The use of barcodes in the supply chain is nothing new. First-generation barcodes (1D barcodes) gave supply chain managers the ability to track stock keeping units (SKUs) and shipment information. Unfortunately, the use of 1D barcodes in warehouse management has grown somewhat inefficient in the modern age, especially considering the rise of e-commerce. Supply chain managers need to understand the value of 2D barcodes in warehouse management and how they can be leveraged to increase productivity.
Why Do Some Forgo Using 2D Barcodes?
Maintaining the status quo by only using 1D barcodes is easy. It requires little change management and uses the same systems of the last score. However, 1D barcodes are extremely limited, 1D barcodes are only capable of tracking a small amount of information, such as a product name and number or location. While this was great when the supply chain moved from manufacturer to distribution center to brick-and-mortar store and then to the customer, the continuous complex growth of the modern omnichannel supply chain has rendered the 1D barcode less effective.
Now that argument might seem like everyone is jumping on board with the use of 2D barcodes in warehouse management, but that is not the case. 2D barcodes are more complex and represent another upgrade in the supply chain. Additional reasons supply chain managers may not invest in 2D barcodes include:
- Higher upfront investment cost.
- Inability to use existing handheld scanners.
- Information management system is necessary to enter and track data.
The Value of 2D Barcodes in Warehouse Management
Supply chain managers that want to gain greater visibility into their operations need to understand the value of 2D barcodes in warehouse management. 2D barcodes are capable of recording up to 2000 characters of information. As a result, 2D barcodes offers some stark benefits, reports Logistics Management, which includes:
- More information tracking.
- Ability to read barcodes at any angle.
- Increased labor productivity.
- Faster inbound and outbound pallet processing.
- Scanned further away than 1D barcodes.
- 2D barcodes can be read even when damaged.
Tips in Using 2D Barcodes in Your Facility
Supply chain managers that want to take advantage of 2D barcodes should follow a few tips:
- Use 2D barcodes on vertical surfaces.
- Don’t deploy all 2D barcodes at once.
- Train team members on how to use new systems.
- Take advantage of Bluetooth, corded, and wireless 2D scanners.
- Research 2D scanner and imager system options before you buy.
- Work with an expert to implement 2D barcode management systems.
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Leverage the Power of an Advanced, Integrated Platform That’s 2D Barcode-Conducive Now
The use of 2D barcodes in warehouse management will dramatically change how supply chain managers track and access information. Unlocking the value of 2D barcodes requires integrated and automated warehouse systems. Supply chain managers should consider outsourcing the system selection and implementation process to a third-party, such as Veridian, in preparation to implement 2D barcodes in their facilities now.
Veridian, a Manhattan Associates, HighJump, and JDA warehouse management system implementation company, can help you realize your supply chain success.