Barcode: The Daily Definition

 In Inventory Management, The Daily Definition

What is a barcode?


A barcode is a symbol made from a series of printed bars. These bars represent values, such as description and manufacturer. Barcodes can also be called UPC codes — UPC stands for universal product code. Barcodes are commonly used throughout most retail industries because they are easy to use and reliable. 

An example:

Anyone who has visited a grocery store has seen a barcode, and if you work for a distribution company, your warehouse is almost certainly full of them. There are many different types of barcodes, and which type your company uses will depend on your business’ needs.

Barcodes are machine-readable, and there is a wide variety of scanning hardware available. Manufacturers who put barcodes on their goods must pay an annual fee to GS1 US (previously known as the Uniform Code Council). GS1 US generates specific barcodes unique to each company. The numbers on a barcode all have particular meaning, and are a way for human readers (instead of machine readers) to quickly see what type of item the barcode is identifying.

Our two cents:

This will come as no surprise to people who already use them, but using barcodes is one the best ways to optimize your warehouse.

Barcodes have lots of great things to offer your business. One of the best examples of barcoding’s usefulness is the way it can transform your company’s stock counts. Without barcodes, stock counts are long, tedious projects that are often riddled with errors. With barcodes, though, stock counts are a walk in the park — simply scan your inventory and let the software do the heavy lifting.

Just about every area of your distribution operations will benefit from barcoding. What’s more, barcoding greatly reduces error rates when working with your inventory. We’re going to go ahead and say that there’s nothing to lose with barcoding, and the world to gain. If your inventory is not barcoded already, we encourage you to reconsider.

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