor operations, less lost inventory, and more inventory tracking accuracy which results in higher sales and the ability to turn inventory faster.

Hardware Required: Barcode scanners, mobile computers, warehouse management software (WMS), and label printers.

Barcode application - Order Picking

2. Order Picking

Order picking is a critical aspect of warehouse operations. Barcodes enable a more efficient and error-free picking process. Warehouse staff equipped with a mobile device can scan barcodes on items and bins to verify product information and confirm that the correct items are being picked for an order. This reduces the likelihood of mistakes and speeds up the fulfillment process. The company benefits by accelerating the speed of picking and reducing errors (mis-picks) which can lead to expensive returns and lower customer satisfaction.

Hardware Required: Handheld barcode scanners, wearable scanners, mobile computing devices, and warehouse management software (WMS).

Shipping and Receiving barcodes

3. Shipping and Receiving

Barcodes simplify the shipping and receiving process by providing accurate data capture. When products arrive at a warehouse, their barcodes are scanned to update the inventory system automatically. Similarly, during the shipping process, barcodes are scanned to confirm that the correct items are being sent to the right destination. This minimizes shipping errors and improves overall order accuracy. Barcodes allow the company to ensure that the correct products are received and routed to the correct destinations, and can accelerate the invoicing process.

Hardware Required: Barcode scanners, mobile computers, shipping software, and thermal label printers.

Barcodes used for Quality Control

4. Quality Control

Maintaining product quality is crucial in manufacturing. Barcodes are used to track and trace raw materials and finished goods throughout the production process. Quality control checkpoints can be established where barcode labels are scanned to ensure that products meet specified standards. A scanned barcode allows you to electronically link QC actions to an electronic record, providing proof of what checks were made. See CSSI’s case study of custom quality control software created for an industrial customer to track lab samples.

Hardware Required: Barcode scanners, mobile computers, and quality control software.

Using barcodes in Work-In-Process Tracking

5. Work-in-Process Tracking

In a manufacturing environment, barcodes facilitate real-time tracking of work-in-progress (WIP). Each stage of the production process can be assigned a unique barcode, allowing for accurate monitoring of the production flow. This visibility aids in identifying bottlenecks, improving efficiency, and meeting production deadlines. Barcode technology can reduce missed manufacturing steps and provide company management with visibility and metrics on the state of production at any point in time.

Hardware Required: Barcode scanners, mobile computers, and manufacturing execution systems (MES).

Barcodes for Asset Tracking

6. Asset Tracking

Barcodes extend beyond product tracking and are invaluable for monitoring equipment and assets within a warehouse or manufacturing facility. Each asset can be assigned a barcode, enabling easy identification and tracking of its location and maintenance history. This helps in optimizing asset utilization and reducing downtime. The company can reduce losses from stolen or misplaced assets and can create accountability for check-in/check-out procedures.

Hardware Required: Barcode scanners, mobile devices, and asset tracking software.

How to Get Started Implementing Barcode Technology

Of course, there are many more possibilities beyond the top 6 applications for barcodes in manufacturing and warehousing. The adoption of barcodes in industrial, distribution center, and transportation/logistics environments has transformed traditional inventory and operational processes. The efficiency, accuracy, and real-time visibility provided by barcodes contribute significantly to overall productivity. To implement a successful barcode scanning solution, businesses must invest in the appropriate hardware, including barcode scanners, mobile computers, printers, and software tailored to their specific needs.

However, it’s also necessary to understand best-in-class workflows and how these technologies have been successfully implemented at industry peers. This is where CSSI Technologies can be of great help to you. We offer years of experience in implementing and supporting barcode technology and mobile computer implementations, as well as inventory software and barcode scanning software. By bringing our experience to the table, we can help a company get started faster, with a better outcome. Avoid unnecessary pitfalls and contact CSSI to discuss your barcode project.

Let’s Talk About Your Project

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.