Perhaps you’ve just purchased your first barcode scanner or you’ve realized how barcodes can make your business more efficient. It’s time to implement a barcode system that will help you manage inventory more easily and provide you with the business insight and information that you need to keep your warehouse humming and your customers satisfied. The following steps can be used in many industries for barcode implementation after the purchase of a new barcode scanner.
Step 1: Get a GS1 Prefix
Every barcode begins with a series of numbers known as a GS1 Prefix. This is a unique identifying number that is coded to your company and enables you to sell your products in stores and online. It can be used worldwide so that anyone scanning your products knows their origin and source. These numbers are followed by unique product identification numbers.
You can obtain a GS1 Prefix at gs1us.org.
Step 2: Decide what items will carry a barcode.
Next, you’ll need to organize and sort the items in your company that will carry a barcode. Most companies categorize their products as static or dynamic barcodes.
Static barcodes are used to consistently identify products. You’ve seen them hundreds of times on mass produced packaging ranging from milk cartons to wraps on reams of copy paper; these barcodes never change and the packaging can be printed in huge batches to use for multiple product runs.
Dynamic bar codes are typically used for a single purpose. Companies who use their barcode scanners and barcodes to track equipment such as forklifts, copies, and other machinery may choose dynamic barcodes because the use is limited to a handful of items.
You may wish to develop a list of how barcodes will be used in your company. Categorizing items by static and dynamic barcodes, product categories, and similar information will organize your inventory and make it easier for those programming and running barcodes to understand the logic undergirding the system.
Step 3: Choose your barcodes.
Each barcode must be accompanied by a specific symbol, which indicates how the items are scanned and distributed. IWI Consulting Group can help you choose your barcode system so that it works with your new software and with your company’s business needs.
Step 4: Select the size.
Barcodes can also be printed in many different sizes, so you’ll need to select the size you want for your products. The specific symbol chosen in Step 3 will also influence the size of your barcode, so make sure you complete Step 3 and seek assistance from IWI Consulting Group, if necessary, before setting the size for barcodes.
Step 5: Create the text.
Now it’s time to create, format, and proofread the text for your barcodes. The numbers below the actuals bars on a barcode are very important. If the barcode gets smudged, damaged, or is otherwise unreadable by barcodes scanners, the numbers act as a backup and can be manually typed into the system to identify your products.
You can use any size or font for the letters or numbers, but be sure they are easy to read. This isn’t a good time to use a script or calligraphy font. Instead, use a common font such as Arial or Verdana that is easy to read.
Step 6: Choose your colors.
Yes, you can print barcodes in many colors. They are easiest to read when printed in black ink on a white surface. That’s the standard for barcodes.
Step 7: Place the barcode.
Determine where on your packaging you will place the barcode. Again, you can put a barcode almost anywhere, but there are certain locations that are typical for product categories. Boxes tend to have barcodes on the bottom or on the back lower panel (left or right) so that they are easier to scan during checkout. Review products in your industry to find out what is typical or common for your product category.
Step 8: Test barcodes and barcode scanners.
Lastly, once your product is barcoded, the barcode is placed and printed, it’s time to test it. Use your barcode scanner to make sure that the code is accurate, is easily scanned, and that there are no other issues with your new barcodes.
IWI Consulting Group: Barcode Scanning Made Easy
IWI Consulting Group can help you choose barcode scanners, set up your barcode process, and help you launch a barcoding project to manage your inventory and sell more products. We offer a Barcode Scanning Inventory Module for Sage 300 that lets you manage your inventory and warehouse with confidence. To learn more about IWI’s Barcode Scanning Inventory Module for Sage 300, or to discuss choosing and setting up a barcode scanning project, contact us today. Call 1-866-916-3851.