Barcodes have become the foundation of any inventory process! Bar codes can be printed on adhesive labels and paper tags, or stamped on parts you manufacture, storage containers, metal tags or labels and much more! Easy to print and inexpensive, they have quickly become the industry standard for product identification. Barcodes are the first choice for simple recognition applications and are useful in any type of business.
Yet not all barcodes are the same. There are two main forms, linear and 2-D, each with many different symbologies. Linear barcodes (seen below) are simple series of black lines and white spaces that provide a limited amount of data related to the product.
On the other hand, 2-D barcodes (below) are stacked or matrix in format. This "stacked" configuration allows more information to be stored in a smaller amount of space. Symbologies, then, are variations on either a linear or 2-D design. They emphasize a different characteristic of the barcode depending on application.
Bar-coded products are much easier to track and at speeds not possible through manual entry. Not only that, but barcodes link the product to its price and will debit the item out of inventory. Barcodes can be encrypted with part number or serial numbers, supplier number, quantities, transaction codes and more. The user typically needs four pieces of equipment to begin bar coding: the barcode printer, labels, scanning equipment and an external database (a computer mainframe that stores the product, all its relevant data and links it to a barcode).
For more demanding applications industrial labels are also available. They work especially well in the following conditions:
- Harsh environments
- Temperature extremes
- Abrasion issue
These labels must be pre-printed and must be special ordered.