What Is A Barcode Scanner?
A barcode scanner is a device that can read a barcode, identify what's on it and process the information. The device scans the barcode to retrieve all of the product information, including its price and size, which can then be stored in a computer database. The information is then used to generate marketing reports or order more products. These scanners are an important tool not just for point-of-sale devices but also for inventory management.
All You Need To Know About A Barcode Scanner
What Does A Barcode Scanner Do?
Barcode scanners are essential tools for the modern retail and distribution industry. They are used to identify products and track inventory. The scanner sends a radio frequency signal that triggers a bar code or a QR code on the product or package. As the barcode is read, data is transmitted to a computer or mobile device. This data includes information such as product identifier, price, vendor, location of purchase, and date/time of sale. Each bar code format has its own specific format for encoding your data so that the barcode scanning can be done properly by the scanner. If you need an item from your warehouse checked in, you can use a scanner to scan all of the products at once and know exactly what they are. They increase speed and efficiency while slashing costs associated with labor hours by up to 75%.
Increasing Usage Of Barcodes-: A September 2020 survey of U.S. and UK consumers revealed that 42.55 percent of respondents felt most secure scanning a QR code at a restaurant, bar, or cafe."
- 'Secure locations for scanning QR codes according to U.S. and UK consumers 2020' survey published by L. Ceci on Jul 7, 2021.
How To Scan A Product With A Barcode Scanner?
In restaurants and bars, inventory management plays a huge role. Doing it using different software (like Zipinventory), in terms of ease-of-use and value-for-money, can be a big benefit. That said, you should ensure that you use a barcode system that will further ease out the whole process. You get specific barcode scanners as standalone instruments as also barcode scanner apps that work with smartphones. To begin with, you need to have your barcodes in place, along with having done the entry into the system of what barcodes refer to what product or location. Once that is done, all you need to do is attach the barcode as a sticker or a tag to the product. Then link the barcode scanner to the system where the records are being kept and observed. Once sorted, you can then just scan the barcode and the data from it will be transferred to the system and records will thus be maintained.
How do you know how much product is in stock? How can you price your products accurately?
Zip Inventory will help you how to use any barcode scanner and the best practices for scanning barcodes
Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.
How To Choose The Right Barcode Scanner For Your Business?
To begin with, you need to first understand that there are two types of barcodes- 1-D and 2-D.
- 1-D code- These are linear black and white designs of different widths. They have around 12 characters. The problem that a 1-D code has is that the barcode needs to be longer if you need more information included. Though, around 90% of applications use this type of barcode. This can only have alphanumerics stored as data. This code can be read with camera-based imaging scanners or traditional laser scanners.
- 2-D code- This type of code includes QR codes and data matrices that use shapes like squares, rectangles, hexagons, or such shapes for data storage. The barcode scanner or reader reads it in 2 dimensions as there are both horizontal and vertical patterns that have data stored in them. The total shape and size of this can be smaller than the 1-D code, but this carries around 100 characters which means more information. This can carry a lot of myriad information such as website address, images, voice, and other binary data types. 2-D code needs imagers to be able to decipher the codes.
Pen Type Scanners-
They are also called wand scanners because they look like wands. This pen-like scanner consists of a LED light and a photodiode on its tip so that when it is read through the bars, it can see what's underneath. It works by illuminating the black and white stripes with this light, which gets reflected back to where the barcode reader is located in order for them to be able to scan properly.
This type of barcode scanner uses a laser beam instead of an LED light. The laser is shot at a mirror within the actual unit, and this mirror moves so that the laser sweeps across the barcode in a straight line. A photodiode captures reflected light and converts it into digital information.
There are so many different types of barcode scanners. How do you know which one is right for you?
Zip Inventory will help you find the best barcode scanner for your needs
Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.
These are also called CCD (Charge Coupled Device) barcode scanners. There are many tiny LED lights within the unit arranged in a row. The reflection of the light from the code's black and white design is reflected, and the ambient light's voltage is measured. This data is then converted into computer-readable information. They usually are used with POS (Point Of Sale) devices.
Camera-Based Or Imager Barcode Scanner-
Instead of using a laser to shoot light at the barcode, this device takes a picture of it and uses digital decoding techniques. The result is an analysis that can be undertaken on this code's information with much greater accuracy than would normally occur in such circumstances.
Barcode Scanner- Understanding The Differences
The barcode scanners come in two versions- cordless and with cord. Depending on which type of barcode scanner you are choosing and for what purpose, picking a cordless one or one with a cord will differ. Warehouse and factory applications are best suited for cordless scanners as the cords could potentially get in the way of movement. For environments where cables can be damaged, cordless versions are preferred. For a scanner attached to the POS system, a handheld barcode scanner with a cord can be used.
How To Choose The Right Barcode Scanner?
When you go to pick a barcode scanner, first ask yourself these questions-
- What would be the purpose of the barcode scanner?
- Where would the barcode scanner be used?
- What is the frequency with which the barcode scanner would be used?
- What is my budget limit for buying barcode scanners?
- How many barcode scanners do I need?
- What barcode software will be compatible with it?
- Are there any other features offered by a particular barcode scanner?
- Will I be using the barcode scanner for inventory management in the storeroom or warehouse or with the POS system, in front of the office?
Using Barcode Scanner For Inventory Management
Barcode scanners help in tracking the inventory and where it is located easily. Just scanning the barcode can also give all the relevant information about the product, making the whole process efficient. The organized way the information is collated helps reduce many issues that can arise with inventory tracking. Here are some of the issues one might face that using a barcode scanner helps solve-
- Reduces Human Error- When you're taking stock of multiple products at multiple locations, doing so manually might give way to false counts, and errors that can arise due to time and labor constraints. When using a barcode scanner, these errors don't hinder the process.
- Improves Accuracy- As the barcode scanner uses laser or imaging to keep track, there are lesser chances of having wrong counts.
- Provides Better Data- As the barcode can store a lot of data - depending on the type of barcode used - it gets easier to assimilate data, and keep track of purchases, sales, trends, etc.
- Increases Visibility- As all data - from information of the product to location in your establishment to usage data - is available with just a scan, it is easier to know when the product needs to be replenished, as also the demand for it. As you can locate it at any point in the system, you get better visibility into the inventory management process.
barcode scanner online handheld barcode scanner
Best Practices For A Barcode Scanner
Any technology - software and hardware - we use has its own set of dos and don'ts that need to be followed. Likewise, for barcode scanners, there are certain practices to follow which ensure you face the least hassles and get the best returns.
Avoid 'double dipping'- Maintain a system amongst staff on when to scan a particular barcode - when storing in the storeroom, relocating to the bar/restaurant, when being sold, etc. Avoid scanning more than required at the same stage to avoid wrong numbers being recorded.
Following suppliers' barcodes- While using the same barcodes as given by a supplier might make your life easy, it can happen that different suppliers have the same code for different products. This will lead to wrong data inputs. So using your own set of barcodes will make your process better and more accurate.
Self-barcode vs standardized barcode- While making your own barcode is not a tough task like mentioned in the previous point, the same type of barcode might be given to multiple products by different people. So, unless you're using the barcode system only internally, it is best to opt for standardized barcodes for your products.
barcode software barcode scanner inventory software
Using A Barcode Scanner With ZipInventory
A barcode scanner is most beneficial for taking inventory when linked with an inventory management software like Zipinventory. It helps you store the data in one place and helps with reporting it in real-time. The Zipinventory Features include setting variable count frequencies, the ability to rectify errors timely, tracking items sold, keeping food costs under control, giving reminders and alerts for purchase orders and overstocking, etc.
Zipinventory Zipinventory Features