If you are serious about inventory management and order fulfillment, barcode scanning should be an integral part of your daily operations.
Barcode scanning is easy to implement, provides clear return on investment, makes your inventory much more accurate, and helps to prevent costly pick/pack/ship mistakes. Imagine standing in line in a supermarket and having to wait until the cashier manually enters the names of all products. How slow, inefficient and error-prone would that be?
In Delivrd, each process can (and should) be implemented by using barcode scanning. But first let's find out how to get started with barcode scanning.
Barcode Scanning Process
To get started with barcode scanning, you will need:
- A barcode scanner.
- Labels with barcodes that include the relevant data - it can be a product's SKU number (or part number), EAN/UPC code, or a label of a package with its tracking number.
There are many types of barcode scanners, but they all work the same way:
- Connect a scanner to your desktop computer or tablet either with a cable or wirelessly.
- The scanner instantly starts acting as a keyboard, so you don't have to install any drivers.
- When you scan a barcode label, the data from the label is read by the barcode scanner and passed to your desktop or tablet, as if you are typing the data on the barcode label.
Basically, there are the following types of barcode scanners:
Wired barcode scanners – These scanners have a cable running from their USB connector to the scanner itself. Here’s an example:
Wireless Barcode Scanners – These scanners are not connected with a cable to desktop/tablet, but use either bluetooth or have a small USB dongle to connect wirelessly to the scanner.
The big advantage of wireless scanners is that you are not limited by the length of the cable and can freely move around the warehouse.
Wired or Wireless Scanner?
- Choose a wired scanner when you are stationary, standing or sitting next to a stationary (usually desktop) computer.
- Use a wireless scanner when you need to move around, but remember that you will still need to be able to see what you scan, so you can’t go too far from your computer or tablet.
- We recommend the following combinations: wired scanner + desktop if you are stationary, wireless scanner + tablet for mobility.
- If you are using an iPad tablet, make sure that your scanner is compatible with it. Android/Windows tablets have a much wider range of supported scanners, because they have a USB port.
After you connect a scanner to your computer, you can start scanning the barcode labels. You can find barcode labels on many products in your inventory. Some products have EAN/UPC labels that are scanned in supermarkets, while others have serial numbers that uniquely identify each product, such as computer monitors or TV screens. Many mobile phones have IMEI barcode labels attached to their backs. Here are some examples:
2D barcodes/ QR codes (middle of the bottom row on the image above) are not commonly used in inventory management & order fulfillment applications. If you do plan to use 2D barcodes, make sure that your barcode scanner can read them.
Many products have barcode labels applied by the product’s manufacturers. If you manage inventory and/or sell products that are not labeled, we strongly recommend that you label them or ask your supplier to label them. You can either buy a label printer, print the barcodes yourself and apply them to your products, or buy pre-printed labels.