Barcode Labeling an Essential Element of Inventory Management

by Maureen Perroni, on July 7, 2017

Supply chains can't move slowly today. Expectations have risen so precipitously in recent years that both corporate partners and consumers can no longer tolerate companies taking too long to move goods along.

"Barcodes are the springboard to process improvements."

This need for speed has created a valuable role for advanced inventory management. Businesses today need to move goods more quickly and efficiently than hands-on processes can accommodate. This is where barcode labeling comes in. These codes, which are applied to every item in inventory, are the springboard to process improvements.

Advanced Ideas Need Barcodes

It's not unusual for businesses today to take drastic measures to improve their supply chain performance. Getting beyond their limitations could mean embracing more automation, and that in turn calls for machine-readable barcodes.

Business 2 Community contributor Paul Trujillo pointed out that the "chaotic storage" inventory management style used by Amazon is only possible because of barcodes. The company doesn't have standardized warehouse sorting methods, instead using every piece of shelf space as it becomes available. Without the digital tracking capabilities granted by barcode scanning, this would make no sense.

Reverse logistics today may also depend upon barcodes. Zebra Technologies' Mark Thomson told Supply Chain Digital that when customers have access to scanners, they can get moving on a quicker and more efficient return process than was ever possible in the past. The power the barcode is that it is usable at many points of a product's journey from manufacturer to seller, and even on to the recipient.

The Glue That Holds Processes Together

Getting a supply chain to work more quickly or effectively is a common goal, and effective barcode labeling is one of the steps on the road to achieving the objective. This is because an efficient barcode labeling solution includes automation and helps to make items visible throughout the supply chain. What companies do with this new visibility is up to them.

For more on the "Changing Landscape of Barcode Labeling" download our report today.

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