What are the benefits of using barcodes in your supply chain?
- Increased efficiency
- Improved data accuracy
- Better inventory management
- Enhanced security
- Cost savings
Barcodes are machine-readable images that represent data. In the case of supply chains, that data is usually product information. As we’re sure you’ve seen before, a barcode consists of a series of vertical bars with varying widths and spacings that can be scanned through a reader. This is widely used in retail, logistics, and manufacturing industries for many reasons. In this article, we discuss the benefits of barcodes in supply chains.
Barcodes allow for the quick and accurate scanning of products, which reduces manual errors and speeds up the supply chain process.
Imagine if you needed to keep a handwritten or manually-typed list of product details every time one of your products passed through your shop’s door. This might work if you only have a couple of products, but manually recording data for a whole inventory is tricky and time-consuming. You’d much rather be spending that time doing something important like networking, product research, or brand building.
Let’s not forget that it’s not just the coming and going of your products that you’ll need to record. Throughout the supply chain process, you’ll have to keep track of where your raw materials, products, and even byproducts are for the sake of documentation, financial reports, and other purposes. That’s a lot of things to pay attention to and a lot of repetitive manual processes that can be avoided with a simple addition of barcodes.
Improved data accuracy
Barcodes ensure that data collection is accurate because they reduce the risk of manual errors in the entry of product information and allow for real-time, automated data collection. Manual data entry doesn’t have to happen anymore since when a barcode is scanned, the data contained in it is automatically transferred to a computer system. In doing this, there is less risk of errors caused by typos, incorrect data entry, or other manual mistakes.
Going back to the earlier scenario, consider how complex your list of products will become when you take into account their arrival, purchase, shipping, and delivery. Manually typing or writing this information can lead to errors, such as inaccurately typing the product name or tracking its status. Keeping the information up-to-date would require constant monitoring and updating, making the process a potential headache. But this problem can be avoided by simply incorporating barcodes!
Better inventory management
Barcodes enable real-time tracking of your inventory. But did you know that this tracking aids you in making business decisions, too?
The use of barcodes allows you to identify how products in your inventory are moving. These movement trends then allow you to make informed decisions regarding your products. For example, if you see that a certain product is not doing so well during certain months of the year, you can decide to lessen the production of that product during its “off” season, increase the marketing efforts for that product, or develop the product further to fit your market’s preferences.
You don’t have to stick to just one decision, either—you can experiment by applying one option at a time and assessing how the market will react. These results can be easily viewed by checking your inventory, which of course has been optimized with barcodes.
Because barcodes provide each product with a unique identifier, you can immediately determine if counterfeiting or product tampering is going on. You don’t have to mistake one item for a similar one, because each is unique. Broken, damaged, or missing items are all taken into account still. When a barcode is assigned to a product, that product can be tracked throughout the supply chain. This helps ensure that the product is authentic and verifiable with the information stored in the barcode.
Employing barcode technology in your business can help lower the cost of operation by reducing manual labor, minimizing waste, and improving the efficiency of your supply chain as a whole. Because there is less of a need for manual entry, you don’t have to hire too many people for the same task. You minimize waste by not only using less paper and hard-copy materials but also by making informed business decisions and reducing the risk of over- or understocking every time you experiment. Finally, you can streamline your supply chain operations and reduce the time required for manual tasks, which also results in lower costs.
As you can see, there are several reasons why you should opt for using barcodes in your business. In this article, we discussed the benefits of barcodes in supply chains, and we hope you were able to learn something about them in the process.