Some say it was John Mashey and his colleagues at Silicon Graphics who coined the term “big data”. Others say it was Weiss and Indurkhya.
In any case, they weren’t kidding when they used the word “big”. Experts say that big data software sales will reach AU $262.52 billion by 2019!
Granted, that number also includes sales for business analytics software. But that’s still billions of dollars.
All this shows how data-driven our society has become. Google users alone create an average of 40,000 search data every second.
So where does knowing how barcodes work enter the picture? The simple answer is – as soon as your business creates data about products or items. Whether it’s warehousing or manufacturing, barcoding will help with your business’ data management.
The easier your data management tasks are, the more efficient your workplace will be.
How exactly can barcoding help you, though? Keep reading to find out!
What are and How Barcodes Work in the First Place
Here’s the simplest definition of what a barcode is:
A barcode offers one of the quickest ways for product/item identification. It’s an image in the form of a square or rectangle.
The image itself consists of parallel coloured lines, with white spaces between. The varying widths of these bars and spaces give them their “identity”.
Note that traditional barcodes featured only black lines and white spaces. Today, you’ll find other acceptable colour combinations. For instance, there are the green bars and orange spaces, or blue bars and yellow spaces.
A special tool, known as barcode scanner, reads these “width variations”. When a scanner reads a barcode, a user can find out various details stored in the image. These pieces of information often include product name, type, size, and even color.
Quicker product identification is only one of the ways barcoding benefits businesses though. It also plays a huge part in reducing data entry errors.
Bad Data Can Kill Your Business
In the U.S. alone, poor data quality results in an AU $4.35 trillion economic loss every year. We don’t have actual figures for Australia yet, but one thing is for sure – bad data consequences are the same everywhere.
By that, we mean potential huge losses for your business. Not to mention compromised data safety and security.
But how does bad data “occur” in the first place?
Human error is the primary culprit.
Think about it. With manual data entry, there’s always a risk of typing in the wrong number or character.
Say, for instance, you’re updating your warehouse’s inventory. You intended to enter 3,500 units (for a product). But because human nature to commit errors, you typed in 3,600 units by mistake instead.
If that number was for restocking your warehouse, then that means you’ll end up overstocked. This may be fine in some cases. But what if you didn’t have enough budget to pay for the excess?
That’ll put your business in a financial pinch, even result in you needing to take out an unnecessary loan. That’s because you may have no choice but to shell out money, since you made the mistake.
Mind you, that’s only one serious situation bad data can put you in. There are many others, but that should be enough for you to consider barcoding. With barcode technology, you can reduce such risks since you’ll automate data entry.
Inventory Taking and Tracking Made Faster and More Accurate
Manual inventory counting and tracking consumes a lot of time. Even if it was someone’s sole job, that’ll still take a lot of time. Let’s not forget that there’s once again the risk for human errors.
Picture this: You need to write down the 12-digit product number for 100 different items. Let’s say it takes you one second to recognize each number and another five to write it down. That’s six seconds for each of the 12 digits, which means 72 seconds to write each product number down.
To go through all 100 items, you’d spend about 7,200 seconds. That’s two hours of work right there. The question is, how sure are you that you wrote all the correct numbers?
Chances are, of the 1,200 characters you wrote, you made three errors. You may only have three characters wrong, but they can still cost you a lot of time. For one, because you’d have to check each item to figure out where you went wrong.
Things would even be worse if you didn’t double check. Your inventory would suffer, since it’s possible you’ve already “misplaced” these items. That’s loss of profits (and waste of resources) right there.
Now, compare this with the average 2 seconds it takes for a scanner to read and input a barcode. To make an inventory of 100 items, it’ll only take you about 200 seconds. That’s only a little over 3 minutes!
That’s one huge time difference, which should be enough for you to see how beneficial barcoding is.
Reduced Data Inaccuracies Mean More Valuable Work Done
Fewer data entry mistakes means your people can do more actual work with their time. That already boosts efficiency at the workplace.
But what’s even better is that they can work on tasks that profit the business. Instead of “working” to correct mistakes, they can use their time for other more important jobs. There’s taking or tracking the entire inventory of your warehouse, for starters.
The bottom line? Barcode technology can help boost the efficiency of many aspects of your business. From inventory management to resource conservation to productivity, the list goes on.
Use Barcode Technology Now for a More Efficient, Productive Business
Now that you know how barcodes work, it’s time to incorporate it in your business. With all the benefits of this technology, you’ll soon see why barcode scanner costs are worth it.
So, invest in a barcode system now. This way, you’ll have more chances of increasing your business’ efficiency and productivity.
Ready to take a page out of the book of 88% of global companies with a data quality solution? If so, then feel free to connect with us. We’ll be more than happy to answer all your questions about barcode technology.