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Improved Data Accuracy
Improved data accuracy is the single most common motivation for implementing a bar code system. Often the backbone of operations, data entry enables a company to produce accurate reports and predictions about future needs and actions. With data entry playing such a critical role in a company's operations, it is important to identify the extent to which data entry errors are tolerated. Companies with integrated bar coding systems that enable users to scan bar codes rather than type numbers are commonly achieving 99% data accuracy. For companies in which data errors are a mere nuisance, the difference between 85% and 99% may not seem that extreme. But for organizations in which data entry errors are catastrophic, such as hospitals, crime labs, and manufacturing companies, the goal is 100% accuracy. Bar coding is the best tool that these organizations have to ensure data credibility and thereby greatly reduce the impact of human error.
Accurate information on demand is an essential asset to every company. Whether that information involves identifying and tracking its staff, its documents, its goods or its supplies, the ability to instantly identify encourages the smooth and successful operation of your business. In a world where enormous amounts of information are moved from computer to computer everyday, many companies have installed software systems to help manage the mass of information. Although highly effective, these systems overlook one vital factor – the human interface. Data is often inputted inaccurately or recalled inefficiently.
A barcode data collection system replaces the human interface. With virtual 100% data accuracy, it is far more reliable and data input and handling is faster and more efficient, saving both time and money. The barcode system is also very flexible with a range of barcodes, labels and printers
available to suit your needs. Furthermore, you will be able to build better customer relationships,
providing them with accurate, timely information in a standardised format.

Efficiency Benefits
Besides providing near-perfect accuracy, bar coding also enables users to work faster, without sacrificing accuracy. When factoring in the time it takes to correct simple data entry errors, it is easy to see the improved efficiency that comes with bar coding. In addition, by providing computer systems the capability to “see” exactly what is happening within an organization, bar codes enable instant conversion from physical actions into digital transactions. This conversion of former manual tasks to electronic processes occurs in real-time, increasing efficiency and allowing management to make decisions based on current data and personnel to be employed
in other, more productive areas. While the time saved in data entry operations is easily recognized, the true efficiency improvements emerge when bar coding capabilities are extended to other areas of the organization, resulting in functional automation. This automation greatly simplifies information collection, processing, and tracking.

Bar coding, particularly in fast-paced industrial environments, enables consistent and predictable operations for enhanced product quality by combining data management functions and preventing bottlenecks at data entry stations. Auto ID systems usually operate at a defined pace, either self-determined by the printer’s maximum speed or triggered by the action of another device. For instance, in an assembly line, operations that were previously slowed by congestion at the point of data entry can now progress smoothly through a system of automated print-and-apply labeling machines and fixed scanners. In addition, employing standardized bar code symbologies and compliance labeling ensures that bar code information is captured and relayed in a manner that is universally understood and accepted.
Improved Inventory and Asset Management
Bar coding can help any company get a handle on resources. Companies are routinely bar coding assets such as manufacturing equipment, computer hardware, office furniture, and tools in order to record the number of each item, as well as the condition, color, features, and designated user. Libraries around the world are starting to place bar codes on books to track borrowing history. Likewise, automotive fleet owners, public transportation agencies, and rental car companies have begun utilizing bar codes to track detailed maintenance records for each vehicle. Manufacturing companies have similar applications in place to track both resource and finished product inventories.
Many companies complete the manufacturing process by affixing a label to the finished product, container or pallet. This label often contains very specific information about the product in both bar-coded data and human readable text. The human-readable portion of the label is likely to describe the product characteristics, the packaged quantity, and the names of both the manufacturer and the customer, if known. The bar code contains internal information such as production line number, date of completion, materials used, serial numbers, and miscellaneous quality control information. By scanning the label in the shipping department, the company can
identify the exact inventory, in real time, as well as the precise date and time that any product leaves the warehouse.

C O S T / B E N E F I T A N A L Y S I S
Besides the cost of the equipment, including the printer, scanner, and media, the cost justification of an Auto ID system can be a tricky computation. It is widely thought that most Auto ID systems pay for themselves in less than two years, but this figure is dependent on a company’s commitment to widespread implementation and acceptance of the bar coding technology. The “two year” argument alone is often not enough to gain approval of a proposed bar coding system and, similarly, is not even a sound consideration when planning an executive mandated automation project. Bar coding only generates a profit when supported by improved processes. When considering bar code implementation, every possible process improvement should be evaluated. There are some obvious improvements that can be achieved by implementing Auto ID systems, such as placing bar codes on retail goods to spare employees from manually entering each product’s price or serial number. There are also several new capabilities and controls that
appear from the improved data management achieved by implementing a bar coding system, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), wireless networking options, and RFID smart labels (human-readable label embedded with a computer chip that acts like a portable data file for the product at hand).

The initial cost savings companies discover after implementing an Auto ID system include: labor cost reduction, improved customer service and supplier response times, capital and inventory management, space management, and equipment costs. In addition to the apparent savings, each of these areas also produces several hidden savings that must be considered during the cost analysis, though the answers may not surface until the implementation is complete.
Once the data entry on the production line is automated, can production be speed up? If we create unique bar codes for each product, can the company fulfill customized solutions? Once inventory is monitored in real time, can we trim warehousing costs? These are just a few examples of the hidden gains resulting from bar coding. Several other opportunities will emerge as the use of Auto ID gains synthesis with operations.