When was the last time you thought about a barcode? It was probably while in line at the grocery store when there was a problem with one of your item’s barcode and you had to wait while the clerk called for a price check. But barcodes and barcode technology have been an incredibly important development in the way businesses large and small manage and track inventory. The technology allows the business industry to move more items to more places around the world and is a critical part in the global economy functioning smoothly.
Barcodes are how warehouses in Arkansas know when a product is out of stock at a shop in New York; barcodes are how a teen at the mall is able to access the latest online store; barcodes are even at the cutting edge of new designs for advertisements and customer interaction. There is hardly a place you go or a product you buy that doesn’t depend on barcode technology.
Now that you are thinking about barcodes, here are 7 important and educational facts:
- The very first scanning of a consumer barcode was in June of 1974 in Troy, Ohio from a pack of Wrigley Company chewing gum.
- Originally, barcodes were linear or one-dimensional (1D) – using a system of varying widths and spacing of parallel lines to represent data.
- The first 2D barcode was developed in 1987 by David Allais at Intermed Corporation and was called Code 49. 2D barcodes allow the use of rectangles, dots, hexagons, and other geometric patterns and can contain hundreds of times the amount of information as 1D barcodes.
- Denso Wave’s QR Code can hold as much as 7,000 digits or 4,000 characters of text – compared to a 1D Code which can only hold about 20 characters.
- 2D barcodes can be used to import data from external sources like MS Office programs, MS SQL Servers, and other databases and files; this means they can often be efficiently integrated with a company’s existing tracking methods and then used to improve those methods.
- Most smartphones, including the iPhone and Android, are able to easily read 2D barcodes using the phone’s application. The ubiquity of these phones has increasingly made 2D barcodes a way to share important information with consumers; allowing codes to be placed on advertisements and products which can be easily scanned by consumers.
- 2D barcodes are being used by hospitals to ensure patients get the right medications on the right schedule.
2D Barcode Scanner (USB) for Inventory – WDI4600
|The real question for most small businesses is, “Will a barcode or barcoding system improve processes?” The answer is – yes, in many significant ways. Whether it is in retail businesses at the checkout stand or in corporate asset management, 2D barcodes and scanner systems can prove invaluable.|
|For example, Clark Memorial Hospital uses 2D barcodes on each unique wristband given to a patient upon admission. In addition, each medication also carries a unique barcode label. Barcode technology allows nurses and doctors to scan the patient and medication barcodes to make sure patients are getting the right medications at the right time, every time. According to Gary Pollock, Pharmacy Systems Administrator at Clark Memorial Hospital, using the WaspLabeler + 2D Barcode Labeling Software, “saves us money and time, but more important, it will have an impact on decreasing medication administration errors and improve patient safety.”||
“saves us money and time, but more important, it will have an impact on decreasing medication administration errors and improve patient safety.”
Barcode scanners are also important for small or medium sized businesses because they help companies function better and more efficiently. A barcode scanner will reduce errors – manual data entry generates ten errors for every one thousand keystrokes vs only one error for every 10,000 scans. Barcode systems also drastically reduce the amount of time employees spend entering and changing data or tracking fixed assets or consumable inventory once the data has been entered.
Understanding how barcode technology can help you and your small business is an important first step in deciding what type of barcode system might work best for your company. From hospitals to warehouses to the checkout line, barcode technology and barcode scanning systems are integral tools in reducing human error – errors that can significantly impact companies’ success.
We’d love to hear about creative ways you’ve seen or used barcodes. If you’re looking for ideas to spruce up the barcodes you use – an awesome way to add that little something extra to your products – visit our blog 100+ Creative Barcode Labels for inspiration.