The Benefits of Barcodes
Improve Operational Efficiency
Since barcodes permit faster and more accurate recording of information, work in process
can move quickly and be tracked precisely. Quite a bit of time can be spent tracking down
the location or status of projects, folders, instruments, materials, or anything else that
moves within an organization. Barcodes can help you keep better track so you can save time
and respond more quickly to inquiries and changes.
Depending on the application, time savings can be significant. Often the most dramatic
examples involve the beloved chore of taking inventory. One customer needed a crew of 25
employees working over a weekend to take the 6-month inventory; with barcodes this was
reduced to 4 employees and a total of about 5 hours. Even in routine day-to-day operations
the time savings of barcodes add up and improve productivity. Consider a shipment of 10
cartons; it will take approximately 2 minutes or more to write down product codes and
serial numbers compared to about 10 to 20 seconds to scan the barcodes. In a busy
operation this can be a significant saving.
Clerical and data entry errors can be a significant source of costs and related problems:
extra freight costs, unhappy customers, and time spent to track down problems are just a
few examples. In some situations, clerical errors can have a much more dramatic impact;
consider the importance of accuracy in pharmaceutical or blood bank applications. The
typical error rate for human data entry is 1 error per 300 characters. Barcode scanners
are much more accurate; the error rate can be as good as 1 error in 36 trillion characters
depending on the type of barcode used.
Barcodes are effective tools that can be used to address specific, localized problems or
integrated into organization-wide information systems. When applied with thought and
planning they can save time and reduce errors, resulting in a reduction of costs.
Meet Customer or Regulatory Requirements
Regulatory agencies or your customers may impose labeling requirements that you must meet.
While these requirements may be a necessary part of doing business, you can save time and
money by utilizing the barcodes within your own operations. For example, you can collect
shipping manifest information quickly and accurately by scanning the barcode labels that
you printed to satisfy the customer.