More industries than ever before are learning about and reaping the benefits of barcode technology. As the science of data analysis evolves, so does the value of fast, accurate data collection. Though barcode technology has been around and has been used successfully in certain industries for decades, the revolution in the way we think about and use data has afforded new respect to barcode technology. Professionals in industries from manufacturing to healthcare now see barcode technology as the conduit between their professions and the data necessary to improve the efficiency and success of their missions.
As anyone who has scanned a QR code understands, smartphones and tablets are beginning to offer apps that scan barcodes; the advantages that come with scanning barcodes from a smartphone or tablet are considerable because it allows the data to be quickly stored, transferred and acted upon. While these apps will continue to develop, barcode scanners are still the most effective hardware for mining the valuable data stored in those black-and-white barcodes. For companies who understand how to use data to improve their operations, barcode scanners are one of their most valuable tools. As more people use barcodes, more people are learning about barcode scanners. They’re learning about what can go right with the devices as well as about what can go wrong. Here is a look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of barcode scanners, regardless of the industry in which they’re used.
The main benefit of barcode scanners is going to be different from person to person and from business to business. Each of the main benefits of barcode scanners, though, work together synergistically to improve the efficiency of business operations. The main general benefits are error reduction, inventory control and times savings. Barcode scanners have been proven to reduce the human error that is inherent in any data collection process. Inventory control is another benefit, as barcode scanners help provide real-time information about the current status of a company’s overall inventory or the specific inventory of certain items at certain stages of a business process. Not only are barcode scanners more accurate than manual entry, they are a quicker alternative as well—limiting the amount of time a business must devote to this process and freeing up time for other areas.
Obviously, barcode scanners cost money. For small businesses especially, a barcode scanner and the accompanying software that may be necessary for success can represent a significant investment. This is why a careful cost-benefit analysis must be conducted that considers the above benefits of barcode scanners and the value that those benefits will bring to a particular business. To mitigate the cost factor, many companies and organizations see leasing barcode scanners as an option either on a trial or temporary basis in order to get a better sense of their potential benefits. Like any piece of equipment, a barcode scanner may be subject to breakdowns and repair costs, and this should be factored into any potential cost-benefit analysis.