Businesses across the world use barcode labels to trace and manage assets. You can easily affix them to almost any asset, inventory or equipment. Nowadays, many Computerised Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) use them to track, monitor and manage assets. So, to buy barcode labels for your company, you need to do proper planning beforehand.
If you are buying for the first time and installing a new system, you need to design a potent scanning process from scratch. Once you add new barcode labels to present operations, you can easily review techniques and make the required changes to increase efficiency.
Besides scanning, you need to consider other important things to buy barcode labels. Here, you will learn about them one by one. But before that, let’s discuss what barcodes are, how the labels work and their components.
What are Barcodes?
Barcodes came into the scene four decades ago and still play a dominant role in asset, inventory and product management. They have printed graphics that show numbers or different characters. The traditional 2D format uses spaces and lines/vertical bars. But the trending designs like QR codes implement a block series for data representation.
You can use barcodes with mobile apps or scanners to instantly share information between electronic systems and tagged products. The scanning of barcodes help you to quickly access product information, ship assets, collect data and perform documentation activities.
How to Use Barcode Labels
You can pair a barcode label with an electronic system and hardware scanner which support the symbology. Businesses may implement different platforms or scanners that work well with symbologies that your company uses.
Let’s say you can use portable barcode scanners to scan assets and other information. However, your field experts can use mobile devices with barcode scanning apps to monitor maintenance tasks or assets between operational sites or locations.
Certain barcode scanners use a laser to detect patterns on a label and convert that into a characters’ series in the software. Such scanners work well only with single-dimensional barcodes.
Omnidirectional barcode scanners use lasers in a complicated mixed-grid framework. This pattern allows you to read one-dimensional and two-dimensional barcodes. You can also use advanced digital image processing features to read and understand single and two-dimensional barcodes.
After you buy barcode labels, you can leverage them in your laboratory, factory and warehouse. You can use them to immediately identify or confirm the same – if it is a container that stores a certain type/part of the inventory, a device or a moveable thing that you use in business operations.
The barcode-related data usually refers to the number or part of the products to track easily.
What are the Components of a Barcode Label?
A barcode label usually consists of a graphic and description (in text). Some of them also contain a brand logo or graphics components.
The barcode image contains the following five key elements that enable scanners to identify proper sections:
- Graphics-free area
- An initial character
- Data characters constituting most of the barcode data
- A pause character
- An extra null or quiet area
If you properly format a barcode, the scanner immediately reads and records information with minimum rescans. Barcode label formats are created for certain cases. You can find them even in variations. There are approximately thirty barcode symbols and possibly hundreds of configurations.
If you function in multiple areas and transfer assets from one point to another frequently, standardisation is crucial. You can implement standards to mark consistently and track assets across your company.
Here are some of the major types of barcode symbologies:
- Linear (numeric) barcodes, also known as 1D barcodes
- Numeric barcodes
- Linear (alphanumeric) barcodes
- 2-Dimensional (2D) barcodes
- Data Matrix Codes
Before choosing one of these options, confirm its compatibility with your current system and scanning hardware that you use.
Now, let’s discuss the important things you need to know before you buy barcode labels.
Create Asset Management Plan
When it comes to buying new barcode labels, consider your present asset management plan. If you don’t have a proper plan yet, it’s time to make one. Take into account all the assets you handle and then decide which of them to track with barcode labels.
Find out the rack spaces, workspaces or shelves that may need labels or tags. You should evaluate your assets in the conditions of the warehouse or factory plan. Analyse operations with your team, determine the flow of assets and their interaction with different resources.
As products and inventory have different barcode label requirements, you should check them clearly as that helps you later in planning.
Identify Tracking Requirements
Besides asset management plans, you should examine barcode scanning tools and software that you use to scan and track products. Moreover, you need to consider how long you will use every barcode label, scanner configuration and other hardware across your workplace.
These factors tend to affect the barcode labels suited for every application. Distance scanning is a crucial factor in barcode implementation. It is usually the amalgamation of the barcode size, label exterior coating and scanning hardware.
Evaluate the Environment
When you buy barcode labels, consider the environment where you use them. Normal warehouse ambience encourages normal label designs and flexible tools. On the contrary, adverse environments which are exposed to adverse conditions need a more robust and advanced barcode option.
The exposure to hazardous chemicals, sand, moisture and high temperatures make it difficult to read barcode labels if you select a poor material.
Choose Optimal Labels
Once you create an asset management plan and assess the environment, review the barcode label materials and other design elements. During the review, you can compare barcode labels’ specific features.
Consider the following features when choosing barcode labels:
You can customise the colour, graphics and size of barcode labels to fulfil your branding needs. Select alternate label materials and sizes depending on the compatibility with the possible environmental aspects.
Besides choosing the labels’ sizes and materials, you can select the finish like matte.
Are you labelling assets with curvy or uneven surfaces? Select a flexible barcode label rather than the one with an adhesive or modes of attachment.
You can also go for other alternatives like tamper-proof labels that show the sign of removal attempt. Such labels benefit expensive assets like computers as they prevent illegal transfer and theft.
Printing Technique and Quantity Discounts
Many barcode labels are optimised with a printing technique suited to the required material, surface and coating. Scan the printing methods that the suppliers offer. Discuss with them the printing options and their prices depending on the quantity you want.
To decrease your upfront cost, make most of the quantity discounts. Before you buy barcode labels, it is advisable to identify your requirements. When you discuss your requirements with a reliable supplier, it helps you to prevent errors and issues in scanning.
If you plan everything carefully, you can immediately choose a barcode label and leverage it for thorough asset tracking.
Hopefully, the post helped you in learning all you need to know before buying barcode labels. A wrong purchase can be unfavourable for your business.
Technowave understands how much this barcode label investment matters for your business. Thus, we implement our knowledge and expertise to assist you in decision making. Furthermore, we associate with leading international brands such as Zebra and Datalogic to help you buy barcode labels and other relevant products.