It has been many years since the introduction of bar code labeling and use of bar code scanning equipment to improve the accuracy and traceability of stock through the warehouse. At is its base level, scanning an item code or location code is minimally nine (9) times faster than manually typing it and 99.9% more accurate than writing it down and then manually entering it. These are facts that are widely held and accepted.
The next step in leveraging these technologies in the warehouse to improve productivity is the introduction (or reintroduction) of multi-dimensional and intelligent barcoding schemes. Everyone has seen and perhaps marveled at the power of those little square QR codes that are on everything from products to brochures. Scan them and it unlocks detailed product information or takes to a website or even automatically starts playing a video. That is an example of how that technology simplifies and streamlines those activities in your personal life.
Now, apply that same type of technology in the warehouse and suddenly you are eliminating 2 or 3 scans per transaction. One example of this is using this technology with one scan you can automatically collect Part Number, Manufacturer, Lot Number, Expiration Date and Quantity all is one scan rather than 3 or 4. This dramatically simplifies and streamlines the tasks or Receiving and Picking in the warehouse. Eliminating that many scans for multiple warehouse personnel over the course of multiple hours and multiple days over the course of a year can create significant productivity gains and cost savings per order processed.
There is an international standard that guides much of the development and deployment of these technologies called GS1 US. For more information, you can click those links to download a technical overview and the GS1 general specifications or visit the GS1 website at www.gs1us.org.